2019 Tour of Sufferlandria Dashboard
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Stage 1: The Tool Shed (Mash-Up)
Sat, 02 Feb
Completed by 2539 Sufferlandrians
*Because you're not the sharpest tool in the shed.*
Simply put, this is a session for those looking to see how deep they can truly dig - or for those who think they might need to update their 4DP metrics (If you finish this session with minimal swearing and without stopping it's time to re-test).
You might be looking at the profile and say to yourself, "Only doing the 2nd set from the Shovel sounds like cheating. You would be right. That's why we would never do something as crazy as letting you start the 2nd set from The Shovel Fresh. Instead, you get to be the Nail for the first 3 efforts from Nine Hammers. Once you've done that and wrapped up that second set from the Shovel, all that stands between you and that massive pit of exhaustion and GLORY are 2 more Hammers. Did we mention they were Hammers 8 and 9? No? Good, good. Forget we said anything. Just pretend you have 3 Hammers and 1 Shovel to contend with. Those last 2 hammers are "Future You's" problem - let that chump deal with that nightmare.
When looking at "will this make me faster" the answer is YES (and, at least in the short term, quite miserable). The Shovel packs a massive AC punch, with inverse-micro intervals that dish out ever higher the power the shorter the interval. While 9 Hammers packs a huge MAP/FTP punch, it also helps drive up your sustained power regardless of what your rider type or weakness are. Facing the first 3 Hammers gives your Aerobic (MAP/FTP) system a hefty load to deal with, and will just about fully deplete your AC stores. Which makes this the perfect time to start the 2nd set from the Shovel. With depleted reserves, starting with the short 5 second sprints ensure you are just fresh enough to push your NM system, but fatigued enough that your AC never fully recovers for the duration of these intervals. With your AC depleted, heart rate pegged and breathing rate through the roof, the last thing you WANT is the final 2 Hammers. This isn't about what you want though, but what you need. By the time you start this set of Hammers your top end power will be feeling completely drained, any "snap" you might usually rely on to make it through these 3-4 minute efforts will be long gone. That means you are facing down the final 2 Hammers relying solely on your MAP and FTP. The higher your FTP the faster you will recover, the higher your MAP the greater the punishment you can handle. Once you pick yourself up off the floor from Hammers 8 and 9, you will have pushed your body to its absolute limits across almost every 4DP Metric, which will send you down the path to be a faster and more badass Sufferlandrian.
Stage 1: Elements Of Style
Sat, 02 Feb
Completed by 2243 Sufferlandrians
Can you ride? Can you Suffer with Style? Make profound Suffering look effortless? Although it has very little Suffering in it, Elements of Style may just be our most important video ever. Developed together with the expert team at CyclingTips and shot on location in Wanaka, New Zealand, this video provides the very foundation upon which all your Suffering must rest. Over the course of six specific drills, you'll learn and practice: An exclusive 9-point 'Systems Check' you can use on any ride to get into your Optimal position. A 4-step process for standing up on a climb and generating more power. How to engage your core, including your glutes, for more stability and power. The components of a smooth pedal stroke and how to bring them together at both low and high cadences. How to stay relaxed, and efficient under pressure. Narrated by one of the best cycling commentators in the world, Eurosport's Carlton Kirby, you'll get clear instructions about exactly what to do, when and why. We guarantee it will change the way you think about your riding style after doing it just once. Do it five times and you'll automatically adjust your position while out on rides. Do it 10 times and Sufferlandrian Angels will burst into tears at the sheer epic beauty of you kicking the crap out of your competition while making it look oh so effortless.
Stage 2: Team Scream
Sun, 03 Feb
Completed by 2238 Sufferlandrians
Thanks to a last minute selection, you have been drafted into a 48-kilometer Team Time Trial (TTT). Done correctly, each of the 5 riders will all cross the finish line utterly spent. Pacing is vital. A TTT is essentially one long set of Over / Under intervals. When it's your turn on the front you will be well over your FTP, and while those pulls usually only last around 30 seconds, you'll clock almost 20 pulls over the course of 48k.
Physiologically speaking, a TTT is one of the best combined AC/MAP/FTP sessions out there. Regardless of your chosen discipline, Rider Type, or rider weakness, this effort will push you to your limits, and you will be faster for it.
