Here at the 'fest, we often get asked to make some base building videos. Something hard, but not too hard, and which lasts over an hour.
We don't do those.
It is, remember, The SUFFERfest. We have a reputation to live up to. However, when we get these requests, we usually direct folks to our good friends over at CYCLEFILM, who make great DVDs of classic cyclosportive rides around Europe. They also make the CyclePassion video, which requires no suffering at all to watch. Of course, those videos aren't really training vids...they're more the kind of videos you watch on the couch with a beer in one hand, and an idea in mind to one day go and do one of those big rides like the Etape du Tour.
But things have changed. CYCLEFILM just released their first training video - as a download - and dropped us a copy to try out. Unlike their past 'documentaries' about great rides, this one creates a workout based on the 2012 Etape du Tour route. It's a Pyrenean route from Pau to Bagnères de Luchon featuring Col d’Aubisque, Col du Soulor, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde.
It was quite a welcome little gift, as I had just done Angels the day before and was planning on Fight Club the next day, so a 'recovery,' base building session was in order. The download was easy and I just imported it into iTunes (just as you do with the 'fest) before hopping on the bike and getting started.
Now, I'm not a big fan of the 'ride through the scenery' cycling workout video - they're the very reason why we created The Sufferfest in the first place. But this one was different. Each climb is an interval, each of a different length, from 5 to 15 minutes in duration. Hardcore Sufferlandrians looking for immersive, full-on racing action should look elsewhere: this is more about following a rider over the course of the Etape and learning - not so much suffering - along the way.
Michael Cotty, who stars in all the CYCLEFILM videos, talks you through each one of the climbs on the route, giving you training, nutrition and pacing advice. Markus Neuert, as the director, captures some amazing footage of the climbs, descents and surrounding mountains. You're encouraged to push yourself, but not to breaking point, and 'enjoy' the climbs (Some Sufferlandrians might object to that, but it's ok once in awhile. ; - ). There are good on-screen indicators of where you are in the ride, how much time is left in the interval and how much overall in the workout. The music, while a little generic, is surprisingly good and Markus does an enviable job of getting the tempo to exactly match the effort you're putting out.
A couple of things happened to me during the workout:
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