Doing More With Less Since 1972

Tag: tour of sufferlandria

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 9 Report

Stage 9 – Violator

  • Duration: 1:08:31
  • Power: 303 watts
  • Average Cadence: 80
  • TSS: 89.4
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  1:47 pm on Sunday, February 2

Ugh…I purposefully never did this ride before today because I wanted it to be a surprise to me. And because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.

Violator starts off with the typical warm up. Then you do some sprints, followed by a few sprints, then ending up with a nice little set of sprints.

Violated–64 sprints in all.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_9_violator

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. Granted, I didn’t get to watch the video because when I went to download it my link was expired. Luckily, the fine folks at Trainerroad still let you pull up the profile and do the ride, you just don’t get to see the cool cycling footage and read the sadistic jokes.

I watched a documentary about Bo Jackson instead. It’s all good. I’ve contacted The Sufferfest, and they’ve already gotten back to me with a link for the download. And I’m probably happier not having seen the video and knowing I’d missed all the cadence queues. Again.

So this ride was probably easier than it should have been, but my legs are scattered, covered, smothered, topped, chunked, diced, broiled, charred, and toasted.

And I did it all for this:

tos_badge

A little badge on my Trainerroad profile that says, “I really WILL beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow.”

This Tour was a lot of fun. I think they did a great job keeping the pressure on everyone, and these rides weren’t just suggestions–do them or get dropped!

Also, it’s great that they raised so much money (over $57k at posting) for the Davis Phinney foundation for Parkinsons.

One of my former rugby teammates has Parkinsons, and it’s something I’ve talked about before. It’s especially viscous to see the disease attack people like Pat and Davis Phinney–people who are active and healthy. This is the part where I ask you to click on the link for the Davis Phinney foundation and make a donation.

Can’t wait to do this ride next year!!!

Previous Stage Reports:

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 8 Report

Stage 8 – Blender

  • Duration: 1:44:26
  • Power: 314 watts
  • Average Cadence: 84
  • TSS: 140.5
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  2:19 pm on Saturday, February 1

Confession – I totally ignored the cadence queues on this ride. Before you write me off as a cheater, let me explain…

You don’t show up to play a round of golf and monkey around with your swing on the course. You do that on the driving range. In practice.

This being a Tour (race), it isn’t the time for me to go off and try to do something I’m not good at, especially when my main objective for the day is just to keep up and not get dropped. This video calls for long periods of high-cadence work.

But it doesn’t make sense to do that on race day when you can pull the same power at a lower cadence and keep the heart rate under control…right?

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_8_blender

The upside is that my first attempt at Blender and several days doing the Tour of Sufferlandria have shown me I’m weak at long periods with high cadence. It’s something I’m going to work on (that means doing this ride A LOT) in the future. I’m well aware that riding at a high cadence evens my power distribution out through the pedal stroke, and that’s something I want.

But I’ve also heard some really knowledgeable triathletes talk about the fact that everyone has a natural cadence, and it’s better to work off strengths than weaknesses. I think that’s somewhere in the mid-80s for me–data analysis coming to verify that.

Strangely, I get the same results running. As long as I stay in the mid 80s, I’m good. But my HR blows up when I try to run 90 rpm–that magic number everyone is supposed to hit.

I’m beginning to think recommended cadences are a lot like BMI.

One more day!

Previous Stage Reports

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 7 Report

Stage 7 – Angels

  • Duration: 1:04:43
  • Power: 382 watts
  • Average Cadence: 82
  • TSS: 99
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  11:15 am on Friday, January 31

And… The Hunted

  • Duration: 1:01:30
  • Power: 366 watts
  • Average Cadence: 84
  • TSS: 99
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  9:33 pm on Friday, January 31

This is the stage I’ve been dreading since sometime around mid-November. Angels is just a really freaking hard ride for me. I have a hard time recovering once my HR gets up into the 160s, and this ride puts me there a lot.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_7_angels_profile

Nothing different this time around–begging for mercy about halfway through the second climb. Still, I made it to the end with my breakfast intact.

Again, no records set, but I’m ok with that.

I’m learning a lot about my strengths and weaknesses riding ToS. Maybe “learning” isn’t the right word…”confirming” is probably better. Long steady efforts at a moderate cadence are like candy to me, but sprints or repetitive high-cadence efforts shred me, even if they are at low power are really tough. I’ve noticed that the recoveries at the end of the rides tend to see me riding at about 84 rpm to get my heart rate down.

I’ve also figured out that I need to hold off on taking in water during the recovery periods until my heart rate is back under control. Taking a drink makes my heart rate go up, and I can manage to take in liquid during a work period. Rest is the only time I have to recover my HR though, so I’m holding off on drinking until I’m under 140 bpm.

