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.
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.
“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.
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.
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!
It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten out there for a nice, somewhat long, gravel ride with teammates and friends. Zack set this ride up, and at first it seemed like it would just be three of us. Then more people said they were in, too, which was very cool. The more the merrier!
We had planned on riding this route. Well, I planned on cutting that ride short to begin with since I had to be back for a birthday party my daughter was going to… And because I’m a wimp. We decided to slightly alter the route since the Katy Trail was covered in a foot of snow. We had to ride on Highway 63 for a short distance instead. We had no problems, though.
I won’t bore you with too many details. I’ll just say that the weather was terrific. Although, the roads were pretty muddy in spots and icy in others. It was a ton of fun. You should have been there!
I’ll leave you with some fun facts from our ride, followed by a few photos and then a photo montage.
Now on to the Fun Facts…
Participants: Zack Lamb, Bob Jenkins, Adam Lafoon, Barry Vollmer, Matt Stacey, Stoney Cranmer, Don Daly, and Luke Lamb.
Distance: Bob, Adam, and I rode a total of 26.36 miles. The rest of the group wimped out and decided to keep riding for a measly 30 more miles or so. In fact, they’re still out riding as I type this. What a bunch of cream puffs!
**UPDATE**: Zack, Matt, Don, and Stoney made it 55 miles including a 2 mile hike-a-bike section in over a foot of snow (photos at the end of this post).
Number of Crashes: Two.
Rider with the most crashes: Bob Jenkins with two.
Riders in Shorts: One – Bob Jenkins
Rider with the Most Bloody Knees: Bob Jenkins
Now, on to the photos…
Now on to the Photo Montage…
Here are some Photos from the long riders’ Hike-a-Bike…
On Wednesday, November 25th, Bob Jenkins and I headed out to Castlewood State Park to pre-ride the trails before we destroy all in our path at the Castlewood 8 hour Adventure Race on Dec 5th. We printed off a trail map from Gateway Off Road Cyclist’s site here, and we were ready to roll.
We did not want to kill ourselves by riding as hard as we possibly could, so we came up with our new motto – “Fun is better than Fast.” Our goals were to get a feel for the trails and, more importantly, to have a blast. Mission accomplished.
It was around 40 degrees, but the wind made it feel a lot colder. Once I got my bike shoes on, I turned around to see Bob bundled up from head to toe. I had a couple of thoughts: A) I was clearly under-dressed and was going to freeze my bean bag off, or 2) Bob was way over-dressed and would be shedding layers soon enough.
We left the parking lot and immediately climbed an old jeep road that sucked balls. It was really steep with lots of loose rock, but the view from the top made it all worthwhile. As we took in the view and recovered, Bob decided to shed several layers.
The maps were pretty good, although there were a couple of places where one could get a little turned around. The Roller Coaster Trail is marked on the map, but it is not marked on any of the trail signs at the park. There are also a couple of side trails that are not on the map, and they are unmarked at the park as well.
The trails were a lot of fun with only a couple of rough climbs. The Roller Coaster trail was so fun, we rode it twice. The River Scene Trail was also a lot of fun. It’s flat and fast, and we rode this twice as well. We took our time and goofed around a lot. We (and by “We” I mean Bob) practiced some bike handling skillz, and then Bob worked on some of his trail blazing technique down the side of a mountain. This will surely help us dominate the upcoming adventure race.
We headed over to ride the Stinging Nettle Trail. The connecting trail along the river from River Scene Trail was also flat, fast, and fun with several slalom-like sections where you could take alternate routes. At one point, I took an outside line and blew by Bob as if he was standing still – total annihilation. Later, however, Bob decided to take an inside line right through a swampy section to fly by me. As Bob blasted past me in a furious blur, a tidal wave of nasty, smelly mud-water douched my entire body. Thank God it wasn’t cold and windy or else getting completely wet might have… Oh wait, it was cold and windy (Thanks, Jerk).
As we got closer to the Stinging Nettle Trail, we encountered just a little bit of mud. Then the mud got worse… and worse… and worse… Within about 100 yards it got so bad that we had to abandon the notion of riding Stining Nettle and Cedar Bluff Trails.
We didn’t want to destroy the trails, so we turned around and headed back. It was a lot of fun, and now we know the trails at Castlewood State Park like the back of our hands… Sort of. Team Virtus is now ready to destroy anyone that stands in their way a the Castlewood Adventure Race on Saturday – or at the very least we’ll have more fun than everyone else, and that is a guarantee.