Slowtwitchers Take On Sufferlandria

Slowtwitch had a solid contingent of readers who tackled The Sufferfest's Tour of Sufferlandria challenge and when prompted to share their experiences from the virtual tour, 14 riders obliged.

In Part One I recounted my experience of completing 97.5% of the tour. Now in Part Two we outline the experiences of other Slowtwitchers who participated.

KPPOLICH kicked off the 2018 Tour of Sufferlandria forum thread on January 3rd off-the-heels of the tour's route announcement and it didn't take long for others to chime in. TRIDEVILDOG listed out all the stages and included values like Training Peaks' Training Stress Score (TSS) and Intensity Factor (IF) leading to the determination this would be an arduous week in the saddle.

Following the final stage, Sufferfest's infamous Kitchen Sink - a mash up compilation of various videos - I asked for some input from those Slowtwitchers who took part in the challenge. Here is a breakdown of common answers with quote or two:

What was your motivation for doing the ToS?

"Cycling has been my focus this winter so implementing a cycling block made sense to me and my coach. Plus, the community is very positive and engaging. It is easy to keep pushing as you have hundreds of people posting on the Facebook page with messages, videos and photos." - Brandes

* Ramp up cycling volume, maintain enthusiasm to be ready for the upcoming season. - Russ
* Jump start fitness following the holidays. Fun challenge. It's for Parkinson's Disease. - Giorgtd
* See if I could finish - Gmehje
* Seemed like a fun way to kick off my cycling block - Oscaro
* Sounded interesting, fun challenge, great cause. - Lenny07
* Enjoy the community and the Chronic Training Load (CTL) boost. - Johnnybike
* Figured the 9 days of ToS could be a great mental test in addition to being a physical challenge. - Northy
* Mix things up and offset the repetition and boredom. - MSM7182
* Kick my butt while supporting a great cause. - IRONCHEESE
* First year cyclist wanting to take my cycling to a new level and slay a dragon. - JFCHARLAND

Did you do The Sufferfest's 4-Dimensional Power (4DP) test prior to the start?

"Updated 4DP 1 week before ToS, 13-16% increases for the 4 metrics. Next planned 4DP is April 14th as I had planned on testing every 8-10 weeks, may do one sooner as I think ToS definitely boosted fitness more than expected and I think I would see an immediate increase across the board." - Lenny07

* Yes (x8)
* No (x6)

For further clarification on The Sufferfest's 4DP test (which has been hotly debated on the ST Forum) APEX Coaching's Neal Henderson explains his creation in this short video above.

What did your setup include (type of trainer, power meter, etc)?

"Tacx Vortex Smart over FE-C using an ANT+ USB stick in a Win 8.1 laptop. Also recorded data on a Garmin 920XT with power from Vector 3 pedals." GIORGITD

* CycleOps Hammer (x2)
* Kurt Kinetic with virtual power (x2)
* Wahoo KICKR Snap (x2)
* Wattbike (2nd generation)
* CycleOps Fluid 2 with Vector 3 pedals
* Wahoo KICKR with PowerTap P1 pedals
* Wahoo KICKR
* Blackburn Ultra trainer with Power2max
* Elite fluid unit with Quarq Dzero
* "Cheap Performance brand fluid trainer that I paid less than $100 for and a wireless PowerTap hub that gets swapped between all of my bikes. Budget setup." -KBD

Do you feel like a stronger cyclist at the end of the Tour of Sufferlandria then you were at the start?

"Of course immediately after completing the 9th stage I did not feel stronger, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. But I know from experience that I will feel significantly stronger in 5-9 days." - RRUTIS

* "Legs hammered, but feel stronger at the end of ToS. Dropped some weight, a big plus." - Russ
* "Days are well placed so not everyday is a smash session. First three days my legs were very tired but final three days could feel fitness raising." - Brandes
* Too tired to think about it. - GMEHJE
* "Hard to say when I currently am pretty fatigued, but I recon this will help both wattage wise and with the extra mental push when tired." - Oscaro
* "Absolutely. Amazingly, in fact." - Lenny07
* "Absolutely. Good training block." - Johnnybike
* "I feel like I have gained as much mental as physical strength." - Northy
* "My coach didn't want me to do the ToS but I figured this is a hobby and cycling is by far my weakest sport so why not change it up and have some fun with this challenge." MSM7182
* Of course though will need a few days off." - IRONCHEESE
* " I had originally planned to keep running and do the ToS at 80% intensity but went 100% nuclear the whole way. Couldn't believe I could suffer like that." - JFCHARLAND
* "As of this minute, no. But i think this was the toughest training block I've ever done on a bike and I've been riding over 30 years." - TriDevilDog

Do you do a significant portion of your triathlon cycling training utilizing indoor platforms?

* "100% of training since November has been indoors. 90-95% Sufferfest, the rest on Zwift. Will introduce one outdoor ride again once it gets warm but only for bike feel and handling. I much prefer indoor training for focus and safety." - Lenny07
* "Over the winter almost all my bike training is indoors on the trainer with TrainerRoad. During the season I ride once or twice a week, still using Trainer Road, mostly focusing on intervals that would be hard to set up outside." - Northy
* "70% of my annual mileage is indoors. Much safer and it just suits my headspace more." - Johnnybike
* "I would say one-third of my sessions are Sufferfest videos, one-third are from my coach Simon Bennett with Apex and remaining Z2/recovery rides are done on Zwift." - Brandes
* "I tend to do TrainerRoad more than Sufferfest. Trainer workouts form a big part of my training. I've been on TrainerRoad since it began and I like the structure." -Russ
* "I really transitioned to indoor training year round. With the exception of races I was only on the bike outside 10 times in 2017." - GIORGITD
* "I do most of my hard intervals year round on Sufferfest as I find it's easier to push hard compared to being outdoors." -Oscaro
* "I'm almost 100% riding indoors on my KICKR. Started 10 years ago with Sufferfest videos, moved to TrainerRoad, and now onto Zwift." - MSM7182
* "I am Zwifting 4-5 times weekly, much more interesting right now." - IRONCHEESE
* "I do the vast majority of my bike training indoors. It's safer and I get better results with focused indoor training." - KBD
* "Almost all on Sufferfest but some on TrainerRoad and a tiny bit on Zwift." - JFCHARLAND
* "During the winter about half of my training involves Sufferfest, during the outdoor riding season that drops to once every 10-14 days." - RRUTIS
* "Indoor training is pretty much a winter stage of my training although I keep things handy because I will do a trainer ride now and then when schedules make a regular ride inconvenient." - TriDevilDog

The Sufferfest launched the annual Tour of Sufferlandria in 2013 and their fundraising component, including a minimum of $10 per person for an official entry, has raised over $600,000 for the Davis Phinney Foundation to assist those living with Parkinson's Disease.