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Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Nine + the Super Century

I’m sad and happy, exhausted and energized. The Tour of Sufferlandria is over (you can start at the beginning right here). I’m sad because it’s over, and super happy to have finished it. I’m completely worn out after 9 straight days of suffering, my legs especially, yet I feel great, almost supercharged in a way. It’s weird.

Start of Stage 9 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

Ready to go. Rockin’ the old-school TV jerseys.

Adam and I went over to Robby’s house to suffer together. On tap for the final stage of the Tour was “ISLAGIATT,” the longest video in the Sufferfest lineup. “ISLAGIATT” stands for “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.”

I borrowed Robby’s Speed/Cadence Sensor and Adam’s Dongle again (see Stage 8 for that explanation), so I was fully hooked up to TrainerRoad for Stage 9.

I really liked “ISLAGIATT.” It didn’t feel like 2 hours even though there were 4 tough “climbs” and some attacks and fast spinning throughout. I even managed to hit 5 personal bests in Virtual Power!

All three of us were drenched with Holy Water, but we made it to the end, and finished our Tour. We finished “ISLAGIATT” with 31.52 miles.

Tour of Sufferlandria finale

The end of the Tour: 3 Virtusans and now 3 Sufferlandrians.

But our day was not over. For we had to continue on and finish the 4th annual Super Century. There were far fewer participants this year. As far as I know, it was just the three of us, my brother and teammate Casey in NY, and our friend and Virtusite, Christina.

That was kind of a bummer. There was very little back and forth on the interwebz via Twitter and Facebook. It was much less fun this year because of that. Although, it’s never exactly fun, but when we know there are more people suffering out there with us, it makes it a lot better.

We watched “Bicycle Dreams” to finish the Super Century, and it was really good. Those dudes and dudettes are nuts. The movie ended when we only had about a mile left. Almost perfect timing.

We stopped at the 45 minute mark for short break – to save our taints and refill our water bottles and to drink a delicious smoothie courtesy of Mrs. The Darkness – DELICIOUS! Then we stopped again at about an hour and 20 minutes in for the same reasons. Then we finished it up strong, although the last 8 miles or so were pretty shitty.

Super Century Complete

Super Century complete!

The Tour of Sufferlandria was so much more than I could have imagined. I’ll try to put together a recap post when I gather all my thoughts on the Tour in the next few days.

ToSfinish

It’s weird to not have a Stage to get ready for tomorrow. But this Tour came at the perfect time for me. I’ll take the next week to recover, and then I’ll take the following week to get ready for our first race of the year: The Rocheport Roubaix.

Soon, I’m heading back to Robby’s house for some hard-earned food and drink while watching the Super Bowl Commercials (since my beloved Bears decided to give someone else a chance at the Championship, I don’t really care who wins).

If you’ve followed along all through this Tour, you have serious issues. But thanks for reading.

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Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Eight (The One with Adam’s Dongle)

Holy shit, that was hard. Really hard. Adam and I just finished Stage Eight of the Tour of Sufferlandria, and it was terrible. Just awful. And it was also great.

If you wanna start at the beginning of this Tour, you can go check out Stage One. Or you can also go check out Stage Five – the one where I wrecked my bike on the trainer. But we’re here to talk about Stage Eight.

The Eighth Stage is the one I was most dreading. It’s also the one I was most looking forward to. Stage Eight is the Dame Alissa Memorial Stage.

Dame Alissa Memorial Stage at the Tour of Sufferlandria

From the Sufferfest Tour Page:

“Our youngest Knight of Sufferlandria, Dame Alissa Schubert, was killed earlier this year when she was hit by a truck while out cycling. Revolver was her favourite video. We dedicate this stage, the hardest stage ever to feature in the ToS, in her memory. We also dedicate it to her parents who also became Knights of Sufferlandria with Alissa. A true Sufferlandrian’s stage. Crush it.”

