I will beat my ass today, to kick yours tomorrow.

Video2009-11-14_15-59-42.jpg

This is what I awoke to today, winter on the Colorado Front Range. So far it has not been so bad, but day to day it is hard to tell if it is going to be warm and nice or cold and nasty. We already had a 30 inch snow fall which melted away in a few days with 60 degree temps. Since then the weather has been mild and mostly in the 60-70 degree range and aside from being a bit windy it has been great cycling weather.

Well all that has changed today. No way I was going to be out in the cold wet rain and snow mix, so I whipped out the new Sufferfest workout called the Downward Spiral. Downward Spiral is the seventh edition of the Sufferfest workout videos. Last winter Sufferfest helped me build up some power and shed a few pounds during the times it was too cold or wet to be riding outside. The Sufferfest videos provide motivational eye candy and upbeat music to what is otherwise a mundane, boring, uncomfortable, hot, uninspiring indoor cycling workout (if you don’t get the hint, I hate indoor trainer workouts).

My approach this year to indoor training is a bit more targeted with the help of my Cycleops PowerBeam trainer. I can do power based training, setting the thresholds for power that I want to be working at. So, if I set it for 300 Watts, when I am turning the pedals the trainer provides 300 Watts of resistance. So the first thing I did before working out to the Downward Spiral was to create a PowerTap workout, which basically is a timing list of what efforts I want to exert through the different intervals on the video. This gave me a preview of the “fun” I was going to have. One thing that should be noted is that I have not used the PowerBeam that often yet, so I don’t have my maximum, sustained, and threshold power numbers dialed in yet. I have done one field test, which afterwards I found the back brake had been rubbing quite a bit, so much the wheel did not coast for more than one or two seconds, so I don’t think that test is very valid.

Anyway, the Downward Spiral starts out with an easy warmup and some fun first person downhill footage to watch. Great fun to watch, especially since I doubt I will ever experience the real thing ‘cause I am a wuss and downhillers seem to be begging for broken bones, but it does look like fun. After a little more than five minutes the tempo picks up to prepare the body for the downward spiraling intervals. There are several visual queues that prompt for the up coming transitions, as well as an audio queue. This is a great improvement over the previous Sufferfest videos. The intervals start and the fun begins with pro race footage. I have to admit initially I may have not gone as hard as I could, mainly because I wanted to make it through the whole workout, but also I don’t think I have the power setting dial in quite like I should on the trainer. However, as the first set progressed I increased my effort and worked up a sweat. I forgot how much I sweat! I made it through the first set of intervals and was happy to have five minutes to recover before doing it again. This section of the workout takes you through some nice mountain biking of the great northwestern U.S. I’d like to check the featured trail out sometime, looked pretty easy and fun, I couldn’t figure out why those guys in the video kept getting off and walking... Anyway, back to the intervals. The second set follows the same methods as the first with a few extra short sprints at the end. I was having some issue with the Powertap unit for part of this set, it kept loosing the signal betwix the head unit and the resistance unit, so I wasn’t able to take full advantage of the second set at first. Finally, made it through the last set and to the final cool down section. Check out the power data from the workout:

2009-11-14_15-59-42.jpg 2009-11-14_15-59-42.jpg 2009-11-14_15-59-42.jpg


I’m looking forward to more challenging, sweaty workouts from The Sufferfest over the winter months to keep me entertained and in shape.

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