Monthly Archives: February 2013

Liquefied Legs: The Sufferfest Blender Review

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Earlier this week, I came home to a serious situation. My wife, who is normally bubblier than champagne in a paint shaker, had eyes full of fear and skin the color of pale when I walked in the door. Before I  had a chance to ask her what was wrong, she showed me the cause of her concern.

In her hands, there was a small package, wrapped in dried chamois and adorned with a bow made from French barbwire. Our eyes met, and she whispered but one word:

Sufferfest.

Thanks to my clinical trainer riding addiction, I have received the honor, or punishment, of reviewing the next installment of pain by The Sufferfest, appropriately titled Blender.

For the un-indoctrinated, let me quickly introduce you to that which is Sufferfest. Sufferfest videos are cycling videos with built in workouts that are designed to inflict as much pain as possible on your legs. Many of their previous videos, with names like “Revolver” and Fight Club”, have already achieved infamy status. It is rumored that the movie from the film The Ring was an early version of The Sufferfest.

One of the early Sufferfest video stills.

Early Sufferfest video still.

So how does the latest from the stewards of cycling suffering compare? Let’s just say, the best, or worst depending on how you look at it, is here.

Disclaimer

This review is based on a pre-release copy of Blender. It did not include the recovery section at the end. I did not pay for it.

Video

Thanks to action cameras and the world of high definition, long gone are the days of fuzzy cycling videos. The video segments in Blender look great as always and provide plenty of clarity to the suffering. Never has pain looked so good.

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And the variety has been kicked up a notch. After all, you can’t have a video called Blender without a good mix. Of course, we have the typical heart pounding road racing and time trialing footage. There is also some of the infamous cyclocross footage throw in during the Revolver-esque intervals. (Yeah, you heard me right). But wait, there’s more! On top of that we also get a helpful serving of mountain biking, fat tire snow goodness (not the beer unfortunately), and track work. And yes, of course, the ladies make it in to spice things up.  Blender is quite a yummy mix.

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As The Sufferfest has led to the world wide expansion of riding playlists beyond Bette Midler and Bieber, (what….wait, what do you listen to then?!) we have to discuss the music. Despite being the longest video yet, a fresh set of tunes keeps things going.  Personally, I find that music can be a serious stimulant during exercise, and the selections in Blender were able to keep my energy going better than a can of concentrated Contador sweat.

Finally, there is new bling. The pain interface has been ramped up significantly. Just in case you forget your prescription for intensity, there is a shiny new intensity indicator at the top right of screen. In addition, a handy countdown timer appears regularly to let you know when the suffering can stop briefly.

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Finally, even the comments look better, now that they have been graphically enabled to allow for hilarious conversations among riders.

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 Workout

Okay, I ran a six-mile tempo less than 7 hours before this ride, so I had to dial it down some. There is no accompanying TrainerRoad workout as of yet, but the guys at TR say one should be out very soon. Fortunately, thanks to my 6.7 days of recorded time on TrainerRoad, I am good at knowing what my watts should be based on the intensity scale used in The Sufferfest videos. For my first jaunt with Blender, I dialed it down to what I think would have been a 90% IF. Here is what the damage looked like.

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At 90%, this was a challenging, but not deadly workout. I didn’t feel the pain like I do during Hell Hath No Fury or Revolver, but it wasn’t easy. If you do this at 100%, I would get another bucket and two more towels.  Life insurance is also recommended.

The beauty of the workout is that it encompasses many different types of training. You start of with some good steady intervals right around FTP. There are some painful attacks mingled in, but overall, the first section felt pretty much like a solid time trial. Of course, I am a triathlete, so I would say that about most of my rides.

Just when your legs get used to that though, you open them up with some quick intervals similar to Revolver. One interesting part about this section of the ride is the dichotomy of slow and fast music. It was kind of eerily creepy in a Stanley Kubrick/Stephen King way. I kind of expected to turn around and see a clown or two twin girls standing behind me.

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After that, its steady repeats at FTP for a total of 12 minutes to seal the deal.

Synopsis

The latest video by The Sufferfest continues to deliver the same entertaining challenges we have come to expect. In addition, Blender takes the rider on a longer adventure while also bumping the visuals/interface up a notch. It’s a great new addition to the series. Or in other words, it’s really going to hurt. Drop by The Sufferfest to pick up your copy soon!

TU: Carving

From Z Photo Blog

From Z Photo Blog

After last weeks experiment in zombie life, I am finally back on my feet. That being said, I’ve had some energy problems and it’s been tough getting the engine back up. Here’s this week’s homage to the suffer gods.

Day

Session
Sunday Run: 10 miles. 30 descending intervals starting at 1:00 at 6:40 pace. Increasing recovery between at 8:30 pace from 1:00-1:30. Total pace around 7:59.
Monday Run: Hard tempo. 5k at 21:10.

Swim: Finally back in the pool. Started with a horrible 1000y TT at 17:34. Then 100y repeats and drills by TriSwimPro

Tuesday Run: 30 min tempo: 4 miles in 29:10.

Swim: 1500y of drill in the pool.

Bike: Revolver. Totally sucked.

Wed More swim: Body readapting and loving the drills. 1000y TT at 17:02.
Thursday: Bike: Sills. Felt decent. Better than a Sufferfest session.
Friday: OFF
Saturday Swim: 1000y TT down to 16:34.
Run: 5 miles with 200m repeats between 6:40-6:30 pace. 7:30 pace recovery between with 200m walk/jog between miles.

Sunday

Bike: Emerson. Was a rough morning getting out of bed and getting started. Middle intervals good. Ended with a battle, but good time spent.

Overall, I am pleased with the progress this week. The run is coming along and feeling on form. Bike was tougher than expected. I think even though I finished the Tour at my new FTP of 235 watts (this was literally right before the Tour started) setting the intensity between 90-95% made me not quite work at the right levels. In other words, I am struggling with the new FTP. But I do think I can keep it there.

I am most pleased with the swim. I joined up with TriSwimPro.com and the drills and videos have been earth…or water, shattering. It was also nice to read what others in that community are struggling with.

Similarly, Trisports also got a new Facebook group together that mixes the professional team and the champions together. There is nothing like some fast pro posts to give you a nice Newton lug to the nuts.

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qm

Diet wise, it was a good week as well. I have cut out all sweets until…well, August. Weight is coming back down, now 137. I had the most incredible home made smoothie today. I highly recommend it:

  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 3 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of berries
  • 2 scoops of Recoverite
  • 3 tbsp of yogurt.

Okay, on to more fun posting!

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