Tour of Sufferlandria 2016

Hello everyone,

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 2.08.53 PMAnother year is upon us and another Tour of Sufferlandria (ToS) is about to begin.  I’ve had the privilege to ride this virtual tour of pain and misery for two years now.  I participated in my first two using the TrainerRoad (TR) application online.  I just hooked up my Wahoo KICKR and away I went into dreadful suffering.  It is a wake up call for mandatory Functional Threshold Power (FTP) lowering when you use TR.  God forbid you do this tour with your peak FTP at the end of summer.  The suffering would be unbearable right from the beginning.  I use this tour to gauge how much fitness I’ve lost over the winter and to recharge my anaerobic and aerobic systems for the upcoming spring races/rides.  This year the ToS is not being offered as a formal or exclusive TR challenge.  (There goes one of my virtual carrots on my TR career page)  We do lose a few things with TR not leading the way but I can understand the decision with Sufferfest’s new rollout of an App that gives you access to all of their videos.  

Before we get too far let’s talk about me and things I can win!  If anyone wants to donate on my behalf to the Taylor Phinney Foundation, just click and donate 10 dollars.  Every 10 dollars gives me a chance to win a water bottle, t-shirt, or any various forms of cycling prizes.  The foundation does great work for people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.  Now let’s talk about the tour itself.

ToS is a 9 day challenge to suffer as much as you can within a short period of time.  Some days have multiple videos you must do back to back and other days are a long slog with videos that continually pound your legs relentlessly.  The ToS will run from the 6th to the 14th of February.  Each day is outlined below with my comments.

The video of the ToS announcement can be found here.  ToS Announcement!  Why is there a Halo of light around David McQuillen’s head?  Is he the angel of death!?

Stage 1, Sat, 6 Feb: ISLAGIATT
Duration: 1hr 50mins

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4 hill climbs with a sprint at the end.  An endurance workout but with lots of climbing.  This stage will make you feel good while chipping away at your legs for day two, because day two is insanity.

Stage 2, Sun, 7 Feb: Revolver + Revolver
Duration: 1hr 40mins

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Revolver has a special place in my heart;  mostly because it tries to make my heart explode.  If you do it on TrainerRoad, it is 16 intervals at 136% of FTP for one minute with only one minute of rest.  The fact that we are doing this twice is insanity.  There is no way I can do this twice at 100% FTP.  This stage has the potential to crush you for the rest of the tour. I can only do this workout once a week let alone back to back.  Just pure insanity!

Stage 3: Mon, 8 Feb: The Best Thing in the World
Duration: 48mins

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Of course we are going to follow up the stage that implodes my heart with a race stage.  Why not?!  Again, if I can do this at 100% FTP I’ll be amazed.  Revolver times two is crazy right?!  At least this is a new video and I can be excited during the cool intro.  Otherwise, it’s going to hurt bad for the rest of the video.

Stage 4: Tue, 9 Feb: To Get to the Other Side
Duration: 1hr 30mins

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Thank god I can just do some tempo work on day 4.  I’ll be drinking lots of Sufferlandria goat milk to help buffer the lactic acid buildup that is still hanging around from doing revolver twice.  Did I mention we are doing revolver twice?

Stage 5: Wed, 10 Feb: The Wretched
Duration: 48mins

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And back to racing!  This one is sprinting, climbing, attacking and let’s not forget the punishment at the end.  At least we don’t have to do it twice.

Stage 6: Thu, 11 Feb: The Rookie
Duration: 1hr

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The rookie it is!  I loved this video when it came out.  I believe it was the first time we got to see and hear some real race footage from the racer’s bicycles.  I hope I still have the energy left to do all those jobs I get assigned.  Especially the last part, where I have to sprint in for the win. Well, it could be worse.  It could be 32 intervals at 136% of FTP!

Stage 7: Fri, 12 Feb: Do As You’re Told
Duration: 47mins

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I don’t know what I’ll be able to do on this stage besides telling Grunter to do you know what with his pain suckers he has in the car!  “Do as you’re told”, more like “where am I, why am I doing this, doesn’t couchlandria miss me?”

Stage 8: Sat, 13 Feb: A Very Dark Place + Nine Hammers
Duration: 2hrs

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A Very Dark Place… at this point in the tour it should be called, “I can’t see anymore because I’m in oxygen deprivation and my body decided seeing wasn’t as important as feeding the legs oxygen!” (ICSABIIODAMBDSWAIAFTLO for short)
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Okay, another back to back torture fest.  This one is called nine hammers because you might rather have your kids hammering nails into your legs than do this at 100% FTP.  At least, that’s what I’m going to be thinking when I start this stage.  At least it isn’t Revolver times 2!  I mean, who thinks of doing something like that on this tour?  Seriously THIRTY TWO INTERVALS!

