30 September, 2011

The Sufferfest – A very dark place… TBag reports.

Many of you will know that Team Captain Wiggy’s and I both use the Sufferfest workouts as a method of home training, in the winter when midweek conditions are too harsh and too dark and during the rest of the year when either of us needs a short, sharp and harsh work out. If you’ve got a bike and a turbo or rollers and a laptop/computer, you can do the Sufferfest. I would even go as far as saying that if it is safe to take your laptop to the local gym, you could do a Sufferfest work out there on a stationary bike.

Of the five sufferfests that are ready to play on my laptop, like all things, I have my favourites and ones I absolutely hate. I love Downward Spiral (quick but harsh) and Local Hero (1.5 hours of torture) but I have to be pretty desperate for a change if I’m going to do The Hunted.

So I was delighted to respond to a call to review the ‘new’ Sufferfest – whose launch has been building up for weeks via twitter and Facebook. Called ‘A Very Dark Place’ I knew I was in for at least 60 minutes wondering why I ever started. I mean, come on, after a long day at work the sofa is a very comfortable place to sit.

So ‘A Very Dark Place’ goes something like this, and as with all the Sufferfest videos everything is a physically painful mix of climbs, sprints, breakaways, attacks, overtaking that guy with the flappy jacket and sprinting for the finish line:

• 5:00 warm-up, with Asian racing footage from a member of the OCBC-Singapore National Team
• 2×30sprints, basically trying to sprint start ahead of your fellow competitors from start line of the OCBC Cycle Singapore professional criterium
• 1:30 rest (hallelujah)
• 5 x 4:00 sprints- with 3:00 rest between each interval, watching Mike Cotty on his epic record breaking Raid Pyrenean. Each interval features pro racing footage:
Solo breakaway in Paris-Nice
Small group breakaway in Fleche-Wallone
Joining Gilbert and the Schlecks as they attack in Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Following Cancellara – and trying to beat him – in Paris-Roubaix
Holding onto Mr Wiggins and friends going up the Col du Glandon in Criterium du Dauphine (sprint finish)
•4:00 recovery with some vintage cycling footage

To be honest, I don’t really remember much about intervals 2-4. In that time my heart relocated itself somewhere behind an ear and my face spent much of the time about 2 inches away from the stem. But not when I was standing. Oh no. At that point I found that there was much of interest studying my front tyre. By the last interval, my face was never further than an inch from the bike stem.

Once the recovery footage started I was too exhausted to mop up the ready made saline solution that I was covered in. I was even far too exhausted to swear, which many Gazzetta members will be astounded to hear, particularly coming from someone as potty-mouthed as me. Once I’d peeled myself from the bike, I moved a whole 2 feet to the sofa, where I sat, too exhausted to change the tv channel from BBC’s Watchdog. Yes, that bad.

But the benefits are yielded on the weekend ride when you feel you can go that bit faster and further. And this work out is as good as all the others. There are some detailed improvements on previous videos such as clearer screen instructions.

I love these vids, and if you want a structured training format for sitting on a bike, training indoors, these are for you.

‘A Very Dark Place’ will go on sale on Sunday 2nd October, from here. ‘Enjoy’.

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