Experiencing The Sufferfest’s ‘The Wretched’
We couldn’t be more stoked for two additions to the team: Marlene and The Sufferfest. But when those worlds collide, we’re not sure if they get along so much. We’ll see if this no-drama policy holds for these two.
I woke up at 5:45 AM this morning. Scrunching open an eye, I noticed it was still dark outside and rolled over to go back to sleep. But suddenly it hit me and I quickly sat up, this was training day. I can’t loiter in bed this morning.
I jumped up, launching a cat off the bed and headed to the kitchen to grab a snack before the video started. No, not popcorn. It’s not that kind of video. I gulped a few mouthfuls of my favorite Naked Juice, Green Machine. I knew I would need the carbs to make it through this Sufferfest. Wishing I was wearing my Naked Women’s team kit from Curve, I entered the torture chamber. After installing my bike onto my Cascade FluidPro trainer, I started the fan, booted up the computer, and nervously awaited the start of my ride.
Apparently I’ve been fluffing my training, The Wretched explained to me. I wasn’t living up to my potential. This was my chance to redeem myself. I would be racing against the best, and I had to win enough bus fare to pay for my trip home to Sufferlandria or I would be walking. I had 48 minutes to prove my worth. My cats walked by and snickered at me. They had no faith.
The video kicked in with encouraging music. My warm up period. This was nice. A steady pace to get the body moving. What was I nervous about? After seven minutes, I was headed to the start line. A Tour de France stage compacted into 35 minutes, just for me. What’s 35 minutes? Anyone can handle that, right? I started to relax.
As I hit the first ascent, I felt good. I had this under control. That is, until The Wretched commanded, “ATTACK! Stand UP! Don’t let them get away!” Not one to argue, I jumped in with an RPE of 8. A minute later, I was told to ease off and sit down. That wasn’t so bad, I thought. But once again, “ATTACK!” I was back up out of my seat and climbing. I was breathing hard, trying to hold on, going for QOM. But The Wretched sadly informed me that I didn’t make it. To enjoy the downhill and to remember that I needed to earn my bus fare home. And then a brief warning, get ready for the next ascent.
This video had me standing, climbing, sprinting, down in my drops and leaning into the curves. I wanted the QOM on this next climb. There was no way I was walking back to Sufferlandria. So I sucked the tires of Cadel and Tejay. They tried to break away, but I stuck with them. I felt like I was going to lose my precious gulps of Green Machine. I glanced down next to my bike and noticed a bucket sitting there while my cats curled up nearby, smugly watching me suffer. “CLIMB!” The Wretched demanded. And so I did. And I took KOM. I was informed that I had just earned enough money to cover bus fare home.
But forget the bus fare, now it was time to go for the glory and win the stage!
The final climb was pure agony. I begged Alberto to pull me to the top, but he was too slow so I had to drop him. I was suffering. I was standing and climbing, climbing and standing. There seemed to be no end to the torture. The floor was glistening with my sweat and tears. I dug deep. “Find your courage,” The Wretched ordered. And when I thought I had no more to give, there he was. Jens. Right in front of me. He looked over his shoulder and saw me, and the sprint to the finish was ON. “You’re going down, Jens!” I screamed. My cats were pumping their little kitty paws in the air. My neighbor in the apartment below was banging on her ceiling, but I didn’t care. This stage was mine! My RPE was a 10. I was laying it all out there. I was going to be the hero of Sufferlandria. And just when I thought I had no more to give, I crossed the finish line. In. First. Place.
With a towel thrown over my shoulder, I pedaled easily. I wondered if it was too early for champagne, while I listened to the cheers of the adoring crowd. A warm feeling of satisfaction quickly overcame the memory of suffering. I looked out my apartment window to see a few snowflakes floating lazily down.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a bus to catch.