Please note that the Sufferfest is now part of Wahoo SYSTM. Lame as that might be, the bigger problem is that most of the links I inserted are no longer valid. You will (always) land on the SYSTM start page…
As some of you more disturbed individuals already know, Sufferlandria is a fictional state in which only self-chastising – and enjoying every second of it! – cyclists live, or at least: reside.
As a token of their bond, a number of videos have been made, in which the various aspects of cycling training are covered – very often quite literary too, in blood, sweat, tears and other bodily secretions…
These videos are pretty intense for the less hardened. Besides a bad taste in music, they also share typical Sufferlandrian characteristics like self-mockery and a twisted sense of humor to ease the dullness of it all.
Which makes them good for recovery and tapering sessions for minions like myself…
Once a year, the “Tour of Sufferlandria” is scheduled, in which participants ride their trainer for nine days in a row.
As this is not much of a challenge for the seasoned residents of “SUF” either, they have therefor invented the “Knight of Sufferlandria” quest: 10 Sufferfest videos back-to-back, with only 10-minute breaks between them.
As a die hard* cyclist, spending countless hours on the indoor trainer during the winter months, I really couldn’t escape from my personal attempt at this ridiculous “Knight of Sufferlandria” quest.
In December 2013 I successfully completed it and became the first Dutch Knight of Sufferlandria.
Sadly, I have lived in (voluntary) exile since 2014, as I felt that the original ‘intent’, the hardship and the importance of the quest, was being violated.
Without going into the boring details, and being fully aware of the absolute futility of the matter in general, I was offended that the concerns I voiced fell on deaf ears and that – in fact – commercializing the movement was the higher priority.
Nevertheless, the Sufferfest and it’s half-witted population, does a lot of good to support various causes all over the world and – as a Knight and a cyclist – I challenge you to join the movement and perhaps even try to achieve Knighthood yourself.
A Knight’s Quest
As mentioned above, the quest consists of completing 10 Sufferfest videos back-to-back, no more than 10 minutes apart.
As the average duration of a video is about 50 minutes, this comes down to a 10 hour effort at least.
Even more experienced riders will find that at least a bit of a challenge, although it’s my understanding that most of them “dial back” intensity to (less than) 70% of intended RPE.
At any rate, you should not engage in an endeavor like this unprepared. I cannot give you a ‘how to’ guide to train for the Knight of Sufferlandria quest, since every individual is different.
But you will need to accumulate enough training hours and experience to be able to go for it. Even outdoors, 10 hours on a bike is a lot, but if you have done that, it’ll help you plan for the occasion.
However, you should keep in mind that over 10 hours on a static bike is quite another excersise.
You won’t have to mind traffic or endure weather influences, but you’ll be a lot more in a static position on your bike than you would be outdoors.
Obviously, cooling will be a factor you should keep in mind, so you may put up an extra fan – if you position those strategically, you’ll create a ‘vortex’ that will cool you as effectively as possible.
You should also use the (10 minute) breaks to stretch – not only your legs, but definitely also your upper body.
Furthermore, you may need special hydration or (force yourself to) drink more than usual. While pedaling, use breaks between intervals in the workouts to drink a little extra, or eat some of that energy bar, if at all possible.
Also, you should ‘build up’ to the Knight of Sufferlandria event by planning some long sessions the weeks before.
I did a 5.5 hour pre Knighthood training the weekend before my attempt and tapered the days after that.
My “Knight of Sufferlandria” quest was scheduled for – and completed on – December 28, 2013.
And as before, I was raising money for a good cause – that’s not a “must”, but if you do something as insane as this, you might as well ask people to pay for the enjoyment of watching it, let them pay an entry fee as it were…
I chose CliniClowns, which in 2005 was my first experience with this form of “active fundraising”, when I participated in a spinning marathon for 4 hours.
There are countless charities that I could / want to do this for, but the clowns have always kept a warm place in my heart.
CliniClowns is internationally known as “Clown Doctors” or “Clown Care” (Wiki).
The 2005 spinning marathon resulted in 1020 Euros raised and my goal was to raise at least half of that on my own. And I did – thanks to all the generous people who donated!
So to speak: the close encounters with the asphalt which got me into the hospital were actually involuntarily.
More external links:
The Sufferfest on Facebook – and you thought it was all a figment of my imagination, didn’t you?