bike training

2015 Tour of Sufferlandria Race Report

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What a way to get back on my bike! I had only ridden a bike twice since Ironman Arizona in November but I wouldn’t dare think of missing the Tour of Sufferlandria. How could you possibly miss a virtual staged bike tour though a mythical country that takes pride in making you suffer? I know huh? Sounds amazing!

Honestly, this is a pretty amazing experience. Through the use of the Sufferfest videos and the amazing application TrainerRoad we rode with over 2700 others all over the world and raised over $100K for the Davis Phinney Foundation without ever leaving our homes!

The tour lasted over 9 days and you essentially had 50 hours to complete each stage. If you didn’t complete the stage during the window it was open you were dropped. Everyday we would log on to see how many people didn’t make it on. For us, the best part was there was no question we would finish the Tour which actually made it easier to get on the bike day after day; quitting wasn’t an option! The crazy part for Stuart and I was we had to fit a 50k trail run in the middle of the  Tour! Luckily, due to the 50 hour window to complete each stage, we started the tour as soon as we could which allowed us to fit in the race. You can get an idea of the effort from the picture below.Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 9.33.18 AMAs you can see the last two days were a doozy!

If you haven’t looked into The Sufferfest or TrainerRoad and you use an indoor bike trainer YOU ARE TOTALLY MISSING OUT! This is truly the best way to make good use of your time on a trainer for very little money.

Bike Progress – FTP Testing with TrainerRoad – GIVE AWAY!!!


Back in January I started using TrainerRoad for all my cycling training workouts.  If you are unfamiliar with TrainerRoad you should click here to visit their website and here to read Stuart’s post about how to set it up. It is a great service and if you do any indoor cycling training it is totally worth it! In Janury before I did the Tour of Sufferlandria I did an FTP test using Trainer Road and The Sufferfest video, Rubber Glove.  Your FTP is your Functional Threshold Power/Performance, the maximum sustained effort you can maintain for over an hour (click here for some great info from The Sufferfest on FTP and using Rubber Glove). The more fit you are the higher the number is.  TrainerRoad uses my Garmin data to give me virtual power.  If you have a power meter you would use that (I don’t have one yet but I am thing that it might be REALLY nice to get one for Ironman Arizona). Anyway, I needed to test my FTP because my rides on TrainerRoad have been feeling a little easy lately and it has been about 6 weeks since I tested last. Result, I am getting fitter!  My FTP went up 15 watts and my LTHR (the HR I am at when I am at my lactate threshold) went down!!!  (see TrainerRoad data here)  I am really pleased with my training right now.  I have made improvements in all three disciplines! Things are going well!

Now I would like to share my love of TrainerRoad with you.  Because I am a TrainerRoad Ambassador I have month trial of TrainerRoad to give away.  If you would like this I need you to do a couple of things. You get an entry for each one.

  1. Like TrainerRoad on their Facebook page
  2. Tweet the following “I want to win a month of @TrainerRoad from @TriBeccaTO blog!”
  3. Leave a comment on my blog telling me you did all three

It is just that easy!

TrainerRoad – Free Ride baby!

I have recently started working with a coach and I am very excited about it; and now that I have adopted TrainerRoad I am eager to see how I can combine both things to get the most out of my training.  This morning was my first ride from my coach.  I used the 60 min free ride in TrainerRoad to capture it.  See image below and the details here.

FreeRideWhat I liked about using the free ride option in TrainerRoad was as I was doing the prescribed workout from my coach, I could see what % of my FTP I was working at.  Once I was done with my workout I got a great graph that shows all aspects of the ride in a perfect summary.  Easy to use and pretty effective!

The 2014 Tour of Sufferlandria


The Tour is over… 😦

For 9 days I joined about 1600 other riders from all over the world as we completed the Tour of Sufferlandria.  It was a virtual tour that was done on our bike trainers in our own homes; but what was surprising was just how much we felt like we were doing it together.  The premise behind The Sufferfests is that you will become a better cyclist through pain and suffering on the bike.  While that may be true, in reality it is a really fun way to kick your own ass so you can beat others!  Usually I dread my trainer time but since my recent adoption of TrainerRoad and this tour, I have found a new passion for my trainer time.  Of course it also helped that except for 2 rides, Stuart and I did all the stages together.  He has done a much better write up of each stage on his blog and the recaps on The Sufferfest website are awesome.