Stage 9: Sun, 14 Feb: Power Station* + Violator
Duration: 2hrs

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I have no idea what this is.  Maybe we power a small village in Sufferlandria with whatever watts we have left.  I feel sorry for those kids because my watts will be lacking!
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64 Sprints, because when I want to be violated 63 won’t do.  Of course, this is the last workout in the stage.  I’m sure power station will sap my legs of watts and then I will be begging for whatever sufferlandrian deity exists to give me the strength to hold on.  Or, they just want to casually remind you how bad it was when you did Revolver twice.

Now, how can you do the ToS?  Well, in my opinion, this is why the ToS is a little different this year.  Buying 12 videos to do this tour is asking a lot.  Unless your a fan like me and you’ve been collecting them like trading cards over the last three years.  However, downloading and subscribing to the sufferfest app is very doable.  The app gives you access to 20 videos for 10 dollars a month.  It would take you nearly 18 months to break even if you bought all of the videos from the sufferfest.  This is where I understand the break between TR doing the ToS and Sufferfest exclusively doing it themselves.  The folks at sufferfest have a viable app that gives people access to all of their videos at a reasonable price.  It makes good business sense on their behalf.  I will miss the graphics and day to day statistics that TR puts up on their page hosting the ToS, but I do understand the move from a strictly business perspective.  There are people who ride indoors and can only find the motivation with the sufferfest videos.  This segment of people are not sadists like me and pound away at structured training plans day after day.

I’m excited to see all of these technological options pop up.  However, being a person who has been riding with these options over the past three years, some of the costs are starting to add up.  Starva membership, TR membership, Zwift membership, TrainingPeaks Membership, and now a Sufferfest app and membership.  This year I have to make a decision on which platform I will be using exclusively, because the costs start to catch up with you, especially when you are on a limited budget as a stay at home dad with three girls.  The jury is still out on what I will decide.

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See that first massive spike with the pink dotted line.  That’s the end of ToS with an ATL of 115, CTL of 71.6, and TSB at -44.  I know what a -44 feels like, at its going to freaking hurt!

Join me for the tour this year or just make a donation in my name.  I’m looking forward to the suffering coming up and plan to blog it day by day.  That is, if I have the energy to type after doing REVOLVER TWO FREAKIN TIMES IN A ROW!  David, I shall call you David “The Devious” McQuillen.  Of course, I’ll be saying to myself during this tour “Embrace the Suck Buttercup!”

Aaron Johnson

Aaron Johnson

Aaron served in the military for 20 years. Multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired from the military after 20 years of service to take care of our three small children in 2013 as a Stay At Home Dad.

athletictechreview has 60 posts and counting.See all posts by athletictechreview

0 thoughts on “Tour of Sufferlandria 2016

  • February 4, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    how will you ride the ToS this year? I used TR last year and had a great time. I’ve been using zwift (esp the workout plans) linked to strava and have really enjoyed it. I’m not sure whether using the SF app will allow you to link to strava (it says “it’s coming…”). I also don’t have an ANT+ adapter for my iPad (usually use it from my computer), so I would have to purchase one…what would you recommend?

    • February 4, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Jon, thanks for commenting. I will be starting my Tour using the TR app just for pure reliability. However, the folks at Sufferfest are offering that 7 day free trail of their app. I will use their app at some point in the tour just to try it out and provide a review. I know David McQuillen just published an update that the Sufferfest app would now be linked to Strava. Every new launch of software is going to have some glitches in it. The first year after TR’s launch was difficult at times but they have a great program out now. I will choose to use the sufferfest app on something I won’t be worried about losing, like TGTTOS. I will not use the sufferfest app for Revolver because I may roll up in a ball and cry if it drops any of my Revolver workouts. My suggestion is to use what you know works and try out the new stuff on the things you don’t mind losing if there is a problem.

      On your last question, it’s tough to answer. My equipment is all bluetooth (Wahoo) and works with my iPad 2. Two great companies to get iPhone or iPad Ant + connectors are Wahoo and Garmin. You just need to make sure you have the right connector that works with the device (Lightning or 30 pin connector).


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