12 hours of Sufferfest videos; a public announcement of craziness

Sums up what Sufferfest is about I think.....

Sums up what Sufferfest is about I think…..

On Sat 25th January we witnessed something special in Athlete Lab as Jarno Lämsä and Antti Ruuska finished 10 Sufferfest videos in a row (12 hours in length all together); rightfully earning them the titles of Sufferlandrians. Bravo.

[Of course when all the excitement ended, we asked ‘So how many in the entire catalogue?’, they replied ’16 I think’…….anyone want to take on 16?]

12 hours on the bike is a long time for any rider but I wanted to use this post to emphasis the difference in doing this challenge on a spin bike, or even in the fresh air & working through Sufferfest’s collection of titles.

You should have seen the numbers pulled out by these guys even in the final hours!

You should have seen the numbers pulled out by these guys even in the final hours!

Incorporating real-life footage is nothing new these days but as I can testify these videos go that step further, with a more structured and focused workout regimen, which is basically a way of saying no escape. The degrading/motivational cues in tandem with footage of real race breaks – screams of ‘You are not going to let them get away with that?!? Are you a Sufferlandrian?? which some psychology study in a few years will prove scientific presses your ‘buttons’ – really does make you push harder. Its safe to say they did a pretty good at making you feel like you are in the peloton.

And by the way this isn’t some branded memo promoting Sufferfest; more of a note to self to invest in a collection of videos for the Deca Ironman when I can face the bike again…..shudder……

There is a growing interest in indoor cycling circles on the Sufferfest videos mainly due to complaints on how hard the workouts are (this only helps), entertaining race footage & training commentary (you might even catch yourself giving a faint smile in the dungeon) a driving soundtrack that won’t put you to sleep and getting more out of a workout than the last week at 6am spin classes.

You may even be familiar with some of the reviews scattered around the inter-web – this quote from Johnstonefitness pretty much summed up the theme of them:

‘The twisted minds at The Sufferfest have just unleashed their latest diabolical creation ‘The Wretched’. This morning’s blog was supposed to be a review of The Wretched, but it reads more like a warning.’

So whilst they are an engaging and entertaining set of indoor training videos – probably the best of the market – beware the following video was Sufferfest’s public reply to the age of question ‘Are your videos any good?’ (I can’t see it doing any harm!)

Even classic music didn't stop the burning....

Even classic music didn’t stop the burning….

Each video gives you a summary of how the actual workout looks; for example in a very dark place this is as follows:

5:00 warm-up

2×30 sprints

1:00 rest

5×4:00 maximum intervals

3:00 rest between intervals

4:00 warm-down

But to be honest the numbers, figures become a long lost memory very quickly (or when you are dripping in sweat 30minutes later you are desperately trying to remember when it will all end) what does get burnt into your recall is the ‘Sufferscale’ of 1-10 perceived exertion; definition for 4 being ‘Pass the sunblock please’, 9 being ‘why wont this f**king end’ [that’s not an actual quote], 10 being ‘I give up just put me out of my misery’.

A sample of how the Sufferfest videos go about inflicting this pain, agony and misery can be seen here:

So this entertaining fitness challenge is generally scripted along the tone of:

‘When your shoulders drop……….When you whimper………When you plead for them to slow…………When you beg for mercy……Well…….you ain’t gonna get it’

Most videos at Sufferfest are an hour long, but not all ‘Hell hath no fury’ was a leg breaking 1:20mins, with 2x20mins full-on race pace intervals. This sneak preview of the ‘Blender’ shows a 1hr 40min, with an end segment of 3×4:00 TT sections…..just in case you had anything left in the tank.

For our Finnish 12hour duo, none of their workouts could be classified as ‘moderate’ or ‘temp’, and I can assure you that there was no level of boredom as these videos require total focus – mainly so you know when your legs are going to be knifed again.  For April Fools Day I would recommend other members of the Lab making sounds of an engine revving (thats the bit where you speed up in the videos) that will cause a bit of fear down their spines!

The Menu

The Menu

So the duo took on a catalog of Sufferfest videos from 6am right through to 6pm; not even a lay in before the torture chamber. Unfortunately circumstances didn’t permit me to arrive until the ‘Fight Club’ session but from the look of their faces there has been much grunting determination in the 8 previous hours.  However no doubt much to the annoyance of the crew at Sufferfest I may even had seen a flicker of a smile & hope.

Like carrots in front of donkeys

Like carrots in front of donkeys

Even after 8 hours the lads were head down & pumping out maximum effort every time the screen shouted ‘Attack!’, and much out of embarrassment I had to put my workout to maximum FTP effort for 4 hours just to feel welcome in any group photos! It was by no means a pleasant experience but with the help of cans & cans of 100plus & some home baked biscuits, my first viewing of the Sufferfest torturefest extracted huge training benefits – I crawled into the lab tonight and was shocked by the relative ease of my previous workout level.

With the promise of beer urging us on there was a deep silence as we hit the last workout with all the riders no doubt experiencing a bit of tunnel vision. Even the cries of encouragement from the Finnish fan club was met with empty stares – you know when you are so tired you just see the mouths moving! For all the ultra endurance challenges out there this was certainly high up the mark – as the googlers will find out from the blog’s tags – ‘misery’, ‘agony’

Finally though it ended. Congratulations to two epic riders who just set out to prove they could do it. Oh and the Sufferfest response to the feat:

Suitable response from the folks at Sufferfest

Suitable response from the folks at Sufferfest

And that 16 hour challenge….well maybe there is a warm up for the Deca Ironman……………..