Total miles ridden were just under 200 miles  in almost 13 hours (I had to do Rubber Glove twice)


A Cycling Must Have (well actually 2)

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How can that not inspire you to kick your own a$$?!

I have had to use a bike trainer to get my cycling training in for a few years.  I was turned on to a set of training videos a couple of years ago and they have been an absolute blessing (and a curse).  The Sufferfest videos are an amazing set of training videos that use real cycling footage, expertly developed workouts, and amazingly entertaining stories to get you through some pretty gnarly trainer time.  They are pure genius!  Some I love (Hell Hath No Fury, A Very Dark Place, #ISLAGIATT, and There Is No Try) and some I am not a fan of (they are so damn hard!).  If you have to use a bike trainer you must check out these videos.

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My amazing Husband getting it done in our pain cave.

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My turn to work!

This weekend I finally completed the last piece of perfecting my home pain cave for bike training.  I re-enrolled in Trainer Road.  I had used it briefly about 2 years ago but just found all the set up a bit cumbersome. I was space and equipment challenged at that time but now I have a better bike training set up.  The awesome thing about Trainer Road is they translate your speed/cadence/HR data into power in real time.  You can use the software to find your FTP and then all your workouts are based off of that!  There are tons of good workouts to choose from in their library BUT they also integrate with the Sufferfest videos. PERFECTION!

The Trainer Road profile from The Sufferfest's Revolver

The Trainer Road profile from The Sufferfest’s Revolver

Sufferfest and Trainer Road have paired up and this weekend we started the Tour of Sufferlandria.  Along with 2200 other riders we are using the Sufferfest videos and Trainer Road to complete 9 days of suffering  riding together across the world!  It has been epic to say the least.

If you use a bike training to do any in home training I HIGHLY suggest you look at these two products.  Both are very affordable and well worth your time.

Why not go out with a bang?


fest ride[5]tour map[4]

My plans for the last couple of days of the year are above.  My partner in Tri, Quadrathon, and I are gonna really earn our New Years Eve meals for sure! If you want to join the torture fun check out the Sufferfest’s website to download the fun.

Cadence Baby!

If you are unfamiliar with this term it means how fast you are peddling on your bike.  Last year I was doing a lot of training on a computrainer and the focus there was often on your cadence.  We always pedaled at 90RPMs or faster (unless we were doing a special set). Since I stopped going to computrainer sessions (too pricey and I just don’t have the time) I have struggled to really pay attention to my cadence and as a result, it has been getting slower and slower.  I have signed up for my next ironman distance triathlon (Challenge Penticton, August 2013) and I NEED to have a better bike split than St. George. I truly believe that in order to improve my overall biking I need to start with my cadence.

So my plan (everybody needs a plan) is to hit my bike trainer twice a week and simply PEDAL FASTER!!! I will use The Sufferfest Training videos and keep the resistance low; but really (I mean really really) try to match the cadence of the workouts (which usually range from 90-110 RPMs).  I am also hoping this helps speed up my running as well.  I was running much faster last year when I was attending computrainer classes.  It is time to get my butt in gear!

3LC.TV Ladies Sportive Training Video – Product Review

I was contacted the other day by 3LC.TV to see if I would like to try one of their training videos.  Since I have to us an indoor trainer during the week for my bike training I was very excited to be given the opportunity to add a new training video to my arsenal.  I was sent a copy of the Ladies Sportive which essentially is a work out that takes you through the different stages of a race.

It breaks down to a warm up, a SOLID 40 minutes of guided training, then a 10 minute cool down.  During the work out some of the things you are instructed to use your bike to simulate  are hill riding, covering the moves, through and off, lead out, and of course a final sprint.  All of the instruction is related to cadence and perceived effort.  I have done computrainer training which is very specific per individual and requires special testing before you can do it.  The beauty of a work out like this is it is based on cadence (which most of us already have on our bikes) and perceived effort.  There is no special equipment needed (you can watch the cyclists in the video and match their cadence if you don’t have that on you bike).  I find perceived effort is a great way to gauge your training so this works great for me!

