For the past eight days I’ve been participating in the Tour of Sufferlandia, a 9 stage turbo trainer tour, covering 12 rides, all of them gruelling sweat fests on a turbo trainer. A stroke of genius from the creators of these vey compelling training videos, The Sufferfest and their associated company Trainer Road who collect data from heart rate and speed and cadence monitors to create a competitive cloud based environment where riders can become Sufferlandians, should their suffering be enough to make it into the club.
Tomorrow is the final 9th stage of the Tour. Here’s a preview of the stage…
You’ve climbed mountains, you’ve broken away, you’ve time trialled yourself into another time zone. All the big names came after you: Evans, Wiggins, Cancellara, Sagen, Boonen, Chavanel, Voeckler, Voigt, Froome, Pooley and Vos. Even Neils Albert went after you! You dispatched them all so far. Your courage has been inspirational. The Minions – the Minions! – they’re screaming your name. The entire Nation of Sufferlandria is behind you now – so close to victory.
And what do we have on the table for this, the last day in our National Tour? Fittingly, nothing less than Local Hero. Today, with leaden legs, but a quickening, enthusiastic heart, you’ll need to get through an 85 minute stage. But this isn’t just any stage: it covers nearly every discipline but track. You’ll need to bring out your cyclocross, criterium, time trialling and circuit road racing skills to be in with a shout. After the initial easy procession, you’ll go head-to-head against Porte, Millar and Cancellara in the TTs and then into five laps of a 3:00 circuit race. Doesn’t sound too hard, until you realise that some of the other guys close on GC, such as Nibali, Gilbert and Evans are all going to be attacking EVERY LAP. When you get near the finish, we’ve got a little twist: you’ll have to sprint, not once, not twice, not three times – but FOUR FREAKING TIMES (as even Bugno, Lemond and Cipollini come after YOUR glory) in order to win the Tour of Sufferlandria Leader’s Jersey.
When that last sprint it over, and you coast across the line, sobbing with relief, we also hope that you did enough to soak up the GLORY and HONOR that comes with THE VICTORY.