Finally have a moment at a computer to write up that I was able to complete my KoS ride this past Saturday. The original post is here if you wish to read the details about this event. With the help of my wife, I was even able to capture the whole thing in this series of photos on my Flickr page.
After reading about other people experience, I decided to dial my FTP down to 75% for the ride. For those that don’t know what that means I’ll try to summarize a bit. I use a bit of software called TrainerRoad when I do indoor rides. This measures my speed, cadence, and heart rate and does some fancy math to estimate how much actual power I am generating (in watts). When you first use TrainerRoad you do an hour long fitness test that gives you a number (your FTP). From there, you can watch Sufferfest videos inside of TrainerRoad, and the software uses your number to calculate how much power you should be putting out at all times, sprints, climbs, recovery, etc. for maximum benefit. Your FTP is based on how much solid effort you should be able to push in an hour, which is essentially one video. Reasoning would say that if I should be able to do 100% of my FTP for an hour, it would be madness to try to hold it for 10. So I dialed back to 75%.
I questioned the strategy at first. The first hour just seemed way too easy. I broke a good sweat and put out a solid effort, but I’m so used to doing 100% I felt like I was cheating a bit. But I stuck to my plan, and good thing… it all goes downhill from here. I managed to hold on good for the first few videos. Luckily, my good friend and frequent riding partner Tyler showed up partway through the third stage (I think). He brought his trainer and bike with him, so he set everything up and joined right in. He hung around for the remainder of that stage and the two following and I can’t overstate how freakin’ cool this was. I owe a tonne to him for helping me out on this journey. Doing the whole thing alone would have been so much harder mentally!
Now we arrive at stage 7. This was my darkest hour! Violator was up and I started to fall apart. If you follow me on TrainerRoad or Strava, you can see my stats really break down here. This was where I wanted to quit. But I did not, I pushed through. While I most certainly did not keep my efforts up to my expected levels, I followed the plan and pushed when I was to push. My sprints might have been crap, but they were sprints nonetheless. After stage 7, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel! You can actually see my stats improve over stages 8, 9, and 10. I frequently got back up to the suggested levels. I feel like I really finished strong and I’m quite proud of that!
Looking back at it all, it was every bit as insane as I thought it would be! The 10 minute break allowed between each stage was ridiculously short. I would get off the bike, set a timer for 9 minutes, take off my shoes, queue the next video, use the restroom, do whatever needed done (change clothes, eat, drink), and sit. The alarm would sound very quickly and it was time to put the shoes back on and climb on the bike. It literally felt like seconds.
My stats didn’t come in quite as high as I had dreamed, I really wanted to go with more effort. But, that was a physical impossibility, I’m apparently not an Olympic level athlete. That being said, I still rode a solid 9 hours and 54 minutes, traveled over 150 miles, burned nearly 6000 calories, and the whole ordeal lasted over 11 hours.
I have to thank my wife the most. She was by my side most of the day, taking time out only to go get her own workout in. She had food at my side, supplements mixed up, water got, whatever I needed. I highly recommend those who travel this path behind me do NOT go it alone. You need a helper! I gotta thank Tyler again for the companionship and motivation. Sufferfest for these videos, although, I’m not sure ‘thank’ is the right sentiment. And all the online community that has developed around this crazy feat. Seeing others posts of accomplishment and encouragement drove me to think this was possible!