Overall I found the work out to be very well structured and extremely effective.  Recently I have been working on my cadence so I worked really hard to match the prescribe cadence for each set and as a result I had a great workout.  Each set was long timed perfectly in my opinion.  One of the things I really enjoyed was that the video really makes you feel like you are having a training session with a coach.  There was a lot of talk about what type of race simulation we were doing and most importantly there were many reminders about proper form.  My favorite set was the “through and off” which simulated riding in a line and then taking your turn pulling like you would see in a breakaway group.  It was very challenging but fun.  At all times during the video you are shown what you are doing, how much time is left in the set, and what the next set is.

Over all it was a very good training video.  My only complaint is the lack of music.  Music is very helpful to me when I am exercising.  At the same time I am training for Ironman St. George where I am not allowed any music; so it might be in my best interest to do some work without my tunes.  One last plus was the five different stretching videos at the end.  I am notoriously bad about stretching so the fact that they are right there was really nice!  I can’t wait to try all of them!

I would recommend the video as effective cycling training video.  It is a little bit more expensive than some other products out there but it is a DVD (nice quality) and it has the stretching included.  It definitely was effective for me; see the graph of my HR and cadence below…

The Sufferfest: Hell Hath No Fury Review

I have been using the Suffestfest videos for guided indoor cycling training for a little over 6 months.  There is something about chasing professional cyclists for an hour that makes the workout on a trainer bearable; as well as the awesome music and outstanding commentary. So when I heard that The Sufferfest was doing an all women video I wasn’t quite sure it would have the same draw for me…I was totally wrong.  I wanted to kick those chicks a$$es more than when I ride against the dudes!

First of all I generally train for endurance events (marathons and soon my first full Ironman) so I am not great with workouts that are about short fast intervals.  My body doesn’t work that way.  I think that is why I liked this Sufferfest so much.  It was broken up into four stages (the Tour of Sufferlandria) and the two middle stages were both 20 minutes each.  That length of effort works really well for me.  They both were broken up enough to keep you on your toes with breakaway efforts, hill climbing, and of course sprints.  This Sufferfest, of all the ones I have ever done, really had me feeling like I was in the race.  When you do it you will understand…

Here are the details of the workout:

  • 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

It really was the best workout I have done from the Sufferfest.  It had a story that took you from the start to the finish.  I really wanted to make  the Sufferlandria team proud (and I didn’t want to be boiled!)  You must pay attention to the interview during the second recovery period, and enjoy the Mental Training Reflection at the end.  The music was great, the workout was challenging but rewarding, and the footage during the team time trial was amazing!  It is well worth your time because it really simulates real racing scenarios and give you an awesome workout!

The Sufferfest…A Very Dark Place

The bike trainer…we all hate to use it.  But for people like me who have a full time job as well as a family, it is a necessary evil.  Then the Sufferfest comes in to make the trainer a dark place to be… a very dark place (but in a good way).

I was lucky (not so sure about that) to get an advanced copy of the newest production from The Sufferfest, A Very Dark Place.  If you don’t know what The Sufferfest is, you need to educate yourself ASAP.  They are a series of videos that you can use while riding your bike trainer.  What I love about them is that they make your time on a trainer worthwhile.  The music is awesome, the cycling video is inspiring, and the attitude makes you want to beat your ass! (IWBMATTKYT, I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow, their theme)  If you have to use the trainer, it might as well be fun (but don’t tell them I said that) and focused.

So last night I downloaded the workout, set up my new bike on the trainer, and went to bed knowing that in the morning I was in for a world of hurt.

The work out consisted of a warm up, followed by a couple of sprints, and then a trip to some dark places…very dark places…  The main set was 4:00 min on with a 3:00 min recovery.  Each 4:00 effort was structured a little different so you were always on your toes.  There was a lot of changing cadence and resistance, sprints and attacks thrown in, and some climbing both in and out of the saddle.  The rest periods almost made you forget the dark places you had just been; scenic rides with blue skies and fluffy white clouds…

Overall it was awesome (in a painful, I want to cry out for mommy kind of way)!  The music that is used always rocks!  The commentary eggs me on to beat my ass way more than I would if I was just spinning away. It was a very effective use of 50+ minutes on the trainer.  I highly recommend this video as well as any of the other ones (Downward Spiral is one of my favs).

My legs trying to keep up with the high cadence sets

Half of those drops are sweat, the other half are tears

My heart rate data. The graph fails to show when I thought my heart would come out of my chest