Events: Tour of Sufferlandia (February 6 – 14)
(2016) It is in the winter months that I find respite in visiting some of the small museums around Doylestown, PA. A few years ago I was lucky enough to learn of the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Michener Art Museum. I remember its fowl weather status because I left the sunroof open in a heavy downpour. I also diddle in the local independent bookshop where I stare at the cycling magazines and figure out which ones I have yet to read. Staying indoors for a majority of the season is probably how most people spend unpredictable winter.
Don’t get me wrong I love the bragging status a cold weather ride brings. The look on people’s faces when they remember the patches of ice in the morning brings a small element of enjoyment. It beats being indoors on a trainer. I remind myself of Sean Kelly’s quote: “I go out on my bike, I do my ride, and when I get back home I decide if it’s too wet or not!” A bad weather ride outside is still better than staring at the back wall of the garage. I will suggest that every once in a while, a trainer ride could break up the monotony.
Today in my email I was alerted that The Sufferfest’sTour of Sufferlandia would commence two days hence. Think of it as a Festive 500 but meant for indoors only. They have one thing in common; they are both eight days long. For those looking for consistent indoor weather, this may just be the event to tidy one through the remaining swoop of the coldest season. Plus, the small entry fee goes to a great cause.
To register, one must make a donation starting at ten dollars (US) to the Davis Phinney Foundation. If further convincing is needed, donations will be entered into a pool to win a myriad of prizes ranging from a bike tour to Sufferfest pint glasses. I’m assuming everyone has access to a trainer or stationary bike. If that’s something my audience is lacking, and you wish to participate, this may be an issue. One further obstacle is to have access to each video scheduled or to have subscribed to The Sufferfest app. All this still takes less time than loading the car for a race in the next county. (The best part is driving isn’t even necessary.)
The first days are rough, actually every Sufferfest video is rough, so don’t expect any easy stages. It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time is a roller festival. Go ahead and get (un) comfortable. This video is two hours long. I think we can all agree that’s a long time on the rollers/ trainer. This is followed by Revolver. A little something about Revolver is that this video brought me the closest to puking. I’ve only ridden to it about four times. The Sufferfest laughably requires you to do it back-to-back. I suspect many will drop out here.
Following the first two days are The Best Thing in the World, To Get to the Other Side, The Wretched, The Rookie, and Do As You’re Told. These are mostly all recent releases that vary in time from 48 minutes to 90 minutes. This has brought the Tour of Sufferlandia only up to the seventh stage and over eight hours accumulated on the rollers. There are two stages remaining.
The next-to-last stage includes another double dipping: Nine Hammers and A Very Dark Place. Neither of these are to be trifled with. Nine Hammers, since it came out, has been a video I reluctantly queue up on the laptop. I usually remind myself that I am doing this willingly halfway through Nine Hammers. Both of these videos put the participant at over ten hours of indoors riding time.
The final stage consists of two videos, too. Power Station and Violator are the two on tap for this stage. Afterwards, those that finish can crown themselves Tour of Sufferlandia participants. If there are riders who just aren’t challenged enough by this, there’s always the attempt to be a Knight by doing ten videos in one day (Good luck with that). Perhaps participants can tie a fund-raising sum to each video and donate more to the Davis Phinney Foundation at the Tour’s completion.
Staring at the laptop against the back wall of the garage might not be many non-cyclists idea of a way to spend bleak winter days, but it’s certainly a great motivator to pump the legs. I’ve always liked the product The Sufferfest has rolled out. To benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation is further proof that they have a good thing going. Remember that when it gets very dark during the last interval of Revolver and the realization that the suffering has only just started. Perhaps I'll skip the museums and staring at their walls this winter by staring at my own wall.