So this Stage had a lot of meaning for all Sufferlandrians. And it was of the utmost importance to ride this Stage with Strength and Honor.

But this morning didn’t start out so great. I had everything together and laid out before Adam arrived. Lots of water and Skratch Labs hydration mix, a few snacks, mostly-dry shoes, extra towels, etc. I thought I was ready to roll, but I was mistaken.

Preparations for Stage 8 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

I didn’t realize it yet, but something was missing.

I somehow lost my stupid Wahoo Speed and Cadence sensor that I was using to log each Stage on TrainerRoad. After all the suffering so far in this Tour, I really, really didn’t want to drop out of the TrainerRoad part of the Tour. Yes, I could still be an official “finisher” of the Tour without logging each Stage on TrainerRoad, but, to me, it would have felt incomplete.

After searching everywhere at least twice and even driving with Adam back to Robby’s house (where I last remember having it), we never found it. We even tried two bike shops for a new one. No luck. I was pretty bummed.

But at least I could still do the Stage with Adam and finish the Tour. That’s when Adam mentioned I could use his Dongle. No, not that Dongle. He had an ANT+ Dongle at his house. We went and got that to plug into my laptop so TrainerRoad could at least pick up my heart rate info from my Garmin HR Strap (which uses ANT+ instead of Bluetooth).

Fortunately, TrainerRoad is super easy to use with the Sufferfest Videos. After quickly figuring out how to use TrainerRoad on my laptop instead of my iPhone (which is what I had been using), we were back in business.

pre-stage 8 photo of the ToS

We were all smiles even though we knew it we were about to start suffering.

Adam and I mounted our steeds, and started video number one: “Revolver.” I had done this video once before, but it was done as a stand alone workout and not as the first of three videos and not after suffering for a week straight.

“Revolver” took us through 15 (or was it 16?) 1-min high intensity intervals with 1-min recovery spins in between. It started out fine, but by the last 5 or 6 intervals, we were deep in the pain cave and soaked with Holy Water.

end of part one of three of stage 8

Still smiling for the most part, but very sweaty and tired already.

Up next was “Violator.” Our transition to this video was probably a minute, maybe less even.

Again, I had already done “Violator” once previously but as a stand-alone workout. In this video, we had to do three rounds of short sprints ranging from 5 seconds to 15 seconds. Each round, the recovery periods were shortened which made it much harder.

The first round of intervals were pretty good. The intervals themselves hurt a bit, but there was ample recovery. Then the second round of intervals, with shorter recoveries, was harder. And the third round of intervals, with the shortest recovery periods – and I’m talking almost nonexistent recovery periods – really sucked. Man, that hurt.

The final two intervals had us going really hard for 15 seconds with just 15 seconds recovery. I remember thinking that we had to do those exact same interval ratio in the next video… FORTY EFFING TIMES!

end of Violater

Not so smiley any more.

We quickly filled water bottles and went potty, and then we started “Half is Easy.” This is a misnomer. I can’t recall any easy parts – even the recovery intervals felt difficult.

The stupid sprints just kept coming. Again and again. They wouldn’t let up. 10 minutes straight of sprinting for 15 seconds, “recovering” for 15 seconds. Then a few minutes recovery followed by another 10 minutes of 15/15 intervals. Pain, suffering, misery. It was terrible. But we made it.

End of Stage 8 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

We’re only smiling because we survived. Trust me, though. We were nearly dead.

And here’s a photo of Robby during his ride (he had to do it later than us and by himself – the poor bastard):

Zombie Darkness

This was taken when Robby still had two videos left.

As shitty as we felt at the end of today’s ride, we still felt great. That may not make sense, but that’s exactly how we felt. Our legs were completely fried, but were stoked for having done it.

Adam and I bro-hugged it out and said our good-byes. Then I slowly climbed the stairs out of my Bike Torture Chamber. I ate a ton of food and drank a ton of water.

