Monday, December 15, 2014

Latest Cycling Vid from the 'Fest: Nine Hammers

Any email that comes from David McQuillen and includes the line "Thanks sooooo much for the willingness to Suffer and then tell people about it" is a good one. I always get super excited to review the latest, greatest trainer video from The Sufferfest, and then I get on my bike and wonder what the heck I was thinking. But about an hour later, after I've peeled myself off the floor and consumed about 5000 calories worth of bacon, I'm happy I did that. Here's the scoop:

The Workout

Truth. And now you get nine opportunities to hit yourself with a hammer. Alternatively, you could go to Home Depot, buy a hammer, and put it to use on your quads while lounging on the couch for a similar effect. But I'd recommend getting on the trainer instead. Fewer bruises.

As you can see, you start with a warm up that's just long enough at 6 minutes (and includes some pick-ups to get your legs ready to hammer). I was feeling pretty damn good about myself at this point. Nice fresh legs after two low-volume training weeks. Self esteem high. This seemed like a perfect and very sensical way to kick off my next training cycle!

After sitting pretty through the minute and a half of recovery, you meet the first hammer.: 4:30 of threshold work. This interval (and #s 4 and 7, also threshold) pushes you juuuust enough. RPE hovers around 7-8/10, with some gap-bridging efforts thrown in to temporarily bump you up into the 8-9/10 range. So I'm getting uncomfortable, I'm working hard, but I'm not quite ready to call the medics, and I'm still upright on my rollers. Which is exactly what threshold work should be. It'll be great to re-ride this paired with TrainerRoad and see how well my "threshold" RPE judgements accord with their calculated power-output torture.

After a short recovery, it's time to kick things into VO2 gear. I'm rocketing downhill after this speedy dude (who has some pretty sick descending skills, and now I want to know where I can get a baby blue skinsuit - anyone??). Except I have to pedal, and he doesn't, which doesn't seem fair:

9-10/10 effort here. This is no joke. Cruise another recovery, and you've got another few VO2 @#$-kicking minutes. Recover, threshold. Recover, VO2. You get the idea. Misery, pain shakes, and Sufferlandrian glory awaiting you at the end! Of note, elements-of-style-type form cues are sprinkled throughout to keep you from (totally) falling apart. Much appreciated by this occasionally-sloppy rider. 

Sum: Great workout from Neal Henderson (no surprise there). I'll definitely be incorporating this one into training. It's (to my knowledge) the first Sufferfest video to explicitly target threshold and VO2 efforts. You'll be working your tail off, but you'll still stay within those boundaries - great if you're a cyclist or triathlete training for competition, as you'll be able to appropriately place it within your training cycle/season. If my addled brain did math right, it comes out to 30:30 of hammer-time (and yes, I sang MC Hammer in my head periodically throughout this ride). That's the perfect proportion of quality work within an hour on the trainer. If you've got some extra time, this would be a great one to follow up with Elements of Style - good practice for holding form when pre-fatigued (which you will be. Especially after those last two VO2's.)

The Footage

As always, great production - high quality, on-the-bike footage of some great routes. Ladies may especially appreciate the nice view of the behinds of the Garmin-Sharp riders. A giant donut makes an appearance shortly before the halfway point. Some nice people in automobiles along the side of the road laugh at you. I won't ruin the rest of the fun surprises...

If you haven't done any of the newer Sufferfest videos, they've added a countdown timer and interval progress bar at the top, for those who like to know exactly how much suffering they have left (see upper right corner):

The Details

The video will be on sale here December 18th. In the meantime, additional footage can be found here and hereVideos download directly to whatever device you own, and permanent ownership will cost you the equivalent of about 2 coffee shop trips. So no excuses. Enjoy!


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