It was close. I admit it. I didn’t walk in the door until close to 6:30 tonight – and still had to put some food into my belly. Until it digested, I got dressed, etc. (calculating in head…..carry the one….) – hmmmm…. not sure if I can get today’s stage done.
But I committed to doing the Tour of Sufferlandria – and I must push through!
So, I jumped on the bike and put A Very Dark Place up on the big screen. I was hoping that the AppleTV wouldn’t go out tonight, because I was having issues getting the movies onto one of my mobile devices. If I lost connection tonight, I’d be sunk (OK – maybe I was secretly hoping it would go out tonight to give me an excuse). It didn’t lose connection – and I’m glad!
Today’s workout was not the hardest I’ve done of the series – but it was still a lot of fun. It’s focus is speed (meaning high cadence sprinting). I’m not built to be a sprinter. Of course, I’m not built for climbing either (though I like to do it in virtual riding). I’m built more for going downhill (gravity is not this big-bellied cyclist’s friend).
If you’ve read some of my other reviews on The Sufferfest videos, I mention that I use the perceived effort scale as a way to gauge which gear ratio to ride. For 10/10, I typically have the gear ratio at Big Cog front/12 on the back (as hard of a combo as possible). For every tick down on the effort scale, the rear cog goes down one gear.
On speed/sprinting workouts, I always have to choose between a harder gear ratio or higher cadence. I’m not at the point where I can do both – so (full disclosure) I typically go with the gear ratio. That means I’m not getting the 100 RPM cadence on much of the 8/10 effort scales. Maybe that’s why this workout was easier for me, but – gosh darn it – that’s the choice I made. It’s a tough workout anyway!
This particular workout has you doing 5 sets, 4 minutes long at a hard pace. The nice thing about each set is that it’s a little bit different each time. The first set has you going at a pretty steady high perceived effort for a long time – as you simulate being out in front of the rest of the peloton all by yourself. You watch the sole rider climbing a rain-slicked road – and I would bet that 99.99% of the people doing this workout yell “WHOA!” at the screen when that rider almost wipes out (heck – even the words on the scream yell it!)!
The second voyage into darkness puts you in a breakaway group. It’s a lot of pace line work – and you get to do your turn pulling. Your “pull time” happens more often than some of the other workouts – but that time is shorter. The consistent change in the pace line makes this 4 minutes go by quickly.
I think the third set is my favorite. It’s essentially 4 minutes of stand-and-sit climbing. Even better yet – you are racing alongside the Schleck brothers. It’s a really neat section and has you sprinting to the top while standing. I love it!! (I only wish I loved climbing real mountains on a bike……maybe this Spring after these workouts….)
On the fourth set, you find yourself racing Fabian Cancellara along the cobbles and other roads. It’s a fast sprinting section – and the time flies by about as fast as you are pedaling. I don’t remember much more than seeing the dirt flying off the cobbles – making me think that it doesn’t even pay to be in the front of the pack, because you still get the dirt in your face from the camera-laden motorcycles.
The final set is pure climbing! And there’s a lot of standing in this section. What do you know? Here comes Cadel Evans climbing like the mountain goat he is. He’s probably getting back at me for dropping him in The Wretched (and tweeting about how I felt kinda bad for dropping him). It’s another great section that I find is one of my favorites.
The cooldown starts – and I keep waiting for Von Agony to throw in one of his famous surprises. Does it happen? You’ll have to find out for yourself!