Higher Wattage

Nothing like spending some time with the Doctor. In this case, a virtual doctor, using Rubber Gloves to check on my progress.

I had to go full out for 20 minutes on the bike this morning. And by full out, I do mean full out. At my age, 60 in a few days, my maximum heart rate is estimated at 160 beats per minute. Although I can go harder than the estimated max. I held 165 bpm for most of the 20 minutes. No heart attack although that 20-minute interval was unbelievably hard. I’m still not sure how I got through it.

My wattage started strong at around 300 watts and then averaged down to about 220 watts for the interval. My FTP was adjusted from 180 to 211. And what, pray tell, does that mean? Aside from a pretty impressive 31 watt jump from the end of December?

More suffering.

The higher the FTP, the harder the ride.

Rule #10: It never gets easier, you just go faster.

How my friends at the Sufferfest describe the Rubber Glove ride:

Ah, the old-school days where you just used to bash yourself into the ground day after day hoping it would make you faster. As fun as that was, it wasn’t effective and few have the time for that. With jobs, families, and a life outside cycling (gasp!), we need to make the most of our training time.

Now, heart rate monitors and power meters allow cyclists to establish fitness thresholds and training zones. The threshold, called your “Functional Threshold Performance (FTP)”, can be used to train more effectively, precisely following training plans and getting you fitter, faster and more powerful in less time.

Establishing your FTP requires that you take a fitness examination of sorts. Typically you ride at your absolute limit for a set period of time, take your average effort over that period, subtract a bit, and you have your Functional Threshold Performance (FTP). Our FTP test video, Rubber Glove, is the best in the world, helping you get the most out of yourself.

With a workout designed by Dig Deep Coaching, you get a solid warm-up, some high-cadence drills and then it’s straight into a 20 minute maximum effort interval. Clear instructions will pace you to get the most accurate FTP possible. Once you’re done, we’ll tell you what your new power FTP should be.

Rubber Glove is tough.

Certificate of Completion

With the Tour of Sufferlandria having finished, I will start my 10-week training plan for the outdoor riding season. Although, with luck, I hope to be back on the roads late March or early April.

Two days of recovery before some light spinning tomorrow. Back into harder efforts this weekend.

Stage 9 It Seemed Like Thin Air

That’s it. I finished the 2017 Tour Of Sufferlandria. I’m not sure how, but I finished all 9 stages.

Last year’s tour was challenging. This year’s tour? Well, let’s just say that it was one of the hardest things that I have done on a bike in recent memory. Sure, there were probably times when I was racing way back in the 1970s when I probably killed myself on a ride. This year’s tour, coupled with a smart trainer, provided a new definition of suffering on a bike.

I’ll need a couple of days to recover from all of this abuse.

I do feel a sense of accomplishment. The rides are tough and you get out of them what you put into them. I gave it everything I had for 9 consecutive days. There were times when I did not think I would be able to finish and yet I was able to push through those moments and I was able to finish what I started.

I’ll do my FTP test in another week or so. I expect that I have been able to push things up a notch. Although super sore right now, I know that I will be able turn up some serious wattage for the outdoor rides that will be here in another 6 weeks or so.

Clearly waking upon a very bad mood, Grunter von Agony demanded the Minions create a horror film about climbing. So they mashed up all but one of the climbs from ISLAGIATT with the 40 minute monster from Thin Air for a total of five leg-breaking ascents. Upon the advice of National Team Coach Sir Neal Henderson, we’ve set the targets for this workout 10% lower than normal so that you’ll actually be able to finish it (you’ll be on your knees begging for it all to end, but you *should* (maybe)(kinda)(sorta) be able to finish the full 2.5 hours.

Stage 8 Revolver + Revolver is Easy + Half is Easy

There it is. That word. Easy.

Maybe some of it was easy. I really could not tell. Hours of cruel and unusual punishment on a bike. And all I could ask myself: why? Why am I enduring so much pain and suffering? Why am I pushing myself to my limits?

I have no easy answer.

Stage 8 is done. One stage left.

