Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review; The Sufferfest Downward Spiral

sufferfest image I picked up the Downward Spiral last December, and have been using it as a cross training session most weeks, I had a period of sunny days when I was on the road riding hills but this pretty much has been kicking my ass since then. I guess the clue really is the catchphrase:

“I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow”

So what is the Downward Spiral, well other than a trip through Dante’s 9 levels of hell, although you only actually get to reach level 9, then 10, then 11 in the second half! But I digress. It is a one hour structured ride using race footage and point of view (think helmet cam) from two UCI spring classics Paris-Roubaix and Fleche-Wallone interspersed with some downhill mountain biking from the Slovenian National Team complete with some massive air, a pleasant bimble through the Oregon woods; you can almost smell the pine. Some crazy crit racing from Melbourne, Australia and super cool cooldown with footage from Gorilla Bikes in Zurich, Switzerland. Everything comes complete with a kick ass soundtrack and shall we say some “motivational” verbiage along the way! The structure of hour is as follows

Approx 10mins warm-up featuring two 30 second jumps.

2:00 min interval / 2:00 recovery

1:45 min interval / 1:45 recovery

1:30 min interval / 1:30 recovery

1:15 min interval / 1:15 recovery

1:00 min interval / 1:00 recovery

0:45 sec interval / 0:45 recovery

0:30 sec interval / 0:30 recovery

0:15 sec interval

5:00 recovery

Repeat interval set

4:00 warm-down

Simple right! Oh yeah!

Well in the spirit of a picture is worth a 1000 words consider yourself off the hook! Here’s my SportTracks output from my last ride.

Sufferfest 1_15_10

Now bear in mind I ride a 5-6 year (average at best) old Raleigh on a 4 year old trainer. Need I say more; actually I think I smelt burning during that last set of intervals! Of course you don’t need to turn your lungs inside out riding and you can mix it up and just enjoy the footage and even turn the volume down on your pc and listen to something else, play with it, enjoy it, tame it!

Finally the best thing about this is the price, $9.49, that’s it. It’s a download so you get instant gratification after typing in your digits, there is a class version for $15.49; personally I like to keep my suffering private! It’s optimized for viewing on a pc screen or iPod/iTouch so the download is fairly quick, I’ve watched without issue on 17” MacBook but it works on Windows also. There’s quite a movement sweeping behind the Sufferfest with a website which has a blog and pictures of riders “torture chambers” posted, there is a Facebook page and they’re on Twitter. Brett from Zen and the Art of Triathlon interviews the creator, you can listen to that interview here.

Finally if you need convincing just look at the trailer…

Now if you have made it to the bitter end of this review well done, here’s your chance of a reward. I have two copies of The Downward Spiral to give away. Here is all you have to do. Post answers the following two questions in the comments section. You have till Friday 5pm PST, all the correct answers will be put into a hat and then on Saturday I’ll draw two winners! Enter if you dare!

Question 1 What is the name (name not model) of my road bike, I mention it in my blog…somewhere!?

Question 2 What has a plaque mounted on it to commemorate the winner of the Paris – Roubaix?

I’ll be reviewing the second video Fight Club next month…I am just working up the courage!

This product was purchased. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at quadrathon@gmail.com.


  1. Wait a sec...I see a lot of air space above Z3 in your ST export, I think it's called Z4!

    So much potential in that air.. ;)

  2. 1) Walter
    2) The trophy for Paris Roubaix is a single Pavé (Cobblestone) mounted to a plaque.

  3. Thanks for the review. I never heard of it but you made me curious to check it out. Not that I need any indoor trainer motivation in the middle of summer ... ha, but the next winter will be only a few months away ... :-)

  4. 1) Walter
    2) Shower stalls at Roubaix track have previous winners plaques on them

  5. i have no bike and no trainer, so no entry for moi, but i'm thinking maybe I could use the intervals your listed out for my running. my biking is still horrific, ahh someday

  6. Walter
    Shower Cubicles :-)

    OK. I did something like that last weekend and kicked my arse. I did a descending ladder of 4:1, 3:1, 2:1 5 minutes recovery then all over again. I about DIED! Ha!

    Thanks for the lead. I need to check that one out.

  7. See? I know nothing of the bike situation on your blog, cuz I don't have one.

    Hey....how about a giveaway? LOL


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