“The Hunted” Sufferfest Training Video

So, you may recall my post a couple of weeks back which introduced products of the appropriately named ‘Sufferfest’.

…and that I had purchased the video trailered in that post, ‘The Hunted’ fully falling for its premise that the intervals involved were consistent with those experienced during heroic solo breakaways. This, together with the entire concept, seemed perfectly suited to the  Baroudeur spirit. So I parted from my £8 and received an email from the company including a vast file to download and a nice line in motivational copy.

Well, last night was my first opportunity to try it out. Here is my review.

The video opens with some on-scren text setting a bit of contextual narrative about how the team badly needs a win and how this was my stage. That contracts were up for renewal and that I was the captain but that so far far I hadn’t done JACK (chillingly close to the mark here). The text prompts continue throughout the following hour using an ‘out of 10’ rating for perceived effort, so the firsts 5 mins were an easy 4/10 whilst ‘you’ roll to the race start (a nice piece of long descent footage). The POV (think first-person shooter) is very effective and it takes a while, (and a couple of near-disasters,) to realise that you don’t need to bank into the bends…

The race starts with some tempo pack riding at 6/10 with lots of on-screen stuff about how I should enjoy my time at the back, because it won’t last long, etc. There follow a series of attacks; the first is the ‘big move’ to escape the peloton – a sustained 9/10 sprint for about 20 seconds. This was my first experience of sprinting on rollers, which, combined with the fact that I still have a compact chain set on the Focus, produced alarmingly high cadence and highly dicey lateral drifting that threatened to put me on the deck, but I survived. The screen praised my effort (thank you) and instructed that I should settle into ‘time-trial mode’  – 6/10 for 10 minutes. Another attack, prompted by footage of the chasing pack (led by a gently demonised Radio-Shack Armstrong), periods of ‘rest’ at 6/10 and a 20 minute climb at 7-7.5/10.

All this was going swimmingly. The heart rate was up, legs felt good, sweating happily. I began to think the race was mine…

Then, disaster. The last 5 minutes of the stage was to proceed with a series of increasing punishing 9/10 sprint/surges. The first sprint was 10 seconds followed by 50 secs of 6/10. Then it was 20 seconds of sprint with 40secs of 6/10, then 30 seconds of sprint etc. It was the penultimate sprint that got me. 40 seconds of washing-machine cadence and a tiring rider lead to the inevitable: a ghastly jolt as the bike left the rollers, a searing smell of scorched rubber from the tyres, a tangle of arms and legs. I look up to see ‘me’ on the screen, arms aloft, taking the win. What must it be like to lose a race in the last 200m to a crash?

I am left feeling determined to complete the mission, but can’t help but think a turbo trainer, or at least some bigger gears would make those final long sprints a little safer…

In all, a great way to get some sustained interval and pace training. The footage was ideal; there was a real sense of being in the action, especially when a rider ahead pings off the front and you’re instructed to chase. I had to stop myself chasing every move. Plus, lovely mountains to look at. One concern was with the questionable ‘alt rock and electronic’ soundtrack. My Gf came into the room at one point to enquire ‘what’s that horrible music?’. Sadly, I was at 8/10 at the time, so wasn’t very polite.

Let me know if you’d like a copy…

:: The review is independent and the club does not have any involvement with Sufferfest.  We simply like their idea.  You can find a range of reviews here ::

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