Sufferfest Elements of Style Review
Elements of Style: Suffering in Style
The Sufferfest is at it again. Looking for ways to cause you pain and misery with a single goal in mind: to make you the best cyclist you can be. This time they teamed up with Cycling Tips to create a unique video, The Elements of Style.
I got my hands on a review copy of the Sufferfest Elements of Style in order to help out Cycling Tips with their review. It was a conflict of interest for them to do a review of their own product so they got some help and I was lucky enough to be able to do it.
What’s it About?
The Sufferfest Elements of Style is a 40 minute training video that runs you through a number of drills to improve on bike positioning and pedaling. The video’s goal is to help you make suffering look effortless by improving your technique. Narrated by commentator Carlton Kirby, The Elements of Style uses beautiful footage from The Sufferfest/Cycling Tips vault.
This is not your average trip to Sufferlandia. With a more relaxed feel you get an opportunity to do some sightseeing in what turns out to be the beautiful Sufferlandia countryside. It is quite a difference from your normal visits when you can only see a little light at the end of a dark tunnel.Steeped in Sufferlandian lore, The Elements of Style feels like you are being initiated into an ancient secret society who are bestowing centuries of their secrets upon you. This secret society developed these methods for making suffering look effortless as part of their resistance against Sufferlandia’s neighbours and arch-foes, Couchlandria. And now they are sharing these secrets with you so you can continue the struggle against Couchlandria.
I never considered riding my bike to be an ab workout until I did this video. The importance of maintaining a strong core is emphasized throughout and you can feel it by the end, especially if you have a weak core like me. Those reminders to keep the core tight were part of the important Systems Check.The Systems Check was a handy checklist that started at the feet and went up to the head to make sure you were positioned correctly and relaxed. It really got me to think about my whole body on the bike not just my legs. I realized that I tense up in my shoulders when the going gets tough so I will definitely be taking the Systems Check with me off the trainer and onto the road.
The Sufferfest Elements of Style starts off by breaking down the pedal stroke and running through some drills to get you thinking about it. It was a different way to think about things and it was at times difficult to focus on one quarter of the pedal stroke and contract the right muscles. I think most riders could benefit from the pedaling drills.
My only criticism of The Sufferfest Elements of Style is that it might have been too relaxing. Sure, towards the end the drills did pick up in intensity but it was nowhere near the level of traditional Sufferfest videos. The combination of Carlton Kirby’s soothing voice and the beautiful Sufferlandia scenery was extremely relaxing. I often became too relaxed which, along with the absence of the traditional gunshot signal, frequently lead to me missing the start of the intervals despite them being boldly labelled on the screen.
Overall, I though The Sufferfest Elements of Style to be a great video and I would definitely recommend it. The Sufferfest and Cycling Tips did a good job in putting together a beautiful looking video that is also extremely helpful. The main take away I got from this video is the System Check and I think I will continue to use this video as part of my trainer sessions this winter. I think it is the perfect addition to those long base workouts to help improve with your technique so that by the time you are back out on your local roads you will be suffering in style.