Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer – Version 2

The SufferfestThe 2nd version of the Sufferfest ERG Spreadsheet is now available for download.  The download link in the original blog post (Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer) has been updated and points to the new file as well.

Version 2 adds data for the newest Sufferfest video, Hell Hath No Fury.  This 1:15 workout uses footage from the UCI Pro Women’s World Cup races.  The workout, as described on The Sufferfest website:

Onto the trainer and into another world! You are a Sufferlandrian. And you’re racing for the Sufferlandrian National Team in the Tour of Sufferlandria. You’re expected to take the leader’s jersey (and a very special jersey it is) over the race, the stages of which are:

  • 3:30 Warm-up
  • 5:30 Stage 1: Easy, flat terrain at effort level of 6/10 with a few accelerations
  • 20:00 Stage 2: Rolling terrain with a series of attacks as the pack tries to take the lead from you
  • 6:00 Recovery
  • 20:00 Stage 3: More rolling, attacking racing in which you try to break away to get the lead back
  • 4:00 Recovery
  • 3:30 Stage 4: Team Time Trial in which you have to crush yourself in order to take the lead, and the Tour of Sufferlandria victory
  • 6:00 Recovery, featuring Mental Training Reflection from Athlete’s Audio

I’ve also added the support for the MultiRider format (MRC).  On the tab for each video there is a yellow box containing the text for an ERG file and a blue box with the MRC data.  Pick your poison.  I don’t have a copy of the MultiRider software, so I’d appreciate any feedback on the files from anyone who tries the MRC version.

PezCycling News Article

Matt McNamara, USA Cycling Level 1 coach and president of Sterling Sports Group, recently wrote an article for PezCyclingNews.com titled Sufferfest Videos: From The Power Perspective

Mr. McNamara was kind enough to include a link to my Sufferfest ERG Spreadsheet but his review goes much deeper into how well the videos work as part of a power-based training plan, focusing on the training stress score (TSS), intensity factor (IF) and interval composition.  Check out his review and see how the Sufferfest stacked up.

 

Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer

The Sufferfest(The Sufferfest ERG Spreadsheet has been updated a couple of times since the original version. The last couple of videos point out how critical it is to consider your personal power capabilities and the workout profile of each video when you set your power numbers in the spreadsheet)

As much as I hope to continue riding outside during the winter, the reality of winter in Ohio means I need a plan B.  Last year I spent my trainer time putting myself through the pain of Sufferfest video workouts and spent more time on my trainer than I usually would.  This year I’ve moved my indoor riding to a CompuTrainer and I have a pretty solid, power-based, workout plan to follow but I still want to include Sufferfest videos when they fit in the plan.

The Sufferfest workouts are interesting, challenging, motivational and, occasionally, fun.  But, they suffer from the same problem as all “perceived exertion” based workouts.  That is, they rely on me to determine if I’m working hard enough. I have great intentions when I talk about the workout and even when I climb on the bike, but when the screens says to go at level 9/10, am I really giving it 90% of my absolute best effort?   So, with that in mind, I set out to combine the gut check of the Sufferfest video with the technology of the CompuTrainer.

The rest of this post has some of the details behind this project but, if you really don’t care how all of this works, just download the ERG Spreadsheet, read the short instructions in the file and get on your bike. Read the rest of this entry

2011 Ohio 600k Brevet

I tried to keep this short, but I was unsuccessful.

We rolled out of Blue Ash, Ohio at 5:00 with 34 riders and the promise of a dry, sunny and very hot day. The first 300k was a repeat of the first part of the 400k from a few weeks ago so I knew what to expect. Much of the 2nd 300k would be on roads from the 200 and 300 this year so I had a pretty good idea what the latter part of the ride would be like as well.

After the 400k, I added a small mount for my light that raised it above the handlebar and got it out of the way of my GPS. Very quickly on this ride,I realized that it wasn’t tight enough and my light would rotate toward the ground on every bump. I tried to adjust it while riding but, eventually, ended up just holding it in place with my left hand until sunrise.

The group separated on a tough hill a few miles from the start and the faster riders settled in to a brisk, but manageable, pace for the first 56 miles to the control in Georgetown. I think the whole group was concerned about riding this 56 mile section on the way back. It would be very hot by then and there just weren’t a lot of options for water in that stretch. One of the local riders in our group pointed out a small park with bathrooms and a water fountain. I marked the distance so I knew when I could expect to get back there later.

Read the rest of this entry

2011 Ohio Flèche

On Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24th, I was the captain of a team riding the 2011 Ohio Flèche. A flèche is a randonneuring event where teams of 3-5 bikes each ride separate routes, from different starting points and all aim to finish the ride at the same finishing location, 24 hours later. The ride has to be at least 360km (~224 miles for the metrically challenged). Each team defines a number of controls where they must get cards signed and the official distance of each route is defined as the shortest possible riding distance between controls. Also, the longest anyone is permitted to stop at any one place is 2 hours. In order for any team member to get credit for finishing, at least 3 bikes from the team have to finish together.

Here is my rather long winded, sleep deprived recollection of the ride.
The weeks leading up the Ohio Flèche this past weekend were a jumble of equipment decisions, route options, team decisions and weather obsession. Our original team of 5 bikes was whittled down to 3 due to illness and injury as Joe continues to recover from his crash with the suicidal squirrel and we lost the tandem of Don and Phyllis as Don came down with a chest cold and back pain in the weeks before the ride.

I probably spent more time looking at weather forecasts than I did anything else leading up to Saturday. Every service I looked at had a slightly different forecast and the range of possibilities was incredible. We had our choice of light rain, showers, locally heavy rain, thunderstorms, chance of thunderstorms, wind, gusting wind and any combination of the above.

4 of the 5 registered teams had lost riders and there was a flurry of emails from team leaders and RBA Bob Waddell as late as Friday with offers and suggestions to recombine riders to make fewer, 5 bike teams. But, our group of 3 decided that knowing the route and knowing the other riders well was just as important as having more wheels to draft. We decided to stick with the original plan and go with just the 3 of us. That meant, for any of us to get credit for riding, we’d all have to finish.

Read the rest of this entry

Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge

Saturday, August 7th, was the 2010 edition of the Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge in Monterey, VA.  I’ve done this ride 10 times (including the year 100+ of us did an unofficial version when the sponsor backed out) and every time I have felt a mix of emotions including fear of failure, anxiousness about the climbs, exhilaration at the incredible descents, wonder at the scenery, awe at the ability of the riders who finish this ride in a little over 5 hours and sense of personal satisfaction when I make the last right hand turn on Monterey Mountain and know that it is, literally, 2.5 miles of fast descending back into town to the finish.

I’m a map guy and a data junkie so I know every turn and every climb and every descent on this ride and I have a love/hate relationship with every mile.  The ride covers 100 miles in Virginia and West Virginia and climbs over 9 mountains for a total elevation gain of 9,800+ ft.  I’ve seen websites that advertise the ride as having 13,000+ ft. of climbing, but far too many GPS units come up with a figure closer to 10,000.

This year my training was good but there isn’t anything in central Ohio that even comes close to the kind of climbing that Mt. Mama offers.  None of the hills are Ohio steep (only one goes into double digits for any length of time), but the short climbs are 1-2 miles long and the long ones are 5-8 miles long.  So, it is always a bit of a guess if I’m really ready or not. Read the rest of this entry

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