I flipped over the calendar this morning and – wouldn’t you know it – July smacked me upside the head! Half of the year is already gone – and, admittedly – my blog posts have been few and far between. It’s not that I haven’t been biking. In fact, things have been pretty busy (once the snow melted this Spring). I’ve been getting outdoors as often as I could (but it’s never as much as I want to).
Now that it’s July 2014, there’s a lot to be looking forward to:
- The Tour de France is about to start (which makes me a cross between a rider and a couch potato)
- The U.S. celebrates its Independence
- The U.S. is having some success with FIFA Soccer
- My birthday rolls around towards the end of the month
And – if that’s not enough – the good folks over at The Sufferfest are preparing to release their newest workout – Half is Easy! If you’ve read any of my blog in the past, you know that I just started using The Sufferfest videos last year – and was immediately hooked! The twisted humor and tough workouts combine to create the most enjoyable experience I’ve found on a trainer to date. I’ve reviewed several of them over the past year (and a good bit during last year’s Tour of Sufferlandria).
Since I find these workouts so appealing, I was immediately intrigued to hear that a new video was on its way – and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
It must be my international blogging superstar status, because I was able to secure a top-secret preview copy of Half is Easy before it’s official release date (which is July 11th). Don’t ask me how I did it. I’m sworn to secrecy. Just be happy that you get to hear about it ahead of time to know if it’s worthy of owning. So, here goes:
Half is Easy – like all the Sufferfest videos – is pretty true to it’s name. Half IS easy. Of course, like all the Sufferfest videos, there’s always a sick twist to the name – and you quickly find out what that means shortly after you’ve started (and, once you’re committed to doing it, you’re stuck!). The workout is 45 minutes in length, which is a great time for a good solid workout without taking up your whole evening.
After a warm-up of watching some amazing soccer players (who just happen to be playing entirely on bikes!), you get whisked away into an interval workout. You’ll spend half of the workout going all-out (big ring front, 13 (next to hardest) on back is what I used) at a high cadence (the HARD) and the other half going nice and easy (the EASY). The intervals see-saw the whole way through – and – you’ll soon be looking for how many intervals are left (and counting down – swearing that they’ve forgotten to subtract a few times).
I’m not really sure where they find the video clips for the easy parts. All are kooky in their own way – but they always seem like the perfect videos for the moment. They don’t make sense – but neither are you as you continue through the workout. At one point, the Minions are blamed for making one of the rest periods shorter than possible; and your mind starts playing tricks on you: “Was it really shorter than the other easy periods? and Why would the Minions do that to me anyway?”
Yeah – weird mind tricks!
Intervals are tough to do – and they’re rarely fun (especially on a trainer). The Sufferfest does make them better than other interval workouts I’ve done on a trainer. The consistent back-and-forth between hard and easy keeps you shifting the entire time (as it should be). Unfortunately, because I was shifting (and focusing on the countdown between hard/easy), I missed a lot of the twisted humor that makes the videos so much fun. That’s interval training, though.
If they didn’t have to worry about copyright infringement, they could have replaced the title by using the names of most any of the famous good/evil duos out there:
- Jekyll & Hyde
- Luke & Darth
- Austin & Dr. Evil
- Ernie & Bert
The video quality is – as always – superb. Super clear! The videos used of actual cyclists are officially licensed from UCI – and they have some awesome racing to watch (always better than watching a few people perched on their trainers spinning too). Personally, I like the simulated race videos (My Personal Sufferfest Favorites: The Wretched and ISLAGIATT) better than watching random racers like this one – but the workout is a good one. I was sufficiently stinky and sweaty by the end.
The Sufferfest videos typically have great music. In fact, I’ve purchased some of the songs from earlier videos. This video’s music was not download-worthy for me – but, again, the nature of the video made this a tough sell. The music would change as quickly as the intervals – so – you’d only get to hear 10-15 seconds of a song at a time until it changed to something else. Not enough time to really get the feel for any one song. It is nice that the artists get appropriate mention in the videos.
Finally – as with most all Sufferfest videos – they always throw in a few surprises for you. Some are evil and just downright mean (you’ll have to wait and find out!). Others are nice and sweet (check out the plug for World Bicycle Relief at the end of the workout).
Watch for the release of this new video, Half is Easy, on July 11, 2014. Ride it yourself and let me know your thoughts (or other evil/good pairings that would make an equally good name).