Anyway, that all went out the door once I started up riding The Hunted. I was completely in survival mode for most of this ride, just doing what I could to stay on the line. Successful, but even the warm down didn’t help me recover. My HR was 152 at the end of the ride, and it left me feeling pretty worried about how I’d get through Stage 8.

Blender is the only ride I’ve ever done on Trainerroad that I couldn’t complete. Fingers crossed for this ride…and the 64 sprint finish that is Violator.

Previous Stage Reports

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 6 Report

Stage 6 – A Very Dark Place

  • Duration: 0:50:49
  • Power: 341 watts
  • Average Cadence: 86
  • TSS: 84.0
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  5:15 pm on Wednesday, January 29 (Because it’s Thursday somewhere)

If there are any ho-hum days on the Tour, this is definitely the last of them. A Very Dark Place is a relatively short stage with a pretty good mix of riding on the flats and climbing. Lots of cadence changes, which is a challenge for me mostly because my bike really needs a tuneup to make shifting smoother.

tour_of_sufferlandria_2014_stage_6_a_very_dark_place

If it didn’t require so much energy, I’d be tempted to give myself a little pat on the back at this point of the Tour. I’ve set one personal best for power output (20 minutes) during the Tour, and that was just by a few watts on the very first day. I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve held back, ridden the line, and not emptied the tank at the end of rides where I feel good.

The last time I rode A Very Dark Place, I set 7 personal bests–from 5 seconds all the way up to 5 minutes–and I was pouring the coals to her on the last interval, riding way above the line.

But I didn’t have Angels and The Hunted pointed at me the very next day the last time either. Stage 7 is the one I’ve been dreading since I first saw the schedule. These two rides aren’t horrible when ridden separately (although Angels puts my HR well into the 170s), but riding them back to back is going to be a real challenge.

Decision time: ride it today and take tomorrow off before Blender (the only ride that’s ever dropped me), or take today off and do two hour stages on consecutive days?

Going to have to think on it.

Previous Stage Reports

Tour of Sufferlandria 2014 – Stage 4 Report

Stage 4 – Hell Hath No Fury

  • Duration: 1:11:59
  • Power: 347 watts
  • Average Cadence: 88
  • TSS: 109.0
  • Ride %: 100
  • Start line:  12:15 pm on Monday, January 27 (Because it’s Tuesday somewhere)

The prospect of racing against a a group of really fast women, which is the story of this video, doesn’t usually sound very enticing. What do I have to gain? I either get beat by them (likely) or I win (less likely) but walk away feeling like I should have won in either case. I have to say, this ride wasn’t as tough as I was expecting it to be, especially after the past three days of the tour. I actually think it was the easiest stage so far.

Granted, it’s totally set up for a guy like me to succeed–long (20 minute) work periods with long (up to 6 minutes!) recovery time in between the big ones.

I ended up riding at the exact same power as in stage 3, but for a longer period. Cadence almost exactly the same as well. Yet this was soooo much easier for me.

I like to gauge the toughness of a workout by the number and type of sounds that come out of the mouth-end of my body during them. The really tough ones involve sounds that resemble the noise you’d make if you had a piano on your back, just a few seconds before you completely give in and the piano crushes you.

The toughest workouts involve the sound that a rugby hooker makes when the tight-head prop has located the back of his head on the hooker’s sternum, and the opposing hooker  is using his shoulder to bury the guy’s chin down and bend him in half. It’s sort of a squeaking sound.

It means you’re cracked when you hear it on a bike.

Well…it means your cracked in both cases–cycling and rugby.

I only made one sound during the toughest part of this ride, but it was a “Whoooo!” sound, Ric Flair style. The ladies featured in this video went for a ride on Space Mountain, and I was stylin’ and profilin’ the whole way up.

hell_hath_no_fury_like_ric_flairIt’s ok ladies…this ride was made for me, so I’m bound to give you another shot at it. You may just have to wait a while. You see, Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park, but it’s still go the longest line.

So I’m four days into the tour, and I’m a day ahead of schedule. Stage 5 is looking to be pretty tough, with a little bit of a pull back on Stage 6. I’m still thinking Stages 7 and 8 are the true tests, and they are back to back.

Looking at the official stats on Trainerroad this morning, it looks like 30% of the field was dropped after the first two stages. I think most of the people in the peloton right now have already proven themselves and will be able to hang on until Stage 7.

I’m guessing we’ll get to Stage 7 with more than 50% of the registered riders still in the game. But I think those two days are really going to break some people down. Just hope I’m not one of the ones that gets broken.

Previous stage reports:

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