sufferfest: at least they’re honest



Crash Course: Sufferfest is a downloadable video series featuring follow-along spin workouts set to footage from professional cycling races. Off Road DC hosts a workout every Sunday dedicated to one of these videos, and the class is extremely popular. Show up between 2 – 2:30 p.m. for an optional warmup, and the “suffering” begins at 2:30 on the dot. This is a great option for any experience level, from cyclists who want to get out of the cold to beginners who want to see what the video is all about. Need another incentive? Through January, use the code RESOLUTIONS to get 20% off class prices.


[left]where: Off Road DC

bring: two water bottles

perks: water refills during class, fresh towels, look and spd pedals

sweat score: 9 out of 10[/left][right]wear: recommend spandex shorts, bike shoes optional

instructor: Colleen

cost: drop in rate is $20[/right][line]

Sufferfest. Sounds like just the kind of thing you want to do on a Sunday afternoon, right? But walk into the spin studio at Off Road DC and you’ll be surprised at just how many folks elect to make this two hour pain-train a regular part of their weekend schedule. In fact, this class was completely sold out a day in advance, so if you want to try it out I recommend signing up early. An optional 30 minute warm up starts at 2 p.m. and the Sufferfest video begins at 2:30 p.m. I arrived at 2:25 to a packed house and took a seat on the only bike left: the one right in front. Oh joy.


So what is Sufferfest? It’s a video series that takes riders through a simulated race course using footage from pro cycling events. Think of it as a spin class with video entertainment. Some of the classes focus on intervals, others are all about climbing big hills, or there are some that offer a grab bag of training techniques. The workout is broken down step by step on the screen, and a little timer in the corner shows riders target cadence and effort during each phase. See?


The particular video playing in class today was called, “There is no Try.” It was 60 minutes long, interval heavy, and featured film from the Tour de France. Check out a video preview from the Sufferfest website here. I took a shot of the full workout breakdown so you can see what we did:


The owners walked around and helped refill water bottles during the class so riders didn’t have to hop off their bikes to hydrate. Awesome service! They did this at Studio S in Cincinnati and I thought it was a helpful touch. And there was an instructor on hand to lead us through the workout and provide a bit of encouragement through the “suffering.” Thanks Colleen!


To be honest, despite the name, it was a really enjoyable way to get in a spin workout and I’d go back in a heartbeat. I really liked having the video to follow along to, the footage of France was beautiful and blissfully distracting, and the music was fun and upbeat. From what I could gather from the other cyclists, they enjoyed it too. And this wasn’t a class full of pro-cycling junkies, either. It was a great mix of everyone from beginners who wanted to try the video-spin-class environment to amateur cyclists who wanted to escape the cold.


Also, I was SO HUNGRY after class that I had to dig into these almond pecan clusters I had hanging out in my backpack from a previous crash. I guess an hour and a half of sweating like crazy will do that to you. So if you go to Sufferfest, bring some rations or have a plan of action for refueling after.

Also, if you can’t make it out to Off Road on Sundays but want to try Sufferfest, you can also download the Sufferfest videos for $13 and use them at home on your bike trainer or at the gym. Click here for more information. If you try one and love it, let me know!


Two hour sufferfest spin: crazy or crazy fun?


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