Maybe you just completed the Tour of Sufferlandria and are looking for a new challenge. Or maybe you're doing the Mental Toughness Programme and need to identify a Mount Sufferlandria worthy of a true badass. We have just the thing: Sufferlandrian Knighthood.
Join us and your fellow Sufferlandrians as we undertake the first Global Knighthood Challenge on March 24, 2019.
What Is Knighthood?
Of course all Sufferlandrians know how to take punishment. It’s in our nature. But there are some among us who have elevated the ideal of Suffering in the cause of HONOUR, GLORY and VICTORY to an art form.Yes, there are Sufferlandrians. And then there are Knights of Sufferlandria. To be awarded the highest honour, one must simply (*cough*) do 10 Sufferfest videos, back-to-back.
- Please see a doctor. You’re obviously not right.
- You must do 10 Sufferfest videos, back-to-back.
- You can do them in any order you like.
- You may not do any video title more than once (e.g., you can't do the old and the remastered version of a video.)
- The following workouts ARE valid as part of The Quest:
14 Vise Grips
A Very Dark Place
Do As You're Told
Hell Hath No Fury
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (ISLAGIATT)
The Best Thing in the World
The Downward Spiral
There Is No Try
- If a video is NOT on the list above it is NOT valid for a Knighthood ride.
- Running videos are not permitted.
- Chrysalis is permitted if you do it as the prescribed bike-only workout.
- You are allowed 10 minutes rest between videos. No more, but less is fine.
- You must publicly record and post the event somehow – e.g., power/hr files, photos, Facebook posts and/or tweets during the event to show progress.
- We do not set any kind of performance benchmark for your ride (i.e., how hard you have to go). However, we insist that you do a ride in which you Suffer and which, most importantly, of which you are immensely proud of yourself for having given all you can give and a bit more.
- You really should, although it's not necessary, try to raise money for a good cause. It'll do good for the world, make you even prouder of yourself and rightly earn the praise of your fellow Sufferlandrians.
- One of the following must be true for each person who wants to be Officially Recognised as a Knight of Sufferlandria:
- You have a subscription to The Sufferfest app OR...
- You are completing your Knighthood at one of our Officially Licensed Sufferlandrian Embassies as part of an Official Knighthood ride organised by the Facility and approved by The Sufferfest.
- Group Quests attempted in a commercial studio setting must be done at one of the Officially Licensed Sufferlandrian Embassies. Failure to comply will invalidate your Quest. Group Quests done in church basements, garages, sheds or down the bottom of a well (non-commercial bike torture chamber venues) do not need to meet this criteria.
- Upon completion, fill out this form (don’t send us an email).
- Wait for The Minions to get back to you (normally takes a few days).
- If your ride is accepted, the Minions will notify you. Once the Minions have announced your name on our Facebook page, and only then, you are officially a Knight of Sufferlandria.
- Bask for eternity in the GLORY that comes from being a Knight of Sufferlandria. Never shall you not be the centre of every single dinner conversation you attend from that point onwards.
PRESTIGIOUS GIFTS AND ACCOLADES
Here’s what you get when you become a Knight of Sufferlandria. Don’t let it go to your head.
- The immense satisfaction of having done something truly incredible and awe-inspiring and a little bit mad.
- A nice(ish) certificate with your name on it, and a very exclusive bike decal (in white and black no less!).
- An invitation to join the *very**exclusive* Knights of Sufferlandria Facebook group.
- We – and other Knights and Sufferlandrians – will verily then address your honourable self as Sir or Dame, whatever the case may be, from thence forward.
- You may use the designation KoS after your name whenever you like.
- You may purchase the exclusive Knights only team kit.
Prepping for Glory: The 5-Week Knighthood Training Plan
Sir Mac Cassin, Senior Cycling Physiologist at The Sufferfest Sports Science Division, has put together a 5-week training plan to get you ready to storm the Castle. But before you dive in, here's a little disclaimer:
This plan is designed for those who will be taking part in the Global Knighthood Challenge on March 24, 2019.
Due to the demands of a Knighthood attempt, (10 Sufferfest sessions back-to-back) this plan is designed for those who have already built up a decent level of fitness through consistent training over the past 6 months.
We would not recommend this plan or a Knighthood attempt to anyone with less than 6 months of training under their belt.