I got an email to confirm that TrainerRoad did indeed record my suffering. So I’m still in it, baby! And that’s when I noticed, more than an hour later, that my legs were still acting a little funny. Take a look:

Does anyone else’s legs do this after a hard effort? Or is it just me? Seriously, I want to know.

So, we finished this stage. We have one stage left for tomorrow. I’m weirdly sad that this is coming to an end. It’s been so much fun. For real. Even though it’s been really hard, it’s been a blast.

Also, after the Stage tomorrow, we’ll continue riding until we hit a metric century to finish up the 4th annual Super Century! You should too!

Until tomorrow, suffer on, my friends.

(Update: Stage Nine and the Super Century is done.)

Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Seven (And a Super Century Reminder)

Robby and I did Stage 7 together today. It was The Sufferfest’s “The Rookie” where we had to go through three race simulations as Robby and I had tried (and succeeded of course) to make a pro team. This video is one of the newer options, and it provides some great point-of-view footage.

After the first six Stages (which you can catch up on by starting with Stage 1), my legs felt pretty good, all things considered. For whatever reason, this Stage felt like the easiest one for me. I’m guessing this is by design since tomorrow’s Stage and Sunday’s stage are going to be brutal.

Don’t misunderstand me when I say it was the easiest Stage of the Tour. We still suffered and lost a lot of Holy Water. So much so that I think I need to put a cover on my Brooks Saddle before tomorrow’s Stage. And I even managed to squeak out one medal for power on TrainerRoad on the final sprint.

The Rookie on TrainerRoad

It’s always better to suffer with a friend by my side. Sadly, we’ve been unable to ride with Adam thus far, but that will change tomorrow. Adam and I will be doing the most feared Stage (3 high intensity interval videos back to back to back) together tomorrow, but Robby will be on his own for this one because of other commitments.

End of Stage 7 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

Robby is drinking like an Orrin Gootin, and I’m… I don’t even know.

Then on Sunday, all three of us will be getting together on Sunday for the longest video in the Sufferfest lineup, ISLAGIATT (It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time), at 2 hours.

And then, to make it even harder and more stupid, we’ll continue onward until we hit 100 Km, or 62 miles – whichever comes first, to complete the 4th annual Super Century, or maybe it’ll be a Suffer Century this year since it comes at the end of the Tour. Anyone else want to join us for that? You know you want to.

Be sure to tweet and facebook at us by using #SuperCentury and/or #MyTaintHurts and/or even #SufferCentury. There really are no rules, but the idea is to suffer on your trainer together apart for a metric century on Super Bowl Sunday so we can all eat and drink whatever we want and not worry about it. So, there you go.

Let us know if you’re going to join us. And wish us luck for the next two grueling Stages.

Until tomorrow, suffer on, my friends.

(Update: Stage Eight is done.)

 

Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Six

Quick update today. Read about the other Stages by going to the first one and proceeding from there if you want.

After yesterday’s wreck (yes, I wrecked my bike on the trainer… Lot’s of people do it!), I had to pick up my bike from the shop with a new spoke and trued wheel so I could squeeze the Sufferfest’s “Local Hero” between my shifts at work.

Local-Hero

This Stage hurt. But that’s not surprising, is it? The “recovery” throughout “Local Hero” was at a 4 out of 10 which never felt like much of a recovery. Other videos have recovery at a level 2 or 3. Not this one, though.

I was disappointed with how sluggish my legs felt today since they had felt so surprisingly good yesterday (the wreck not withstanding). And since this video is nearly an hour and a half, the suffering was longer than the last 3 Stages.

The pyramids were especially terrible, and the last four sprints were even worse, but I managed to set 4 power records on this ride using TrainerRoad.

Local Hero Stage 6 at Tour of Sufferlandria

After finishing the ride, I was short on time, low on energy, and completely out of shits to give. So I forgot to snap a photo of myself after the ride. But here’s one of The Darkness after he finished his ride:

Robby Stage 6 TOS

We can only assume Adam is keeping up with the Tour, but he doesn’t get on the Facebooks much to keep us updated.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow brings “The Rookie” which is just under an hour. And the the final two Stages… Ugh! I don’t even wanna think about it yet.

