Tour of Sufferlandria 2018

I can’t believe I am doing this again. Last year’s tour almost killed me:

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.

More like a couple of years.

Definitely for a good cause though.

Wish me luck.

Suffer, Suffer, Suffer

I will hate January 3rd.

And I will hate February 3-11 even more.

My experience from last year.

Recovery Rides

For the past seven weeks, I have been training indoors. Up at 5:30am. On the bike by 6:00am. Ride for more than an hour. Some days, the rides are really, really hard.

Lots of suffering,

And then there are recovery rides. Easy spinning.

Train hard on the hard days. Take it real easy on the easy days.

On Zwift this morning, the sunrise was timed perfectly to my local time. The above screenshot from my Zwift ride was taken just as I started my descent in the beautiful island paradise of Watopia.

Felt awesome spinning today.

Zwift on Apple TV

I was a beta tester of Zwift on Apple TV although from beta to release was exceptionally short, only a matter of a few weeks. At least for me. I suspect the team at Zwift was busy on this one for a lot longer.

I love riding on Zwift. As a form of augmented reality, the game really does draw you into the experience of riding in a way that is very engaging.

I currently use Zwift on a laptop and I use Zwift’s app on the iPad to help navigate common commands while riding — it can be a bit challenging leaning over to the laptop and trying to tap on the keys while maintaining pace on a bike. I have the iPad on a stand within easy reach of my hand.

Zwift on Apple TV makes things a lot simpler from a connectivity perspective assuming that the sensors on the bike and on the trainer can all communicate via Bluetooth. Bring up the app, pair the sensors and the game now presents on a really big screen.

Fewer wires, larger displays.

Zwift also gave me a new Parlee ESX bike:


Unfortunately, as a virtual machine, it only works in Zwift.

Best Exercise For Aging Muscles

Particularly pronounced in cyclists:

Many of these affected genes, especially in the cells of the interval trainers, are believed to influence the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells; the subjects who did the interval workouts showed increases in the number and health of their mitochondria ”” an impact that was particularly pronounced among the older cyclists.

It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense, says Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and the study”™s senior author. In fact, older people”™s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did ”” suggesting, he says, that it is never too late to benefit from exercise.

From the New York Times.

Colnago K.One

My friends at Colnago decided to let me know about their new machine, the This is the fastest Colnago frame if I want to ride at speeds faster than my age — which is getting harder and harder each year now.

From their website:

The new Colnago K.One represents pure performance ”“ pushing the limits of speed. The K.One is the fastest Colnago frame for cycling at speeds above 50 km / h. The frame was developed in the wind tunnel, building on the information gained during the development of the Concept, Colnago”™s aero road frame. The K.One offers total aerodynamic integration, adjustment, and customization thanks to solutions designed to facilitate ease of set-up and precision bike-fit.

Super bikes come with super prices. I suspect the tricked out like the photo above is somewhere north of $10,000, probably closer to $15,000. Before taxes.

I have two Colnago bikes, one carbon and one steel. The steel bike is built off the Master X 30th anniversary frame. Whereas the looks like a stealth bomber, the Master X has a timeless, classic design. And the feel of steel. I love riding that bike.

Watching. Always Watching.

I received the following email this morning:

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:16 AM, The Team at Zwift wrote:

Hey Richard,

You made it out of the jungle. Nice work!

Did you enjoy the ancient ruins? Did you see the sloth? You”™re among the first 12k Zwifters to explore the Jungle Expansion. We”™re happy you had a chance to try it.

Cool. The team at Zwift reached out to me. At first glance, it all seemed so human. Personalized. With some context and a few questions thrown in for good measure.

And then it dawned on me. This was machine generated.

I know. So what? What difference does it make that a machine sent this out?

In the digital domain, it is becoming more difficult to determine what is, or is not, human. And, for that matter, whether the source is genuine or not genuine.

Technically, the email should have been worded this way:

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:16 AM, Zwift Artificial Intelligence Self-Learning Algorithm Machine generated:

Notice to Zwift Rider Richard Cleaver:

Zwift Mayan Jungle Ride completed at 6:01am, Saturday, October 28th, 2017.

Please complete an online survey of your ride experience. There are 12,000 Zwifters receiving this invitation to participate.

And remember, the Zwift AI Self-Learning Algorithm Machine records everything you are doing. It is watching you. It is always watching you.

Okay. A bit dark perhaps.

I’m still happy that the team at Zwift reached out to me. I love their service. Even if the email was automatically generated by a machine!

It’s the thought that counts right?

Time to Zwift

Most of my riding is now taking place indoors. Increasingly with Zwift.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love the Sufferfest videos but they are a very different experience. Zwift feels a lot more immersive to me especially now with group workouts.

And, if I am going to get on a bike at 6am to ride hard for an hour or more, immersive is good.

I just started a 12-week program and that should prepare me well for the ultimate pain and suffering indoors: the Tour of Sufferlandria.

That nasty little event will be coming up in early February.