(Click on any of the images below to download the complete PDF)
Dinner at the Round Table: Fueling Strategies for Your Knighthood Attempt
(Excerpted from our Nutrition Guide, "Eating to Suffer")
This is it: prolonged suffering like you’ve never experienced before. To become an honoured Knight of Sufferlandria you must complete a Herculean undertaking: 10 back-to-back Sufferfest videos. If you’ve been preparing for your day of Glory you probably haven’t set foot outside your Torture Chamber for several weeks (lest you incur the wrath of the Minions). The previous chapters have armed you with the knowledge to maximise your RoS on a daily basis. But nothing we’ve discussed can prepare you for 10+ hours of relentless, high-intensity self-destruction courtesy of a Sufferlandrian Knighthood attempt. Until now. Eating for Honour, Glory and a Knight’s Bike Decal
Your nutritional preparation for a Knighthood attempt should start 24 hours before you enter the Bike Torture Chamber. As we’ve already stated when discussing carbs, the aim here is to store enough in your muscles to maximise your performance during the workout. A Knighthood attempt requires MAXIMUM storage, also known as carbohydrate loading.
Carbohydrate loading sounds simple in theory, but in the context of preparing for a Knighthood attempt it seems like a form of suffering in and of itself. We’re talking 10g of carbs per kilogram of body weight in a single day, to be precise. If you’re a 70kg Sufferlandrian, you’re staring down the barrel of 700g of carbs from sunrise to sunset. Think about this:
- 2 cups of cooked pasta = 70g of carbs
- 2 cups of oats = 110g
- 1 slice of bread = 10-15g
Your goal is 700 grams (possibly more if you’re a stockier rider). This is a huge pile of food. But fear not. If you’re not blessed with an expandable stomach there are three little tricks you can use to get the carbs in:
Drink your carbs: Make sure every bit of fluid you drink contains ample carbohydrates. Consuming plain old water takes up precious stomach space without fueling your muscles. Remember that carbohydrates are the starch and sugar in food. With fluids you’re looking for sugary options: sports drinks, soft drink, fruit juice, cordial and flavoured milk. Before you suggest that Sufferlandria has a connection to the soft drink industry, remember this: Sufferlandrians are legally prohibited from associating with anything soft. Anything. But if you’re going for a Knighthood attempt you need fuel, and that means sugars.
- Avoid fibre: Starchy foods provide plenty of carbs, but they can also provide lots of fibre. That’s useful when you’re trying to eat less, but the problem with fibre when you’re carb loading is that it makes you feel full without providing fuel. That’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to steel your mind and body for one of the most grueling athletic undertakings in human history. The day before a Knighthood attempt is a day to eat low fibre foods. This means white bread, white rice, and low fibre breakfast cereals. Because you’re eating more food than normal, you’ll still consume a normal amount of fibre over the day, it will just be spread over a larger quantity of lower-fibre foods.
- Seek purity: If all else fails and you’re still struggling to cram more carbs into your stomach, go for foods that are almost pure carbs. This means a trip to the sweet shop: 10 jelly snakes (an Australian gummy sweet) provide about the same carbs as 1 cup of cooked pasta, while being significantly less filling (allowing you to store more carbs). Go crazy until you get enough to max out your muscles’ carbohydrate stores. Only then will you be primed for Glory.
A final note on carbohydrate loading: never carb load the day before a Knighthood attempt if you don’t have experience with loading. Although uncommon, some people experience major gut issues when they try to carb load. This may be caused by minor food intolerances that become magnified when you eat larger quantities and different types of food. The last thing you want to do is ruin your Knighthood attempt because your carb loading went sideways. So be sure to trial a new carb loading strategy the day before a less important training session to make sure the strategy will work for you. If you try several times and just can’t get it to work, seek individualised dietary advice from a licensed professional.
The Last Supper
The last meal before your Knighthood attempt should be no different from any other long workout – aim for a meal with at least 2g of carbs for every kilogram of your body weight about two hours before you start your Knighthood attempt. If you’re starting your Knighthood early in the morning, it might be a challenge to get this in, so chose high carb fluids or reduce to what’s achievable.
Eating through pain
Once you’re committed to your Knighthood attempt, you’ll be in the saddle for the (very) long haul - a bare minimum of 10.5 hours. With an effort this inhuman (but very Sufferlandrian) it’s all about the carb intake. Unlike a single Sufferfest workout you’ll need a continuous supply of carbs to replace the prodigious amount of energy you’ll be expending. Local Hero plus Revolver plus eight more Sufferfest sessions back-to-back? Your body won’t want to speak to you for a couple of weeks. Your ass will likely go into a coma. But, at a minimum, aim to consume 60g of carbs every hour. If you can physically tolerate it go for 90g every hour. This will help maximise your RoS, ensuring that you can stay strong - and Suffer properly - for the duration of the effort and eventually join the few, the proud, the Knights of Sufferlandria.
