Fitness Archives

Extra Shot – The Long Scream

The SufferfestI’ve updated my ERG File Spreadsheet to include the newest video from The Sufferfest, Extra Shot: The Long Scream. The video is a 30 minute time trial effort that is designed to be added to one of the other videos, as if they aren’t tough enough one at a time.

This is a good time to talk about the challenge of taking something completely subjective, like perceived exertion and matching it up with something completely objective, like watts.  The 2 latest Extra Shot videos have pointed out that if you aren’t careful about how you set the limits of your power in the spreadsheet, you’ll be left with a workout that is next to impossible to complete.

Since RPE is dynamic, it’s completely acceptable to have long stretches of a workout at 8, 9 or even 10 out of 10, as long as you realize that what constitutes a 9 at the beginning of a workout may not be anywhere close to what constitutes a 9 at the end of the workout.  But, with ERG files that assign an absolute value to each RPE level, a 9 is a 9, not matter how tired you are.

If you set the spreadsheet up so that your FTP falls at say 7/10 then, by definition, you should be able to sustain that for an hour or so.  But, if the RPEs for that time are in the 8,9 and 10 range, you will either not be able to complete the workout or you are starting with an incorrect FTP value.

If you look at the RPE numbers for the latest video, almost all of the 30 minute effort is between 7 and 8.5.  Keep that in mind when you plug in your power numbers to generate the ERG files.  Pick a maximum power percentage that puts your FTP in the correct range to allow you to ride at the 7-8.5 level for 30 minutes.

R-12 or Not R-12

Randonneuring USAThe R-12 is an award given by Randonneuring USA and is earned by riding at least one randonneuring event of 200k or longer in each of 12 consecutive months. Unlike the UMCA Year-Rounder I tackled in 2010, the R-12 doesn’t allow rolling out of your driveway on a route of your own choosing. Each ride has to be an official RUSA or ACP event, brevet or permanent, which means you have to do a lot more planning. The R-12 isn’t based on a calendar year, so any 12 consecutive months meet the requirements.

I’ve had a number of friends complete an R-12 over the last few years.  I know the distance isn’t a problem for me and it shouldn’t be that tough to complete. But, I still have not been willing to make the commitment and say, publicly, that I’m working on one.

Read the rest of this entry

Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer – Version 3

The Sufferfest Version 3 of the Sufferfest/CompuTrainer ERG File Spreadsheet is now available for download.  Version 3 adds an ERG file for the latest Sufferfest video, Extra Shot.

In addition, I’ve had a few requests to start the ERG file at the very beginning of the video, instead of when the video title first appears on the screen.  I set up the original spreadsheet with the start-up delay in order to give me time to start the video , get everything arranged, realize that I can’t reach my towel, etc.  But, I want everyone to be happy, so I added a start time field to the tab for each video.  The default will be the current time delay, but you can now specify the elapsed video time when you want to start the ERG file.  If you want to start as soon as the video starts, enter a zero in the green box.

Thanks to fellow Sufferlandrian Graham Dunn for suggesting a simpler calculation of the workout time.

You can read the original blog post about the thought behind this spreadsheet here.

Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer – Version 2

The SufferfestThe 2nd version of the Sufferfest ERG Spreadsheet is now available for download.  The download link in the original blog post (Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer) has been updated and points to the new file as well.

Version 2 adds data for the newest Sufferfest video, Hell Hath No Fury.  This 1:15 workout uses footage from the UCI Pro Women’s World Cup races.  The workout, as described on The Sufferfest website:

Onto the trainer and into another world! You are a Sufferlandrian. And you’re racing for the Sufferlandrian National Team in the Tour of Sufferlandria. You’re expected to take the leader’s jersey (and a very special jersey it is) over the race, the stages of which are:

  • 3:30 Warm-up
  • 5:30 Stage 1: Easy, flat terrain at effort level of 6/10 with a few accelerations
  • 20:00 Stage 2: Rolling terrain with a series of attacks as the pack tries to take the lead from you
  • 6:00 Recovery
  • 20:00 Stage 3: More rolling, attacking racing in which you try to break away to get the lead back
  • 4:00 Recovery
  • 3:30 Stage 4: Team Time Trial in which you have to crush yourself in order to take the lead, and the Tour of Sufferlandria victory
  • 6:00 Recovery, featuring Mental Training Reflection from Athlete’s Audio

I’ve also added the support for the MultiRider format (MRC).  On the tab for each video there is a yellow box containing the text for an ERG file and a blue box with the MRC data.  Pick your poison.  I don’t have a copy of the MultiRider software, so I’d appreciate any feedback on the files from anyone who tries the MRC version.

PezCycling News Article

Matt McNamara, USA Cycling Level 1 coach and president of Sterling Sports Group, recently wrote an article for titled Sufferfest Videos: From The Power Perspective

Mr. McNamara was kind enough to include a link to my Sufferfest ERG Spreadsheet but his review goes much deeper into how well the videos work as part of a power-based training plan, focusing on the training stress score (TSS), intensity factor (IF) and interval composition.  Check out his review and see how the Sufferfest stacked up.


Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer

The Sufferfest(The Sufferfest ERG Spreadsheet has been updated a couple of times since the original version. The last couple of videos point out how critical it is to consider your personal power capabilities and the workout profile of each video when you set your power numbers in the spreadsheet)

As much as I hope to continue riding outside during the winter, the reality of winter in Ohio means I need a plan B. Last year I spent my trainer time putting myself through the pain of Sufferfest video workouts and spent more time on my trainer than I usually would. This year I’ve moved my indoor riding to a CompuTrainer and I have a pretty solid, power-based, workout plan to follow but I still want to include Sufferfest videos when they fit in the plan.

The Sufferfest workouts are interesting, challenging, motivational and, occasionally, fun. But, they suffer from the same problem as all “perceived exertion” based workouts. That is, they rely on me to determine if I’m working hard enough. I have great intentions when I talk about the workout and even when I climb on the bike, but when the screens says to go at level 9/10, am I really giving it 90% of my absolute best effort? So, with that in mind, I set out to combine the gut check of the Sufferfest video with the technology of the CompuTrainer.

The rest of this post has some of the details behind this project but, if you really don’t care how all of this works, just download the ERG Spreadsheet, read the short instructions in the file and get on your bike. Read the rest of this entry

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