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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Three

My legs were definitely tired and heavy heading into Stage 3 of the Tour of Sufferlandria, the first stage where I would ride without Robby “The Darkness” Brown. That being said, I felt better than I thought I would after the first two stages (Stage 1 and Stage 2). Eating enough good, nutritious food and getting enough sleep has definitely helped. And riding a bunch of Sufferfest Videos in the weeks leading up to the Tour helped prepare me… Well, at least it helped prepare me as much as one can prepare for this Tour.

With the kids off to school, I drank my morning Butter/Coconut Oil Coffee (Bulletproof Coffee), grabbed a small bite to eat, and headed down to hurt myself with Stage 3: “Fight Club.”

bulletproof coffee before Sufferfest

Coffee blended with butter and coconut oil. Sounds weird, but it’s delicious!

“Fight Club” was the first Sufferfest Video I’ve ever done, and it’s one of my favorites. It has some threshold work (of which I need a lot), climbing, and lots and lots of attacks.

The warm-up went fine, and the first of five “laps” went pretty good. The second “lap” started fine, but my legs really started to hurt after the first attack. And it just got progressively harder from there.

I managed to eek out the power numbers on the threshold work and climbs, but I again had to push harder than TrainerRoad‘s power numbers during the attacks to ensure enough suffering. And trust me, I suffered.

Sufferfest Fight Club on TrainerRoad

Blue shows the target, Yellow is what I actually did.

Those attacks made the threshold efforts that much harder to maintain. Then the lower cadence climbing at the end of each lap was really tough, and the attacks on during those climbs made it just awful.

My ass was in a bit of pain too. I think I’ll switch my Brooks Saddle from my gravel bike to my road bike on the trainer for the rest of the Tour. By the end of the ride, I was more than ready to be done.

End of TOS Stage 3

I couldn’t even fake a smile.

UPDATE: Robby finished his Stage 3 later in the evening. Here is his post-ride pic:

The Darkness after Stage 3 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

The Darkness couldn’t smile either apparently.

I was totally trashed after this one. I wobbled upstairs to re-hydrate and scarf down some food after stripping my soaking wet clothes off. I was a sweaty mess! I donated a lot of, as Sufferlandrians say, “Holy Water” during today’s stage. Take a look at my t-shirt after Stage 3:

So much Holy Water was donated, in fact, that my shoes were soaked all the way through. Actually, they were still damp from yesterday’s stage of “Blender.” So I decided to stuff them with newspaper so they’ll be a little drier for tomorrow’s stage.

bike shoes stuffed with newspaper

This works for Adventure Racing, so it’ll work for Stage Racing as well.

Speaking of tomorrow’s stage… **shudders** Tomorrow brings the newest Sufferfest Video – “Nine Hammers” – and it is the hardest video I’ve done so far. It’s going to really, really hurt. Just like today, we’ll be doing tomorrow’s stage solo.

Robby and I didn’t realize it, but Adam is also doing the Tour on his own. This is great news! Another Virtusan suffering together virtually. We’re planning on riding some of the stages together later in the week if we can make it work.

Suffer on, my friends!

Update: Now you can read about Stage Four of the Tour

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Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Two

With my legs feeling yesterday’s Stage 1, I was a bit worried about Stage 2. I kept reading on the Tour’s Facebook page how much everyone around the world was suffering. I guess that’s the whole point of this thing, though.

Stage 2 had us doing “Blender” – The Sufferfest’s second longest video at 1 hour, 44 minutes, and 27 seconds. That’s right. Nearly 2 hours on the trainer. For those of you who have never had the “pleasure” of joining us for the Super Century, that might seem like a ridiculously long time to sit on the damn trainer and ride inside. And you’d be right.

Stage 2 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

But “Blender” was great, and the time really seemed to fly by. Sort of, anyway. I forgot to start my TrainerRoad app, so we had to pause the video and wait for the app to catch up. That just meant we got about 5 minutes of bonus warm up spinning.

After the warm up, we got right into the work, and the first 10-minute threshold interval followed by a short recovery and then a VO2 Max interval hurt so good. I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe we still had an hour and twenty minutes left. But then I soon found myself sort of getting into a groove.

My target numbers on TrainerRoad based off my FTP test were pretty much spot on for this first round of intervals. I managed to stay close or slightly above the recommended power level, but it hurt. And I suffered.

Blender on TrainerRoad

Blue is the target, yellow is what I actually did.

The next thing I knew, we were through the first set of longer intervals and ready to start the second set of shorter, power intervals, working on VO2 and anaerobic capacity, and we were over halfway through the video.

The power numbers on TrainerRoad were too easy for these shorter, higher intensity intervals, so I just pushed harder and went by Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) instead of the power numbers. I ended up with a much higher power output for these intervals than TrainerRoad recommended (that’s why the yellow line is much higher that the blue in the photo above).

I’m not sure what to make of that. That could mean I’m better at sprinting than riding at or just below threshold. Or maybe I need to retest my FTP. But then that might make the longer, threshold intervals too difficult.