In general, you’ll need ample carbs (60-90g/hr) in a convenient package to allow easy in-flight refueling. These should be in forms that are familiar and easy to digest. You should have a variety of flavours on hand to prevent flavour fatigue, and you should test your fueling strategy beforehand to minimise adverse reactions.
Here are a few tips to help you make sure your nutrition does its part for Honour:
- Plan ahead: Have everything you need accessible, open and ready to eat without having to get off your trainer and go foraging for food.
Practice: Practice carb loading well in advance of your Knighthood attempt. There is no honour, no victory, and definitely no glory in debilitating digestive issues. It’s one thing to suffer on the trainer; it’s quite another to suffer on the toilet. And time on the throne isn’t going to get you that cool Knights Decal and worldwide acclaim and envy.
Be creative: 90g an hour of carbohydrates is pretty easy for two or three hours in a row, but by the time you get to hour seven you’ll be done with all the sticky, sweet tasting stuff like power gels and energy bars. Mix it up with foods that are less sweet, and incorporate savoury options. For those Sufferlandrians who prefer to DIY, you can make your own sports drink from scratch, make homemade energy gels, or other energy-rich foods to fuel your efforts. If you need additional tips, our friends at Cycling Tips have this to say (www.cyclingtips.com.au/2013/05/diy-sports-nutrition).
Use the rest periods: Eating during a long road ride is fairly easy, because there’s inevitably a time when the pace is low. High-intensity intervals are a different story. It’s very difficult to chew and swallow anything when you’re trying to beat the hell out of the guys on screen during a Sufferfest workout. Look to those precious, elusive rest periods to get something in your body and prepare yourself for the next beating. Practise consuming different foods in training so you know what will suit you best when you strap yourself in for the ultimate challenge.
- Learn what’s practical for you to open, bite, chew and swallow mid-workout. Nothing is more embarrassing than a Knighthood attempt spoiled by choking on an energy bar or an explosive digestive episode. Grunter von Agony has stripped many would-be Knights of their Sufferlandrian citizenship for less serious\ breaches of Stylish Suffering Etiquette.
It’s gettin’ hot in here
A Knighthood attempt will also generate significant body heat. The Minions will need troughs to collect all the Sufferlandrian Holy Water you’ll be producing. Because a Knighthood attempt has you suffering for so long, proper hydration will be critical. For information on how to stay hydrated, check out these tips from our Official Hydration Partner, Precision Hydration.
One of the best strategies for minimising fluid loss during a Knighthood attempt has nothing to do with fluid intake. You have to get some air. Before you attempt the holiest of holies, buy, beg, or steal a decent pedestal fan. Place the fan a couple of meters in front of your trainer, and crank it up to ‘Sharknado’. The movement of air over your body not only simulates real-world riding conditions, but enhances the body’s natural cooling systems. Because of the lack of airflow, riding on a trainer results in higher core body temperatures and more fluid loss compared to riding on the road.
Honour, Glory, a nifty decal and other people calling you Sir or Dame
You’ve accomplished the unthinkable. 10 Sufferfest workouts, back-to-back. An eternity of abject, debilitating suffering. When the Minions finally pry your spent, victorious body from your trainer and you take your rightful place as a Knight of Sufferlandria, there is one more task:
What should a newly appointed Knight of Sufferlandria eat in order to properly recover after 10+ hours of pain, misery and suffering?
WHATEVER YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE. Have a pint. Maybe some chips. Take a couple of days off training (don’t tell GvA). Let’s face it, few people in Sufferlandria, much less the world, have the fortitude to successfully complete 10 Sufferest videos in one go. Punch a rhino. Give Jens Voigt a wedgie. You can do whatever you want.
The End...Of This Interval.
A Knighthood attempt is a big challenge. It requires a lot of preparation, both physically and nutritionally. You’ll need an unholy amount of carbs to fuel the fire, not to mention determination, dedication, and a commitment to the Sufferlandiran principles of IWBMATTKYT. Work hard, then celebrate hard. Honour, Glory, Victory!
