The Knights of Sufferlandria (The Knighthood) challenge is the mere act of getting on the turbo trainer and cycling 10 back-to-back Sufferfest videos, taking around 10hrs to complete. Any of their videos are fair game expect of the two shortest (The Long Scream and The Extra Shot). The actual rules for any attempt are here
I’ll be attempting to be Knighted on the 2nd of May 2020, this blog is a little bit of how I’m preparing for the challenge.
A challenge always starts with WHY
I’m supporting the Trussell Trust as part of this challenge – The Trussell Trust provide a nationwide network of food banks, offering emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, as well as campaigning to end the need for food banks in the UK. In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. The use of food banks increased 19% last year, and by 73% over the last 5 years.
Food banks shouldn’t have to exist is the first place, but sadly they do and they will face an unprecedented challenge in the coming weeks and months – we need to make sure that the people unable to afford the essentials can get the help they need, when they need it.
Rightly, people are concerned for their own and their loved ones welfare, shopping is getting harder, people are loosing their jobs or having their hours and their wages reduced – frankly its a rubbish time to fundraise. But, we are our best selves when we think of others, when we act as a community and support those who need to be lifted up the most. The way in which we have shopped has changed dramatically and as such donations to food banks continue to reduce – just giving a few pounds can ensure that emergency food and support continues to be provided where it is needed most. Sadly, that need is only going to grow as the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt.
Please, DONATE, and help The Trussell Trust to support those in most need
Next comes the ‘how‘
We in the UK, like many others around the world, are in lockdown, so its a good time to take on these indoor challenges and I’ve had my eye on this one for a while now.
Each Sufferfest Video is a high intensity workout designed to push you to ride beyond your FTP (the effort or watts you can put in over an hour of riding), test your body and your mental strength. The Sufferfest, like many of the other training apps like Zwift or TrainerRoad, are designed to allow cyclists to put maximum effort in over a shorter period of time while indoors – they’ve become a staple winter training tool for many and have arguably become more popular due to the current challenging circumstances.
My FTP, based on the recent 4DP test, is 249 – its fair to say trying to complete 10 of the Sufferfest Videos at my FTP would be insanity. So, I’m planning to dial this back to 80% for the majority of the workouts, 75% in the case of The Downward Spiral and Nine Hammers (both of which involve a lot of sprint efforts), of my current. This means the challenges will be based on an FTP of 199.
I appreciate that might seem a bit technical to non-cyclists but I like to be really clear about what I’m doing
As part of my long term goals, I’ve been training for a number of ultra distance cycling races this year, which have now either been postponed or cancelled, so I’d like to think my base fitness is pretty good – I managed to get in a 240 mile ride in just before we got locked down. So, with the support of my coach at Spokes, I’ve focused my efforts on getting ready for both the time in the saddle and the repeated intensity of the workouts.
In terms of the technology I’ll be using, I’m low tech – I’ve got a dumb / wheel on / friction turbo trainer. Unlike the more expensive smart trainers it doesn’t adjust the resistance to simulate gradients or allow you to freewheel, so there will be no let up, I have to be pedalling all the time. Sufferfest will record the details of each workout, however to ensure I record the challenge as a whole I’ll use my Wahoo Elemnt and the lap function to accurately record (and stick to) the 10 minute breaks between.
Other than that, I’ll be relying on high quality kit to see me, and my peach, through this 10hr plus challenge. I’ll be wearing the dhb Aeron turbo shorts with a rather liberal application of the equally excellent Veloskin chamois cream (get 10% off your order by using the code GUY10). I won’t be going in for loads of changes of clothes and socks (the headband will require frequent changes however), I want to focus more on refuelling in the breaks.
So, here’s my kit grid for the day;
Fuelling the body
Cycling indoors is a very different experience to being outside and on a challenge such as this hydration is going to be a vital part of how successful this will be. Over the last few weeks I’ve been testing myself and my fuelling strategy.
I’ll be drinking a mix of water, electrolytes and a homemade Beta Fuel mix. The key really is getting fuel in to your body no matter how, so the high carbohydrate mix in the beta fuel will be deployed towards the second half of the challenge.
Food-wise, I’ll be opting for a mix of real food – PBJ and Cheese & Marmite sandwiches, nuts and raisins, flapjacks – and some pre-packaged Tribe Bars. These are all things I know I can easily digest (I suffer from IBS so relying on gels for example is just not an option for me).
As part of the process I’ll be recording my weight at both pre and post challenge. Not because this is about weight loss, but I want to share how much we suffer and also to inform my recovery, for every gram of weight lost I need to drink 1ml of water to ensure I help my body to recover quickly.
The 10 minute ‘golden window’
Between each workout you are allowed a break of no more than 10 minutes, which if you can be efficient is quite a lot of time really. So, how do I plan to use it? Based on what others have done there seems to be a fairly sensible ‘routine’ to take, which will be;
- Press ‘Lap’ on my Wahoo (this is then my timer for the break)
- Load the next Sufferfest video
- Change / refill water bottles
- Go to the toilet
- Stretch, walk around & eat
- Get back on the bike
- Start the next Sufferfest video
- Press ‘Lap’ on my Wahoo (and then repeat 8 more times)
Not much to it, but it should keep me on track.
I’ve tried to create a mix of speed, climbing and racing videos, although having tested the first 4 last weekend I’m regretting the choice to have The Downward Spiral and Nine Hammers together, at 80% those were two brutal workouts.
But hey, this wouldn’t be the challenge it is if I wasn’t suffering for it, right?
Follow the challenge
I’ll be posting regular updates through out the day on my social channels, so please do like, comment and share and help me raise my £500 target for The Trussell Trust!
DONATE AT – https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/theknighthood
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/guystapleford_ultra/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/milesforwishes
Twitter – https://twitter.com/miles4wishes
Finally, a thank you
These challenges are only possible with the support of my team and partners, who so very gratefully support what I do, so thank you.