The SufferFest: Winter Training Gets (a little more) Interesting

Riding the trainer sucks. It's about as mindless as Fox News and as excruciating as a trip to the oral surgeon. But unless you're a Cancellara doppelgänger who thrives in the cold and wet or a cycling snowbird who winters in Arizona, time on a spin bike or rollers is an evil necessity for a good racing season. Like a nightly visit to Fight Club, you plug in your workout, take your lumps, and (hopefully) get stronger.

TheSufferFestIn full suffer mode.

In the past few months I've discovered a way to get through the trainer torture. The SufferFest, a series of short, brutal training videos, makes the winter sessions if not fun, at least tolerable. The Singapore-based upstart offers 10 videos that target specific attributes, from pyramids of short intervals that build max power to long threshold sessions. Visuals are a mix of race footage from the world's biggest events (Paris-Roubaix, World Championships) and helmet cam rides through bucolic mountain settings (mostly for the recovery). There are visual directives (including a cadence and perceived exertion commands), audio queues (a gunshot for an attack, screeching brakes when you can relax), and a thumping soundtrack of rock, punk, and techno. It all adds up to good, hard, fast motivation that never failed to get me going, even on the evenings where the only training I had in mind was Bourbon-related liver strengthening.

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