So, I’ll just finish the tour with the FTP I’m currently using and retest after the Tour is over. And if anything seems too easy, like the anaerobic intervals did, I’ll just push myself harder.

After the anaerobic intervals, we had 3 more threshold intervals. These were tough since our legs were already fried. But we managed to finish, and we were both disgustingly sweaty – literally dripping onto the floor and without a dry spot on our bodies. It was fantastic.

finish of stage 2 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

Why yes, that is a 2011 Fantasy Football Championship Banner in the background.

After the cooldown, we hopped off our bikes, gave a few fist-bumps, and basked in our suffering. It was a really great ride with some awesome footage of road racing, mountain biking, cyclocross, and even some fat bike snow riding.

After saying bye to Robby, I headed upstairs where my incredible wife had a steaming bowl of homemade Pizza Soup waiting for me. It was just what I needed after a hard ride. Big thanks to the Mrs.

Pizza Soup after stage 2 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

For the next few days, Robby and I will be completing each stage on our own since our schedules won’t match up until Friday. Then we will reunite and finish this thing together.

Tomorrow brings the first Sufferfest video I’ve ever done: Fight Club. Stay tuned…

(Update: Stage 3 is done)

Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage One

Believe it or not, I’ve never ridden a road bike until a few weeks ago. Literally. And I still haven’t actually ridden a road bike on the road. I’ve only ridden it on the trainer with Sufferfest Videos. So, obviously I’ve never done a road race before, let alone a whole Tour. But that hasn’t stopped me from entering the 2015 Tour of Sufferlandria (TOS) with Robby “The Darkness” Brown.

Tour of Sufferlandria 2015

Don’t know what the TOS is? Read my last post for more info.

Today was the first day of the Tour – Stage 1. I headed over to Robby’s place this morning. On tap for today was “Elements of Style” followed by “The Long Scream.”

“Elements of Style” runs you through a useful systems check (I’ve realized that I tend to let my knees flare out and bunch my shoulders up, creating a lot of tension), pedaling technique, and high and low cadence drills. It’s a great video for a recovery ride. I used it this past Monday after the MLK 4 and Joe Dirt Rides.

Today, though, it served as a nice, long warmup before the real suffering of “The Long Scream” began.

Tour of Sufferlandria 2015 Elements of Style Stage 1

“Elements of Style” got our heart rates up and sweat pouring. It was a great start to the Tour.

Sadly, my Garmin decided to stop working this morning, so I have no data for my heart rate or “distance.” I used TrainerRoad to keep me on track with “Virtual Power,” though. And if I had any concerns about my FTP being too low before, those concerns were erased during “The Long Scream.”

“The Long Scream” is designed as an add-on workout – to be added at the end of another video or workout. There is really no warm-up to this video. The suffering starts early and comes at you nonstop for 30+ minutes at or slightly above threshold. The only “rest” comes in the form of slowing down ever so slightly to simulate taking a corner, but each corner only lasts 5 – 10 seconds before you have to ramp it back up.

Tour of Sufferlandria Stage 1 The Long Scream

I had read many people’s facebook posts on how difficult “The Long Scream” was, and the video didn’t disappoint. It was really tough to stay in the green on TrainerRoad by keeping my power high enough, but it was also pretty motivating. When I saw my numbers dipping a little too low, I’d try my best to pick up the pace.

I wasn’t perfect with matching the recommended power numbers (especially when I had to adjust my junk or re-situate myself on the saddle), but overall I definitely suffered. A lot. I know Robby did too. It pretty much sucked, but in a good way. Sort of.

End of Stage 1 of the 2015 Tour of Sufferlandria

We’re only smiling because the suffering is over for today.

All in all, it was a great Stage 1 of the 2015 Tour of Sufferlandria. It’s going to be a long, grueling Tour, though. I haven’t done all of the videos left in the Tour, but I’ve done enough of them to know this is going to hurt badly. Stage 8 (3 grueling speed videos with seemingly endless high intensity intervals) just might kill us.

Tomorrow’s stage is just one video, but it’s the second longest video in the Sufferfest arsenal: Blender. I haven’t done that one, so it should be an (un)pleasant surprise.

Until tomorrow, suffer on, my friends!

UPDATE: Stage 2 can be found right here!

Team Virtus is Headed to the Tour! (And Guess What’s Back This Year)

That’s right, ladies and gents. Team Virtus will be riding in the Tour this year! No, not that Tour. Pffft! That’s for mere mortals and dopers. We’ll be riding in the Greatest Grand Tour of a Mythical Nation in the Whole Wide World. And it’s gonna hurt.

Robby “The Darkness” Brown and I have qualified for stupidly signed up for The 3rd Annual Tour of Sufferlandria (ToS), and we’re hoping others will join us for nine days of suffering on the trainer. That’s right, on the trainer. Stage after stage of brutal, indoor rides with The Sufferfest Videos that we all love to hate.

Sufferfest BTC

Here is one of our Bike Torture Chambers (BTC) for the Tour of Sufferlandria.

