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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Sufferfest “A Very Dark Place” review

sufferfest very dark place review
Let me get this out of the way first and foremost. I received an advance preview copy of The Sufferfest's new video “A Very Dark Place” at no charge to review. I also have an affiliate link with The Sufferfest. I could potentially make a commission from any sale from following the link on the right sidebar. Honestly, I haven't made enough to cash out yet, but hopefully I can buy a cup of coffee or a beer one day from it.

As we enter fall (autumn for you folks who are artsy) and winter, most of us lose daylight riding time. Sure we can attach lights and ride in the dark. And if you bundle up with enough clothes, you can stay warm enough to ride, even to sub-zero temps, not that I do much of that more then riding to work. The only other option is to ride a trainer or rollers indoors.

Indoor riding is a great way to stay in shape, and even possibly build some fitness. But it can be really boring. I mean really boring. Sure you can crank up the tunes. That works for a bit. In the old-school days, we would pop in a tape of races we taped off the TV in the summer. Now you can pop in a dvd or load some You-Tube clips. If you are really motivated, you can even set up structured workouts based on heart rate, cadence, perceived exertion, power or any combination.

The Sufferfest has put together videos that combine race/ride footage, music and a structured workout. All in one package.

“A Very Dark Place” is 50 minutes of suffering. If you've ever watched other trainer workout videos, you usually get a nice coach telling you to go hard or ease up at certain points in the ride. Good, but not always motivational. The Sufferfest videos throws that out the window and motivates you by occasionally putting you down and egging you on.

The music matches the intensity, and the soundtrack for “A Very Dark Place” is indie rock. It works well and keeps your interest. But I do tend to like more electronic/industrial or even dance/rave for riding rollers.

The structure of the workout starts with a warm-up, a couple 30 second sprint efforts, and 5x 4 minute very high intensity intervals with 3 minutes each to recover, and a 4 minute cool down.

I did my Sufferfest riding 3.5 inch rollers. I should have rolled up a towel and placed it under the rear drum for added intensity. All through the video they have cadence/intensity cues, and it didn't really match up to my workout. This is in no way the fault of Sufferfest. A stationary trainer with resistance or variable resistance would work great. Crank that intensity up and you're good to go. But for me, even if I was in the biggest chainring/smallest cog combo, I wasn't able to get the intensity high enough with the lower cadences.

Clicky to see full size
The above chart of my workout shows my heartrate with cadence over time. You can see the distinct intervals, but they didn't rise up as hard as they should have.

The 50 minutes went by very quicly. I was concerned that the 4 minute intervals would be impossible to keep going thru. The other day, I did a workout with just an iPod and a general idea of some sort of intervals. I only had 3 to do, and the last one I wasn't able to hold for the full time. But with the added motivational cues of the Sufferfest and great video footage, I was working hard, but each change in intensity came up quickly.

If you are looking for a way to stay motivated to ride the trainer indoors check out The Sufferfest videos. It may not be the same as riding outdoors, but at least it makes the suffering bearable.

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