Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: The Sufferfest’s Do As You’re Told

Review: The Sufferfest’s Do As You’re Told

(2016) Taking into consideration the athletic past next to whom I ride, I can say with sincerity many of today’s riders have come from a team sport experience. I’ve ridden with fellow hockey players, football players, lacrosse players and the like. I have considered cycling the second sport phase in people’s lives. Instead of calling it quits and reminiscing about the ‘good ol’ days,’ fit enthusiasts climb aboard a bike and explore the surrounding area for a bit each week.

 

Speaking from experience it is quite strange to simply get on a bike and roll out the door. In the hockey days it required a two-hour preparation period, including the commute to the rink. There was a lot of mental preparation on the way to the rink, a lot of banter in the locker room, a lot of skating in warm up, and a lot of stress during the game. Cycling is much less stressful than that whole business.

  I'm always a sucker for windmills.

I'm always a sucker for windmills.

One of the upsides to being on a team was the fact that we simply ‘did.’ Each player had rehearsed assignments during play but ultimately skill would take over in the snap-decision moments. In team sports the orchestration is a byproduct of the coach’s personality. Whether the coach is intense or laid-back, participants follow the guidance of the coach and hopefully find success.

 

We did as we were told.

 

The past weekend I felt sluggish and lacking power. I wanted to hammer like the ‘good ol’ days’ again when many rides were hammerfests. Once again I turned to the simple apparatus that means only one thing: multiple types of suffering in around sixty minutes. I wanted more. I wanted to suffer heavily in hopes of finding the snap in the legs. I turned to The Sufferfest for help.

 

Looking through their catalogue I remembered Revolver. I’ve completed that workout more than twice and each time nearly barfed. It is a simple drubbing that involves full intensity sprints. I wanted a workout I would consider to do again next week. In the new videos category I felt a pull toward the other 45-minute video, Do As You’re Told. It involved footage from last year’s Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche. Speed workout with cobble and white gravel roads footage translates into clicking the purchase icon.

  In order to be offered a contract as a full-time rider, you must impress these guys.

In order to be offered a contract as a full-time rider, you must impress these guys.

I was immediately pulled into the storyline. The team car had words of encouragement regarding whether we would make the team. Our first foray in the bouncy parcour of the Belgian bergs of Flanders sees the team directors imploring us to do as we’re told. If we want success we must bridge the gap. If we want a place on the team we must attack. If we want serious consideration for Grand Tour status, we must sprint as hard as possible.

 

Just when our position on the team looked in doubt the scene shifts to Strade Bianche where we must yet again prove our moxie. These efforts are different but still just as hard. There are seated sprints. There are standing climbs. Finally there is the heavy turn of the pedals to stay with the group. It felt realistic to be a part of this storyline.

 

One of the upgrades The Sufferfest has made is accessing high definition race video. The footage is clear along with crisp graphics. As I’ve said before the on-screen information is extremely helpful. Paired with the high definition footage The Sufferfest must have scooped up all of the onboard footage to use for this installment. This addition makes the sprint scene extremely enticing. Its realism adds just a little bit more effort because for a few moments, we feel like we’re part of the race. Furthermore the clarity makes the cobbles recognizable and inspiring. The definition allows the viewer to see the amount of bouncing around that happens during races.

  One of the screenshots from an interval. I usually avoid posting these to avoid spoiling the surprise, but the cobbles may lead to hastier purchases. Think you can keep up with these two?

One of the screenshots from an interval. I usually avoid posting these to avoid spoiling the surprise, but the cobbles may lead to hastier purchases. Think you can keep up with these two?

The Sufferfest also added one new feature of the past few videos in the form of the ‘Surge’ command. It comes with the sound of the air bell at the local gas station. In Pennsylvania we pump our own gas; go to New Jersey and by law they have to pump it for you. This is where one may hear an air bell and suddenly feel the need to surge a little harder to close down a gap. The Surge makes the workout feel lifelike from a racing standpoint.

 

There is a sense of belonging in this workout much like team sports provide a sense of being there. This is where the video excels. It requires a harder effort in shorter amount of time. The Sufferfest’s storyline and clear footage sucks the rider in and, at times, we feel like we’re part of the action. I’m not being dramatic with that last statement; there were times when I felt the same pangs as criterium racing. Here’s to hoping this workout leads to faster rides when the goal is to be amongst teammates and then try to ride away like an individual. If we get asked why, we can state we were just responding to the inner voice telling us to, “Do as we’re told.” This video is quite possibly the best Sufferfest to date.

 

The Sufferfest’s Do As You're Told can be found on thesufferfest.com for $12.99 (personal use).

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