Not familiar with The Sufferfest Videos? They’re the only things that make riding the trainer not just tolerable, but almost enjoyable in a sick, twisted kind of way. And they have already made me a stronger rider over just a couple of months. Stay tuned for more in-depth reviews of their videos in a future blog post.

Race number of the Tour of Sufferlandria

Here is my race number for the Tour.

The ToS isn’t just about suffering, though. It’s about raising funds for the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s. You can help me raise funds right here. As a bonus, for every $10 I raise and donate, I get an entry into a drawing for some really great prizes ranging from a sweet bike tour trip and carbon wheels to helmets, sunglasses, signed jerseys form the pros, and more!

Tour of Sufferlandria Race Number

Here is Robby’s Race number for the Tour.

I’ve also decided to try out TrainerRoad to track my stages on the Tour. I’ve only dabbled with TrainerRoad thus far, but it’s really cool. Using a speed/cadence sensor along with my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Trainer, I’ve calculated my (embarrassingly low) “Virtual Power” Functional Threshold Performance (FTP). So now, I can more accurately ride each stage as The Sufferfest intended.

Basically, this means I can suffer more and slack off less. I think I’m going to love it, and I think it will really help me track my workouts, stay focused on each stage, and improve my performance. I’ll do a review of TrainerRoad after the Tour is over – if I survive anyway.

Here is our BTC #2

Here is our BTC #2

The Tour starts this weekend on January 24th and ends on Sunday, February 1st… Super Bowl Sunday… And you know what that means. That’s right. It’s baaaaaaaack…

The 4th Annual SUPER CENTURY!

Yes, we’ve done a metric century (100Km or 62 miles – whichever comes first) for the previous 3 years on Super Bowl Sunday, and we’re doing it again. Read this to see how this horrible idea all started.

The Tour of Sufferlandria just so happens to end on Super Bowl Sunday. And the Tour just so happens to finish with their longest video – ISLAGIATT – which is 2 hours long. So that should give us a good start, but then we’ll just keep on riding until we hit the metric century mark.

Hopefully, we can find some like-minded idiots other brave souls to suffer with us in person for the Super Century. You should too. But you can also suffer together alone with us via our facebook page and on twitter. Use and look for #SuperCentury and #MyTaintHurts. Stay tuned for more details on when we’ll actually start the Super Century on Super Bowl Sunday so we can all be idiots at the same time.

Let us know if you’re doing the Tour. And let us know if you’re doing the Super Century. And definitely let us know if you’re foolish enough to do both the Tour of Sufferlandria and the Super Century.

This is gonna hurt. Can’t wait.

Black Friday Monstercross Ride 2014

I would submit to you that there’s no greater form of cycling than Monstercross. Riding a quilted frankenbike across gravel, singletrack, grassy fields and (insert surface type here) is, in my opinion, as good as it gets.

On Black Friday of 2014, Dan Fuhrmann put together just such a ride. Links were posted, tape was hung and the party was in full swing. I think it’s worth mentioning that Dan accepted no money for his work, insisting that all he wanted was to “share this slice of heaven with as many people as possible.” What follows is a very brief description of the ride in hopes that you’ll be there next year.

Pulling into the parking area, I was surprised and pleased to see Travis had made it, along with Jim Phillips and a whole slew of strong, fast cyclists.

The ride started out on a bit of dirt road along the Piney River, which was incredible. The pace was brisk, but I did manage to chat with Travis for a few minutes before my first mechanical of the day.

 

A dropped chain early in the ride had me off the back quicker than usual, but I did eventually end up riding with Ron Chinn and Shawn Bleiler. Ron was obviously the strongest in our group, but he didn’t rub it in too bad.

The gravel eventually gave way to some double track/atv paths and was an absolute blast. There were plenty of mud/water holes and a lot of sandy spots. I will confess I did some walking, but that’s only because I’m a raging fatass. All of the roads/trails were rideable and very fun.

At one of the gravel/pavement intersections I saw a bit of animal bone that could not have been from a deer:

…and a few feet from there I spotted what I presumed to be a poached black bear’s hide.I would later learn from Shawn this was actually a legally-killed feral hog. If I’d only had racks on my bike I could’ve gathered the pelts and made a pair of ass-less chaps for Casey.

^^Look at the fat layer on that thing! –(TWSS)

The ride was full of kickass scenery and jeep-trails. I couldn’t help but wonder how Dan found all of this stuff and laced it together into such a great ride.

Not having ridden much leading into this weekend, I was a little bit smoked when I finally rolled into the Elbow Inn Bar and BBQ Pit, but a fried pork tenderloin sandwich and Stag beer had me refueled in no time. As always, greasy bar food after a hard day on the bike is pretty amazing. I have to say this was a fantastic ride and I would have been a fool to miss out on it.

But the real fun hadn’t even started, because as soon as this ride was over I was in the truck on the way To Sutton’s Bluff for a bikepacking weekend with Luke and Dave. More on that later.

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