How to Stay Hydrated During Your Sufferlandrian Knighthood Attempt
(Presented by Andy Blow of Precision Hydration, Official Hydration Solution of the 2019 Global Knighthood Challenge)
So you’re going your Sufferlandrian Knighthood. Congratulations!
As well as a visit to a head doctor, you’re also going to need to take on plenty of Sufferlandrian Holy Water (and maybe some electrolytes) if you’re going to survive this ordeal long enough to be dubbed a Sir or Dame and bask in the glory.
In the same way that using 4DP to personalize your workouts can help you get more out of training, personalizing your hydration strategy could really help you improve your performance, especially during something as grueling as a Sufferlandrian Knighthood attempt. (Does ‘grueling’ do it justice?! Probably not…)
That’s because everyone loses a different amount of sodium in their sweat and, if you don’t get replacing that right, you risk hydration-related issues like cramp, dehydration and hyponatremia.
Sodium helps you maintain your blood plasma volume, which reduces cardiovascular strain and helps you avoid fatigue (and potentially cramp), so sodium supplements should be part of your hydration plan for any ultra-distance cycling event.
What’s interesting is that how much salt you lose in your sweat is largely genetically determined rather than being overly influenced by things like diet and acclimation to a new climate, so nailing your hydration plan is very much something you need to experiment with yourself rather than blindly following generic advice.
As you train for your date with destiny, here are some things to test so that you have things dialed in when you hop on to your steed for the Pain Party…
What to do before you start
When people talk about hydration, most of the time it's about what and how much athletes should drink during exercise.
These are clearly important questions, but your performance is also massively influenced by how hydrated you are when you start exercising in the first place.
Once you begin suffering (and sweating) you're generally going to be fighting a losing battle against fluid and electrolyte loss, so starting off properly hydrated can be extremely beneficial.
Despite the relatively obvious benefits of starting exercise well hydrated, a recent study of over 400 amateur athletes showed that around 31% of them were turning up to training sessions (and, in some cases, races) dehydrated!
Tips to help you start your KoS attempt well hydrated
- DON’T just drink lots of water in the build up. You can end up diluting your body’s sodium levels before you start, increasing the risk of hyponatremia. At best you’ll end up with a lot of fluid sloshing around in your stomach/bladder.
- Add some sodium to your pre-Knighthood drinks (and meals) to help you absorb and retain more fluid in your bloodstream. This means you’ll have a bigger reservoir of electrolytes/ fluids to draw upon once your quest begins and you start sweating some of it out. Having more blood makes it easier for your cardiovascular system to meet the competing demands of cooling you down and delivering oxygen to your muscles.
- Drink a stronger electrolyte drink the night before the attempt to boost your blood plasma volume. Aim for drinks containing >1,000mg of sodium per litre. PH 1500 is ideal for helping you start hydrated.
Drink a stronger electrolyte drink about 90 mins before you start the first video to top-up your blood plasma volume. Finish your drink >45 minutes before you set off to give your body time to fully absorb what it needs and remove any excess.
What to drink during the attempt
A significant level of fluid/electrolyte intake is almost certainly going to be required to maintain your performance during your KoS attempt.
It's always tricky to nail this down to an exact number, you have to learn to listen to your body to get it just right. But, very few athletes can drink much more than 750ml-1L (25oz-34oz) an hour so - unless experience tells you otherwise - it’s unlikely you’ll need to drink more than that, especially if you started well hydrated.
We’d recommend having a constant supply of water and electrolyte drink bottles to hand and that you drink them to thirst. Our free Sweat Test will give you an idea of the right strength electrolyte supplements for you based on how you sweat.
If you prefer the taste of plain water to even the mildest of sports drinks, have some salt tablets (like these SweatSalt capsules) to hand to replace the electrolytes you’re losing instead.
Given you’ll be working hard all day, it’s also just good to have the ability to mix things up by switching from a pre-mixed drink to a swallowable tablet to keep things fresh.
Use your 10 minute rests between videos to get some fluids back in if you’ve struggled to drink enough during a session.
Feeling thirsty? Have a dry mouth? You may not be drinking enough. Try to respond to the early signs of thirst and not leave it too late.
Bloated? Fluid sloshing around in your stomach? Need to pee a lot during the day? You might be drinking too much. Don't force fluids down if you don’t feel you want them.
A note on the C word (Cramps)
Cramping can be an issue in very long, hot/sweaty rides. For a full run down of the latest thinking on the complicated topic of muscle cramps, read this blog.