Stage 2: Half is Easy
Sun, 03 Feb
Completed by 2037 Sufferlandrians
For too long, perhaps, we have shrugged off questions about whether The Sufferfest videos were too hard as Couchlandrians attempted to sway public opinion toward a life devoid of HONOUR, GLORY and VICTORY. But it's gone on too long - and we had to respond. So, over a bottle of Real Pagne, legendary Directeur Sportif Grunter von Agony had a quiet word with a man named Ian Field. Ian, you may know, is an elite coach with Dig Deep Coaching and a four-time British National Cyclocross National Champion. After an evil laugh that lingered, he provided us with a workout he uses to perform at the highest levels of the Cyclocross World Cup. 'Don't worry,' said Ian. 'The Couchlandrians will enjoy half of it.'
This is a fantastic session for improving AC. The short, high intensity efforts with equally short recoveries stresses your body's ability to recover quickly. In fact, the recoveries are short enough that you never really get a “full recovery” during a set. This means your MAP is developed in the latter half of both sets as fatigue sets in. It's also worth mentioning that because of the short durations, you do tap into your NM at the start of each effort.
Stage 3: A Very Dark Place
Mon, 04 Feb
Completed by 2435 Sufferlandrians
You know that ride where you thought you went harder, deeper and to a darker place than you'd ever gone before? HAHAHAHA. This takes you further, deeper and darker than that. A Very Dark Place is about maximum effort for shorter durations: five, four-minute intervals that take you to the limit. If you struggle with longer, high-intensity efforts and want to improve your ability to make repeated attacks, you need to spend some time in A Very Dark Place. Those little punches in the third and fifth efforts will teach you just how dark you can go.
Stage 4: Intermediate Level 1 Session A
Tue, 05 Feb
Completed by 1876 Sufferlandrians
This is the first routine of the Intermediate Strength Training series. This session introduces the most basic versions of the foundational moves that make up the majority of this program. Mastering perfect form on every move is vital to your long-term gains. As the program progresses you'll be asked to complete more difficult variations on each foundational move.
- Kneeling Hip Drive with Hands Over Head
- Kneeling Hip Drive with Hips Side to Side
- Hip Bridge with Reps
- Bent Leg Tip at the Hip-Forward Lunge
- Lateral Lunge with Extended Hands
- Romanian Deadlift
- Opposite Side
- Single Leg Dip with Opposite Reach
- Squat with Wide Stance
- Hip Bridge
- Frog Crunch
- Push-Up On Knees
- Back Extension with Reps
- Quadraped with Arm Raise
- Plank with Leg Lifts
- Side Plank
- Side Plank with Leg Raise
- Side Plank with Pulsing Hand
Stage 4: G.O.A.T
Tue, 05 Feb
Completed by 2356 Sufferlandrians
This session is all about high-torque efforts, very similar to the efforts you would experience out riding up the steep slopes of Mt Sufferlandria. While these efforts are short, and the intensity isn’t too high, the low cadence targets combined with minimal recovery will leave some begging for the high cadence sprints of The Omnium.
High torque efforts like these have two primary benefits. Improved neuromuscular coordination, and increased muscular endurance.
During each pedal revolution your legs have to “switch on” and “switch off” almost all of the muscles in your legs. High cadence efforts in something like Cadence Builds are great for teaching these groups to make that switch quickly. These low cadence efforts are better for teach ALL of the muscles in your legs to “switch on”. Done properly you should be pulling with your hamstrings with one leg while the other leg is pushing down with all the force your glutes and quads can muster. If you feel like you are pushing yourself up out of the saddle during harder efforts (like seated sprints) then your hamstrings are not being utilized since they should be pulling you back down into your saddle.
The second main benefit is improved muscular endurance. Even though the session is under 45 minutes, you will put a similar amount of muscular fatigue into your legs as a steady multi hour base ride. You can almost view this session as hitting the leg press for 8 sets of 100 reps.
And just like the weight room, proper form is absolutely key! That means:
-- You should focus on pushing down AND pulling back up. You want your glutes and quads activated on the way down, and your hamstring and hip flexors activated on the way up.
-- To properly engage your hamstrings think about trying to pulling your heel up to your butt when your crank arm is going from 6 o’clock to 10 o’clock.
