Butter and Thin Air

And the last two stages of the tour began with Butter + Thin Air. A two-hour effort where I started at 95% and dialed the intensity back to 85%.

I came off the bike uncertain as to how I would finish the final, brutal three-hour stage that followed on the Sunday.

Suffer, suffer, suffer.

The Chores

Another stage completed at 100% intensity.

Definitely felt the cumulative impact of back-to-back high intensity efforts.

I had no choice but to dial the intensity back for the week-end.

Do As You’re Told

Got through Stage 6 at 100%. It was tough but short. I can handle high intensity workouts when they are only 40 minutes or so. It is the long, punishing high intensity efforts that scare me. Like Stage 9. Three hours of suffering.

I can hardly wait.

Bereda Training has a great post on how to withstand the misery of the Tour of Sufferlandria. If you haven’t seen the metrics that most cycling enthusiasts use to track their workouts, then it may come as a bit of a shock to see all of the data underneath the misery.

I don’t need all of that data to know that the Tour is miserable. I can feel the misery!

The only way to withstand the misery of the Tour is to finish all of the stages. And I will finish all of the stages.

A vomit bucket might help though for when it gets too miserable.

Stage 7 awaits this evening.

Fight Club

Broken.

You can see how this nasty workout progresses with five discrete high intensity efforts that run six and a half minutes each. I got through the first one at 100% intensity and I knew that there was no way I could finish the workout at that level. Not with the cumulative impact of the past 4 stages.

I did the second one at 95% intensity. Almost didn’t finish.

Down to 90%. And then 85% for the balance.

Awful. Just awful.

I felt broken coming off the bike. Probably wasn’t help by a stressful day at the office. I came into the workout with a poor attitude. Sufferfest videos are largely a mental game. Physically I can get through them. Mentally, though it can be tougher. Much, much tougher. Must stay in the moment.

This is a powerful video and well worth the 20 minutes if you are into endurance sports although it readily applies to other areas of life. The Ted talk is described this way:

Mind over Matter? Ned Phillips explains the idea of peak performance in what he calls ”˜the power of now”™. His entire career, he never realized the importance of the mind until he partook in endurance races, in which the realization struck, your mind has to take over, and focus not on the past, not the future, but only the present, and naturally your body will follow.

The Trick

A bit late getting my stages posted to the blog. Stage 4 was held two days ago. I did Stage 5 yesterday and Stage 6 is coming up in a few hours.

Like Stage 3, I was able to tackle Stage 4 at 100% intensity. The recovery times were long enough that I didn’t have that much trouble with the session. Not as easy a spin as Stage 3. Not anywhere near as difficult as the first two stages.

I am definitely feeling the effects of all the spinning on consecutive days. I generally spin 2 or 3 days on and 1 day off. And I always follow plans that are a bit more balanced than the Tour of Sufferlandria (e.g., hard rides followed by recovery rides versus mostly pain and suffering rides).

What will Stage 5 be like?

Never a good idea to think about Sufferfest videos in advance.

Getting Away With It

I hate to say this. Especially about a Sufferfest stage. But this one was, er, rather easy.

No issues going at it with 100% intensity. In a way, it felt more like a recovery ride compared to the pain and suffering from the first two stages.

Not feeling all that great today though. Definitely reacting to the first two stages and I would not describe my anticipation for Stage 4 as being enthusiastic. It will be a harder ride. I am going to try and go at it with 100% intensity.

Almost time to suffer.

The Tour Has Begun

Two stages down. Seven remain.

There are four ways to ride the Tour of Sufferlandria. Given that I am in the middle of a training program, I have opted for the Focused option:

3. THE FOCUSED OPTION
Take this option if: You want to ride a good Tour, but don”™t want it to compromise your goals a little further down the road.
Like any pro cyclist, you have goals that might not line up with the race you”™re about to do. You need to ride the event out of a patriotic loyalty, but want to do so in a way that doesn”™t destroy you for other goals down the road or derail you from your current training plan too much. If that”™s the case, then take this option. The Focused Option has you identify the stages that suit your strengths (as determined by your 4DP profile) and ride them at 85-90% intensity, with all other stages done at 70-80% to keep you on track post-Tour.

Recovery from the Tour of Sufferlandria with the Focused option is about 5-6 days. The so-called Nuclear option, going full out at 100% for all nine stages, could take 7-10 days to recover and it can significantly increase the risk of getting sick.

The Focused option it is then.

But, I completely forgot about the intensity levels for Stage 1. I did the first hour and twenty minutes at 100% intensity and then I had no choice but to back it down to 90% to finish the last two races of that brutal opening.

The Sufferfest training app controls the resistance, not me. Gone are the days of RPE and going by feel. If the intensity isn’t set properly, the Sufferfest app will not care. Suffer away!

I was surprised at how quickly things fell apart towards the end of that first stage on Saturday. I came off the bike totally spent.

I had to bring out the foam rollers to get some relief in my legs. And then I simply flaked out for the balance of the evening.

Sunday wasn’t a whole lot better. I did the first hour of Stage 2 at 80% intensity and then the second hour of Stage 2 at 95% intensity. Just so brutal.

I will be riding Stage 3 after work today. I finished Stage 2 at around 7pm on the Sunday and there was no way I could tackle another stage at my usual 6am riding time.

I’ll go at Stage 3 at 100% intensity (I think).

And then I need to dial things back a bit. The stage I am most worried about is the last stage. It clocks in at 3 hours. The longest I usually hit a bike with indoor spinning is about 2 hours. Adding another hour to these savage workouts will be a real test of stamina regardless of intensity.

Danger!

So soon?

My training app shows me that the 2018 Tour of Sufferlandria is just around the corner. Starting this Saturday. Nine consecutive days of intense suffering with a final 3-hour stage aptly named the kitchen sink.

Despite having done this for several years now, the Tour of Sufferlandria never fails to scare the life out of me. Literally one of the hardest things I have ever done on a bike.

I am looking forward to this tour like I would like forward to dental surgery without the freezing.