In a nutshell though, if you get your electrolyte balance right by following the kind of hydration and fueling strategy outlined above, you’re far less likely to suffer the muscle cramps that are so often the cause of serious meltdowns during tough rides like a Knighthood attempt.
What to drink after your attempt (other than Realpagne)
These days most experts agree (for the most part) that prolonged exercise nearly always ends up in some level of uncorrected dehydration. People rarely drink enough to replace 100% of their sweat losses and, as a result, post exercise rehydration is extremely important because this is when the body is best placed to rebalance its fluid and electrolyte levels.
100% of your sweat losses (both fluid and sodium) need to be replaced at some point if your recovery is to be considered ‘complete’.
And a complete recovery is essential before you go out again (which, admittedly, may not be for a while after something as brutal as this) - that’s if you want to perform at your best anyway.
The best way to go about rehydrating after exercise is basically dependant on two key things:
- The level of dehydration you’re at when you finish
- How soon afterwards you need to be 100% ready to perform again
When your sweat losses are low
When your sweat losses have been fairly low and when you don’t need to perform again for a while, simply drinking and eating normally is usually enough to replace all of the fluids and electrolytes you lost.
Homeostasis stimulates you to drink to satisfy your thirst, you get a bit of sodium from your food, and your body does it’s rebalancing act with what you consume and pee out. Before you know it, everything is back to normal.
That’s HIGHLY unlikely to be the case after the torture you’ll just have experienced in this instance, but it’s often the case after many ‘standard’ training sessions at other times of the year.
When your sweat losses are high
But, when your sweat losses are high, or you have to restore fluid balance rapidly because you’re exercising again later in that day, a more proactive approach to rehydration may be needed to help your body restore equilibrium in a short space of time.
In these circumstances, we recommend mixing up a 500ml (16oz) bottle or two of a stronger sports drink like Precision Hydration 1500 to drink to thirst in those first few hours after you finish.
I hope you find this useful as you prepare for your quest for honor, glory and victory. If it’s useful, you can use the code SUFFER to get your first box or tube of Precision Hydration’s multi-strength electrolyte supplements free (plus a small shipping fee) if you’d like to test a hydration plan that matches how you sweat before you embark on your attempt to become a Knight of Sufferlandria.
May you suffer your way to greatness.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Sufferlandrian Knighthood Quest Planning Committee group on Facebook has tons of useful information and resources from those who have already completed their Quest. We highly recommend joining the group. Everyone is friendly, helpful, and eager to help you prepare to storm the Castle.
Here are some of the most common questions:
Q: Do I have to have a power meter or a heart rate monitor?
A: According to the rules referenced above, no. You do need to document your suffering using methods described in the rules. However, most people do use something to measure and track their effort. Knighthood is a big goal for most people. You'll want a record of every last bit of suffering. Remember, Honour, Glory, Victory.
Q: Do I need to complete the warm up and cool down sections of each video?
A: Yes. Some have taken shorter breaks between videos and used those sections to do things like refill water bottles to save some time.
Q: What if I have a mechanical like a flat?
A: If you can, try to have a spare bike or a spare wheel ready. Minor mechanicals (like a chain coming off) that can be addressed quickly are usually okay. It will ultimately by up to GvA.
Q: Will my Garmin (or other brand) computer battery last that long?
A: You can plug your Garmin computer into the charger while riding. Some computers can last 10+ hours though, depends on battery. Plugging into laptop will not work as it will mount the storage device.
Q: Why should I ride for a charity if it's not required for knighthood?
A: Raising funds for a charity is a motivator. When you are on number 7 or 8, you'll feel like quitting. If people gave to support your ride, you'll want to finish. It enables others to participate and show their support. And you'll feel better about yourself.
Q: How much water and food should I have ready?
A: Enough so that you are sure that you will not run out. There are many posts in this group about what they consumed. Nutrition is usually a personal preference. A general rule is to weigh yourself after each ride to see if you are losing weight. If you are, then you probably are not drinking enough. If you do not need to use the bathroom after a couple videos, you probably are not drinking enough. Keep a big container of water nearby to refill your bottles. Have someone ready to refill containers and get food. For long rides like this, you may want to think about a source of protein besides the usual gels, etc.
Q: I cramp easily, what can I do to prevent that?
A: One possible reason is that you may not be getting enough electrolytes. Some swear by pickle juice to prevent cramping. Some use tablets or powders. Cramping can be caused by an improper position on the bike so make sure you have had a bike fit.