-- Your knees should be tracking straight up and down, no collapsing in or out!
-- Your core should be fully engaged to keep your hips rock steady in the saddle. This will be easier if you are both pushing and pulling during each pedal revolution.
This session is very simillar to Power Station. Both help improve your muscular endurance and coordination, the biggest difference is the work to rest ratio between the two. While the intervals here are shorter than those in Power Station, the decreased recovery duration means fatigue will build faster, especially for those with a weakness in repeated efforts. Modifying interval length and recovery duration can also be seen between sessions like Revolver and A Very Dark Place. Both serve up a healthy dose of MAP/VO2 work, but the overall "feeling" of those two sessions are different.
If you find that your lower back starts to ache during this session, or that you have to start rocking in the saddle to keep the power up, then it’s time for you get started on our Yoga programme. Kick it off with “Core Strengtheners I” to make sure your core is just as strong as those legs!
Stage 5: Core Strengtheners I
Wed, 06 Feb
Completed by 1796 Sufferlandrians
The power to crush non-Sufferlandrians comes not just from your legs, but from your core. When your core is strong and stable, you can generate more power, more efficiently. You'll also suffer less back pain. With those goals in mind, this sequence strengthens the abs, obliques and lower back.
Stage 5: The Omnium
Wed, 06 Feb
Completed by 2068 Sufferlandrians
You know what we love about you? Your versatility. You can Suffer anywhere, anytime and in any way. That's why Grunter von Agony, Sufferlandrian Team Director, is sending you to compete in The Omnium at the UCI World Track Championships. Over the course of 50 minutes, you'll do battle in the six different races.
No two intervals in this workout are the same, with each one working slightly different variations of NM, AC and MAP. No need for FTP here, my friends! It's the perfect session to improve top-end power without having to do a lot of repetitive efforts.
The scratch race and flying lap have an “easy” enough lead in that you get to put your max sprint to the full test. Add in the standing starts for the Individual Pursuit and Kilo and you give your NM a real run through. The repeated surges of the elimination race, the all out nature of the kilo, and the massive efforts you have to make in the points race really test your powers of recovery while working your AC all the way to the max.
Since the efforts come in quick succession, and with most being over four minutes in length, your cardiovascular system never catches a real break, ensuring your MAP doesn’t get left out of the equation.
Stage 6: Positive Self-Talk
Thu, 07 Feb
Completed by 1647 Sufferlandrians
Improve your confidence and performance through three types of positive self-talk: Motivational, Instructional and Reward.
Needs: workbook, pen.
Estimated time including exercises: 20 minutes
Stage 6: Thin Air
Thu, 07 Feb
Completed by 2241 Sufferlandrians
Here it is: the longest big effort in any session in The Sufferfest library.
The plain and simple fact is that sometimes to stress your FTP you need to spend more than 20 or 30 minutes riding near your FTP. This session was designed with that in mind. While most of the climb is actually below threshold, there are enough surges above it that your body will constantly be at the limit of clearing out those nasty, painful metabolites at the rate you churn them out. Painsuckers, rejoice!
Keep in mind that most of your anaerobic energy systems will be very depleted by the time you hit the 30 minute mark. That means they won't be much help in contributing to power production. That's one of the reasons why the same power target five minutes into this climb feels much harder when it comes again at minute 30. Once those anaerobic systems are used up, all you have left is your aerobic system, which requires oxygen to create power. These longer sustained efforts are crucial if you want to really push your threshold to its limits.
Stage 7: Blender (Mini Version)
Fri, 08 Feb
Completed by 2026 Sufferlandrians
Takes all the best parts of Blender and condenses them into a workout less than 60 minutes. The sustained efforts at the start ensure your AC and MAP are really put to the test during the two sets of Pain Shakes. Just like the regular Blender, throwing some shorter threshold efforts your way after those AC and MAP builders means your FTP doesn’t get left out of the “fun.” A perfect session for those who want to hit lots of improvement areas within an hour.