The piece de resistance in Grunter von Agony’s Symphony of Suffering. Stage 8 is so unbelievably cruel, so terrible, that the United Nations might halt the Tour. Hold on to your shredded chamois, ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t going to be pretty. Stage 8 pits you against Sufferlandria’s age-old nemesis, Tyrannosaurus Rex, with a route that will have cadence sensors and your legs begging for mercy. Revolver…but after that, it gets easy. And by easy I mean Revolver is Easy. But that’s not all. Apparently Grunter thought Stage 8 wasn’t easy enough. Out of character, I know. So he added Half Is Easy. Never before has the Tour of Sufferlandria demanded the kind of commitment to pure suffering that these 89 vomit-inducing intervals has. The end of the Tour is close but still so far away. COURAGE!

Stage 7 Hell Hath No Fury

Yikes. The pain and suffering just does not let up on this Tour of Sufferlandria.

I’ve never done this particular ride before at 100% intensity. I usually dial it back. Not this morning. 100%. My intensity factor was 0.96.

What is an intensity factor? It is the ratio of normalized power in a workout against functional threshold power. Functional threshold power (FTP) is the maximum average power that a rider can sustain for one hour. So, if my FTP was 270 watts, and I rode my bicycle for one hour at exactly 270 watts my intensity factor would be 1.0.

An intensity factor of 0.96, which I clocked this morning, meant that I was pushing things really, really hard.

I took a look at how everyone else is doing on the tour. And things are definitely not looking great as we enter the last three stages of the tour.

2,008 riders started the Tour of Sufferlandria within the posted timeframe — there may be a few more that started earlier or later that would not be part of this number. And the numbers are falling. 627 riders attempted Stage 6. 43 riders attempted Stage 7.  Those numbers will go up given the timezone differences. Nonetheless, lots of DNFs on the board right now.

Stage 7 done.

Stage 8 tomorrow.

Stage 6 There Is No Try

Stage 6 is now done. Only 3 more stages before the Tour is finished.

I am confident about tomorrow’s stage. The stages for Saturday and Sunday? Well, I will soon find out if I can get through them at full intensity. I will finish the tour. Of that I have no doubt. Doing the Tour of Sufferlandria with a power meter and a smart trainer is much, much harder than riding based on heart rate and RPE alone.

A wise man once said, ‘There is No Try. There is only Do. Or do not.’ And, so, as you approach your turbo trainer for this video, you should only come if you are fully committed to doing what needs to be done in order to get faster. And getting faster is what this video is all about. Here, you come face to face with Sufferlandrian intervals. You see, Sufferlandrians get faster when other cyclists get tired.

Stage 5 Nine Hammers

I brought the vomit bucket down to my pain cave this morning. Yesterday’s stage was brutal and I had a pretty rough day after I finished the ride.

I was worried about this stage. I felt so awful on the bike yesterday. Would it be the same way today?

Everest. Across the Sahara. To the South Pole. Through the Northwest Passage. There are extreme journeys that capture the imagination. And now, Sufferlandria adds to those adventures with the journey of the Nine Hammers. Few can make it through this epic adventure – but The Minions have confidence in you. Or maybe they just want to see you Suffer. You know how they are.

I made it through the nine hammers. Without throwing up. The ride went well. Hard. Very hard. But I made it.

I suspect part of the issue with yesterday’s stage was lack of hydration. For whatever reason I was failing to keep track of my fluid intake. I wasn’t on top of my daily hydration and it really showed up yesterday.

Feeling much better today.

I am not as worried about the next two stages. I will get through them.

Stage 8, on the other hand, is over two hours of hard riding and features 89 vomit-inducing intervals.

Stage 9? Well, let’s just say I am trying not to think about stage 9.

Stage 4 Angels

Stage 4 is done. Surprisingly, the toughest stage so far. I did not think that I would be able to finish it. Hard, hard, hard. Almost folded at the last interval.

And nausea. It is not uncommon for nausea to occur when you go deep into oxygen debt. I guess I hit a lot of debt this morning.

But I got through it. Stage 4 down. Only 5 more to go.

If you were eating lunch, 8 minutes wouldn’t seem like a lot of time. If you were on a beach, it would be cruel to only be there 8 minutes. But during the 8 minute climbs in Angels, you’ll swear to every god you can think of that it’s never going to end.

Yes. 4 of these intervals and I swore that each one would never end. Especially the last 2 minutes.