The Sufferfest: The Wretched Review
There comes a time in every cyclists’ season when the gluttony of an extra spoon of sugar in the coffee or a cheeky pain au chocolat or three over the winter catches up with them and something snaps. When that happens and the balance of treacle sponge versus training regime swings towards the more energetic activities THESUFFERFEST are always round the corner waiting to pounce give you a darn good seeing to… and this time it’s no different!
THE WRETCHED works on the premise that you’ve had a terrible season, under performed at every race and the team are in desperate need of a win at the Tour de France. Unfortunately the French have gone on strike and in order to get the stage done, the TDF powers that be are going to condense the 7 hour stage into just 35 minutes, something that sounds ridiculous but you never know these days! After a quick warm up powered by the strange but enchanting rock sound of Banstead band Redados you reach the top of Box Hill, which featured in the Olympic Road Race. It was great to see the Box Hill climb in a Sufferfest video as I’ve ridden it many times and is fairly local to me, but it also highlighted the hierarchy of the climbs I’ve ridden in real life as this was merely a warm up!
On to the job at hand and all the Sufferlandrian DS had asked is that you follow every break, take the King of the Mountains competition for the day and win in the final sprint. Now if you’ve never ridden THESUFFERFEST before let me tell you it is very similar to real racing, just without the handlebars bashing into you or the crazy noob in front swerving all over the road. Throughout the video there is the feeling that something is about to go off. When you are not attacking, you know that something is going to happen and begin to beg the riders around you to give you a few more seconds respite before it all goes off again.
Some slick new graphics and the great choice of music (as always) make this video one that you will love to hate from the word go. The music, all by bands that I’ve never heard of and frankly probably wouldn’t have done if they weren’t Sufferlandrian national treasures is one of two main driving forces behind this video. Everyone’s had that feeling at some stage where music cuts deep into your soul. A ballad you attribute to the ups and downs of your first love. The rock anthem that swells and makes you feel invincible. Or the fun summer tune that stays in your head for months and makes you dream of beaches and cold beer. This video has them all and with the change of scene comes a change of music and each time you get a new song you thank Merckx as it just fits so beautifully and either soothes those muscles as you briefly recover or drives you on like a lunatic.
The other noticeable driving force behind The Wretched is the use of such recent Tour de France race footage. Taking officially licensed footage from the 2012 Tour de France makes this video a delight to watch whilst your legs feels like they are about to fall off. As with the on-screen stars of most of THESUFFERFEST videos, over the 35 minutes of pain I grew to hate Cadel Evans who backs you into the pain cave and then sets the wolves on you. Any stage that finishes with a 3 man battle between Tommy Voekler, Michele Scarponi and Jens Voigt has got to have been a tough one and this training video definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Having been an avid ‘Fest lunatic for some time now I’ve done my fair share of roller riding in front of the TV and would definitely say this is up there with the toughest of the videos that have emerged from the depths of THESUFFERFEST pain cave. There is a great range of videos in the series now with editions covering all aspects of racing and something to suit everyone. There will always be the classics, the favourite videos but if you are about to buy your first training video and get on the road to glory make THE WRETCHED your first buy and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be flogged, abused and left crying in a pile in the corner, but you won’t be left wanting.
Another double LovingTheBike thumbs up to THESUFFERFEST team!