The 2014 Tour of Sufferlandria
Webb: THE Tour is upon us again. "The Tour Down Under," you ask? No and not the Tour de San Luis either. I'm sure both have their moments and may see some aggression here or there. I'm talking about the The Tour of Sufferlandria. Nine days of heart-pounding, sweat wringing, chamois-shredding suffering. Over 2,300 riders have signed-in on TrainerRoad.com to test themselves.
Speaking of tests, Stage 1 of the Tour is a power test, aptly named "Rubber Glove." The purpose is to determine your FTP (functional threshold power) or heart rate zones, if that's your thing. Neither of us have taken the plunge to buy a power meter so we use TrainerRoad.com and their virtual power. Basically, we love it. It takes your Sufferfest suffering to a whole new level.
Elle: This is supposed to be a pretty tough workout, so I was a little nervous going into it. But Webb read to me a good article (by Joe Friel) about how to attack this thing. Easy warm-up, the first 5 minutes go at your estimated target, and then increase or decrease effort from there. I followed those instructions and ended up with a pretty good test.
Webb: I bet Grunter von Agony and his collaborators at Digg Deep Coaching are pretty proud of themselves. And they should be. "Rubber Glove," has a great footage (Belgian Spring Classics - a subtle reminder this test will require you to HTFU) and great music. Even though I read the Friel piece to Elle prior to the workout, GVA provides plenty of on-screen instruction, tips and <ahem> encouragement. All that you have come to love in a Sufferfest.com workout.
With many tests there is a pass/fail element. You can really only fail this test if you a) crack because you went out too hard, b) left too much in the reserves leaving you thinking, meh, I could've gone harder or c) didn't go into it well-rested. Failure simply means you did not get an accurate measurement within a reasonable margin. (Uh, yeah, I don't know what a reasonable margin is.) Follow GVA's instructions as best you can. More importantly, do it often (every 4-8 weeks) and you'll get better at pacing yourself.
Passing this test also means you feel like rubbish at the end, regardless of your FTP score. If you are like me, then you have about 15 seconds after you acknowledge Yay! I raised my FTP before the rooms spins and you think you are going to pass out. Nothing beats the feeling of a job well done, right? (vomits).
Elle: Not much else to say about stage 1, except that I felt oddly spent for the rest of the day. So much more suffering and agony to come...stay tuned. (fyi: I'm Al)