Tour of Sufferlandria 2014

ToS 2014 BIBFor as long as I can actually do them daily, I will put up a short post race report on all stages of the 2014 Tour of Sufferlandria.

Last modified: February 1, 2014 – my second Tour of Sufferlandria is done!

Stage 9

There is a reason I have avoided Violator and today confirmed I was right in doing so.

Many people seem to like it, probably (mainly) because of the 64 recovery intervals.

However, as I suspected, this doesn’t apply to me – maybe if I’m well rested I can do a better job of following the line, but not today.

I just kept on pushing during the 5 second intervals, because there simply is no way I can accelerate and slow down between 30+ and 60+ kph repeatedly during that time frame.

The longer intervals were better, but suffice it to say I’m feeling violated…

Stage 7 only had 77 drop outs, of which 7 new subscribers – it seems hardly possible.

But then again: I probably underestimated the level of badass-ness of the Sufferlandrian cyclist. Or it may have something to do with staying eligible for the prizes and RPE / IF is not really an issue anymore…

Today’s stage – I really feel like violating a few minions to return the favor, grind their chamois and feed the remains to Grunter.

All stages on one TrainerRoad page here – my Tour total is 519.5 kilometers…

Stage 8

I seriously considered taking advantage of the 50 hour window and postpone today’s stage until tomorrow, possibly Sunday.

When I vented this idea to the majordomo, she cursed at me and practically put me on the bike herself.

I guess I’m not supposed to feel miserable about my self-inflicted misery.

The prospect of the (sprint) interval section – the infamous “pain shakes” – pretty much spoiled the introductory World Championship sections before that.

The time trial effort after the shakes however, came as a relief. Much like an epidural…

Dropped riders after stage 6: 923 from 2.439

Today’s stage – I’m done being nice – the Sufferfest Blender shake sucks as recovery drink.

Stage 7

A pivotal stage in the tour today? A tough 2 hours and 10 minutes double with Angels first, followed by the Hunted.

They’re both focused on climbing, where Angels is emphasizing on repeated changes in tempo during climbs and the Hunted strengthens your ability to maintain effort on long climbs.

If you survive that, the latter will kill you with a series of attacks in the final 10 minutes that will leave you groveling…

Because of the 50 hour window, it will be a while before we know the damage this stage will have done. After stage 5 there are 894 dropped riders, from a total of 2.435 (36,7%).

Today’s stage – I struggled through this one knowing that the next 1 hour and 44 minutes long stage tomorrow has pain shakes as a recovery beverage…

Stage 6

A somewhat shorter, but intense stage today: A Very Dark Place (AVDP).

Normally one of my favorites and although I did not quite enjoy it as much today, I’m not complaining.

As it is rather straight forward – 5 blocks of TT effort – there’s also not much else to report.

Interestingly, stage 3 and 4 didn’t do much damage to the field: there are now 842 dropped riders, from a still increasing field of 2.429 – if you assume that new registrants automatically get dropped for not completing the previous stages, the actual number of dropped riders from the initial field has only increased by 80 or so…

Today’s stage – I thought I’d gone blind for a minute, but I guess it just means that I went where I was supposed to go…

Stage 5

The first two-part stage: Extra Shot and the Wretched.

The genius behind starting with Extra Shot – which is intended as an afterburner and has no warm up – is beyond me, but as some so smartly pointed out on Facebook, you can do your own warm up first.

It’s not like the tour isn’t demanding enough as it is…

Anyway, those 20+ minutes fly by quickly and you’re supposed (required) to start with the Wretched immediately after that.

I did, but I don’t see what would stop anyone from not doing so. Or doing the videos in the more natural order, i.e. the Wretched first…

I guess that it either doesn’t matter anymore because no matter which one you do it will hurt, or having done HHNF yesterday actually made the Wretched less awful.

Today’s stage: Extra Shot and the Wretched – “Fuckler” may think he took that stage, but I crossed the line five minutes earlier…

Stage 4

I saddled up for the stage, aptly named “Hell Hath No Fury”, with tired legs. Fuck me, but it seems that the stress is mounting up in mine too, yes.