Stage 8: 14 Vise Grips
Sat, 09 Feb
Completed by 2093 Sufferlandrians
You can never have too many tools in the shed. After years of lobbying, we finally convinced Grunter von Agony to share with us his favorite set of implements: the fabled 14 Vise Grips. Taken individually each of the 14 intervals might appear tame, incapable of inflicting a significant squeeze. But when expertly applied in the correct order they apply just the right kind of pressure to turn a Couchlandrian into a Sufferlandrian, just like turning coal into diamonds.
While the duration of each Vise Grip varies (from 30 seconds to 2 minutes), the power targets and recovery durations between them remains constant. The first 30-second interval should feel like a Sunday stroll in the park, but by the end of the first 2-minute Vise Grip you'll be cursing Grunter's name. As the intervals get shorter, time will appear to stretch. That final 30-second effort will feel like an eternity.
When you roll up to the second set you'll know what you're in for, so just put your head down and prepare yourself to crush or be crushed.
Once you make it through all 14 Vise Grips, you will have been north of your MAP for a total of 16 minutes. Changing the duration of the efforts (while keeping the same recovery) stresses your AC in a more dynamic way than, say, a more straightforward on / off session like Half is Easy. Since the longer efforts have the same recovery duration as the shorter ones, you will eventually deplete your AC, forcing your body to rely on your MAP to hit the required power targets. As the intervals get shorter in the second half of each set, you'll find that you have just enough left in the tank to complete the next effort.
Ultimately this workout combines the advantages of shorter, higher-power intervals with longer recovery (great for building muscular strength), with the advantages of longer, higher-power intervals with inadequate recovery (great for driving up your MAP and improving your AC).
Stage 9: There Is No Try
Sun, 10 Feb
Completed by 1812 Sufferlandrians
The ability to hit a given power target right on the nose is one of the hallmarks of a great rider, and that is exactly what you are being forced to do with this session. Each interval has 4 distinct stair steps, increasing slightly with each step. This requires you to finesse your output multiple times for each effort, to really feel the difference 10 watts makes.
The stair step approach also forces your body into a constant state of “catching up.” Just as your aerobic system settles into the oxygen demands of each effort, you are forced to go harder, which makes you dip back into anaerobic energy systems while your aerobic system catches up. This process constantly forces your anaerobic and aerobic systems to make adjustments. If you're trying to get over a plateau or feel like you're not getting faster this can be exactly what you need.
Unlike other sessions, three of the four sprint efforts come in the first half. This means your legs will be fresh enough so you can go full gas and hit your NM system hard. Not bad for a session that is predominantly focused on building your AC and MAP.
Stage 9: Defender
Sun, 10 Feb
Completed by 2066 Sufferlandrians
You've got the leader's jersey, but then disaster strikes: A crash, an injury and you're forced to defend your position until the end of the race. Can you hang on under a barrage of attacks? Based on four, ten-minute efforts around threshold, Defender is designed to give you the most bang for your aerobic buck, or in this case, the most Watts at FTP for your Suffering.
There are both psychological as well as physiological benefits to this tremendous workout. Mentally, Defender will improve your sense of pacing for longer efforts near FTP. That is because each effort starts out above FTP, and since you're fresh you'll feel as though you can hold that pace all day. Every two minutes, the pace gradually declines so you are finishing just below FTP. As the time ticks away, the power targets will drop little by little, but your discomfort will remain about the same. By the fourth effort, you'll be find the same efforts far more difficult than in the first. By staying tuned-in to what your body is telling you, you'll learn more about how to manage your efforts around threshold and why it's so important to manage your efforts well at this intensity.
The physiological benefits follow the same lines as those found in Who Dares, or Fight Club. Overloading your legs and lungs with efforts above FTP before settling into efforts right at or right below FTP forces your body to clear out as many metabolites as possible and process as much oxygen as it can. What sets Defender apart is how that overload is delivered. While Who Dares achieves this with short sprints, Defender forces you to spend minutes above FTP before simmering back down. This allows your heart rate and breathing rate to get much closer to what they are during a long steady state threshold effort. This ensures that “overload” comes in as a steady drip, rather than the sudden burst like that in Who Dares. The lower intensity of this overload also changes the types of metabolites produced and the ratios they occur in. Not only does this keep the enzymes in your body focused on aerobic metabolism, your body will also respond with fewer stress hormones. This means you're training your aerobic system by overloading it, but doing so in a way that leaves you more ready to hit tomorrow's training just as hard.