Until tomorrow, suffer on, my friends.

(Update: Stage Seven is done.)

Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Five (The One with the Wreck)

I donated not only “Holy Water” to Stage Five of the Tour of Sufferlandria, but some blood as well. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

We’re now just over halfway through the Tour. The toughest stages are still ahead of us, though. You can read about Stages One, Two, Three, and Four if you want to see how those went down.

This morning my legs felt pretty damn good. They were a bit heavy and tired, but this is probably as good as my legs have felt since right before Stage One. I chalk that up to good nutrition, adequate sleep, foam rolling, and perhaps even gaining some fitness and strength (although I expected those gains to come after a recovery week or two).

So, I was pretty stoked with how I was feeling. I was ready to crush the first mountain stage of the Tour, The Sufferfest’s “Angels 2015” video. The short warm-up went well. Then the 10 minutes of Over/Unders (1 min just over threshold followed by 1 minute just under threshold) hurt more than I thought they would, but I still felt really good.

Then the first 8-minute climb hit me. It started to hurt, but it wasn’t terrible. Toward the end of that first climb, though, I stood up -as instructed by the video – and started climbing hard. That’s when this happened:

crashing on the trainer at the Tour of Sufferlandria

No, I wasn’t on rollers. I was on a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Trainer.

Let me preface this by saying this is completely my fault, and I am a dumb ass. My wife has asked me (several times) to move my bike over out of the way when I’m done so she’ll have more room to workout. You see, my Bike Torture Chamber (BTC) is also my weight room in the basement where she also trains. But I always seem to forget to move the bike over. That’s probably because I can barely stand up after each Stage of this Tour.

Last night, my wife moved the bike over while I was at work. Today, I didn’t even think about checking it again. I just hopped on and started riding. Well, apparently, the bike was not completely secure in the trainer. Again, completely my fault for not checking it before the ride.

As I stood toward the end of that first climb, my bike fell out of the trainer and I went down hard (TWSS). I didn’t see it coming at all, and I was shocked when it happened.

How in the hell did I just crash on my fucking trainer?!

As evidenced in the photo above, my elbow took the brunt of the fall, landing on my weight bar next to me. I jumped up and paused TrainerRoad and the video. Then I tried to throw my bike back on the trainer, and that’s when I noticed that my bike did not go unscathed. A water bottle cage was destroyed.

destroyed water bottle cage

Honestly, I’m not sure how this bottle cage became so mangled.

I shoved the bottle cage up into the one in front of it so it would be out of my way. That’s when I noticed I had also broken a spoke. Sonofabitch! I quickly wrapped the broken spoke around the one next to it.

Broken spoke at the Tour of Sufferlandria

Yes, if you look closely through the spokes, those are drops of blood on the floor.

I turned the crank a few times and noticed the wheel was a bit wobbly. Damn it! But this was the effing Tour of Sufferlandria! So I hopped on the bike and continued the Stage. My elbow hurt a bit, but that pain was soon drowned out by the pain of the next two brutal climbs. They hurt so good.

Part of me worried that this ride wouldn’t count since some might argue I had a “break” during the video. But then I asked myself: Did I suffer? And my answer to that is: Hell yes, I suffered! So in my book, it counts.

angels 2015 at the Tour of Sufferlandria

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

Now, I’ll celebrate by filling up my brand new Championship Mug that just arrived for winning my 2014 Fantasy Baseball League. Mmm mmm! Beer is gonna taste so much better out of this bad boy!

fantasy baseball beer mug trophy

I have not yet received word from Robby or Adam about how their Stage 5 went. They both had to work today, so they probably have to do it later tonight.

Until tomorrow, suffer on, my friends.

(Update: Stage Six is done.)

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