I have covered a virtual distance of 153+ km in the previous stages, which would be fine if it wouldn’t be at an average of well over 40 kph.

I realize that it would be so much better to do this thing without TR telling me how many Watts to generate.

As it is, TR  looks only at speed. If I cycle a virtual tour with TTS (the Tacx software), I can add a slope to reach the required Watts and just grind it out a lower cadence and/or speed.

TR would tell me that I generate like 50 Watts and it may look like it doesn’t matter either way, but I can assure you, it does.

The only alternative I have is to switch off TR and just ride RPE, as I so cleverly suggested two days ago. I’m not eligible for prizes anyway, so why care? FOR THE FREAKING BADGE?

Yes, for the freaking badge…

The realization that last year I did not buckle before stage 8 worries me, knowing that tomorrow the Wretched / the Long Scream awaits.

I particularly dread / hate the Wretched. On TR, the number of casualties after two stages is a whopping 30% – 742 dropped riders from a total of 2.408.

Today’s stage –  after today, I officially also hate HHNF. The ladies were laughing at me and rode circles around me – it was pathetic.

Stage 3

Today’s stage is the shortest of the whole tour; “Revolver” is only 45 minutes long, but after ISLAGIATT yesterday – possibly ridden with elevated FTP numbers – it’s gonna hurt.

No less than 15 one minute interval sprints, only to be knocked on the head to find out that there’s a bonus interval.

Well, most seasoned riders out there know this of course. Provided you can keep count, you should not be surprised.

These type of workouts are not my thing, as I’m not much of a sprinter. But today’s stage went surprisingly well, albeit that I was hindered by a mechanical.

I could not shift to the smaller ring, which was better than not being able to switch to the big ring, but still.

I gave up trying and fiddling after 9 or 10 intervals…

Today’s stage – expecting my brains to be blown out around sprint 11 or 12, I survived this Russian Roulette stage.

Stage 2

For the suckers that set their FTP to a nice and significantly increased value, the first feelings of regret will surface during this stage.

Fitting title too: “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” (ISLAGIATT) – it’s almost two hours of sustained effort.

Nothing too much over your threshold, but enough to tear you up.

Of course, having done countless sessions of more than two hours so far – not to mention Knighthood – greatly helped me through this stage.

Still, meeting the TR requirements, I had to ride at 40+ kph, covering well over 80 kilometers on this one.

All in all not much fun for me either – I would rather do this RPE based: set the Tacx to a 2-3% incline and just ride at lower speed.

Today’s stage – I buried Bluebell and friends and grabbed the stage. Yes, they will all say that…

Stage 1

Officially starting Saturday, January 25th, I was on my bike Friday the 24th already.

As there’s this confusing “it’s Saturday somewhere in the world” thing, you actually have a 50 hour window per day.

First stage was “Rubber Glove”, the Sufferfest’s FTP test. Not going into the details of that, but it is a test to establish the baseline of your efforts for the rest of the tour.

Most people will see that this means an increase in suffering and I have vented my thoughts about that several times: IT’S A BAD IDEA!

Usually you do a test like that (well rested) and then adapt gradually into the new reality.

Doing 8 days of ToS stages after that is not gradually adapting, it’s suicide.

But I’m not your daddy, so go ahead and knock yourself out. And of course, it’s still everybody’s own choice to follow the recommendation and adjust their FTP.

You do have the option NOT to, or do but be sensible and run the next stages at sub 100% levels, which many do by default anyway.

I did test myself seriously, because I was curious. I knew that my FTP was probably set a little low – long story and not now – and I wanted to challenge myself a bit more anyway.

In the end, I have set my FTP to 333* – TrainerRoad (TR) recommended 420, but that’s beyond insane.

The set value is now at the level it was when I was last tested in a lab, so I’m good with that.

Today’s stage – it’s clear that I’m in the leader jersey, but as that straight jacket is my usual outfit, nobody will notice.

* Obviously, because it’s half of the number of the beast…