The Sufferfest is known for its wry humour and brilliantly brutal indoor rides. However, for the absolute beginner with little experience beyond casually riding their bike, the programme can be quite intimidating to begin. This post is going to present what I believe are five easy Sufferfest videos that are perfect for true beginners.
It’s worth noting that The Sufferfest do have a recommended list of videos for beginners, or rather, those that are new to using The Sufferfest. However, while they’re all great rides – most of them aren’t really suited to complete beginners.
(You can turn down the intensity of rides on The Sufferfest however, a two hour is still a two hour ride.)
Defining a beginner
I want to clarify that this article is written for complete beginners to cycling as a sport. I’m not referring to the person that’s been going on group rides for years and has just got their first indoor trainer. When I say beginner, I mean the person that has never learnt the technicalities of road racing, and is just beginning their cycling journey with only a limited amount of time and fitness available to them.
(If you want to be a little extra technical, a complete beginner may have an average cadence of 50-60 rpm, an FTP of 100 watts or less, and likely have not ridden for more than 30-40 minutes at a time.)
Open: 15 & Recovery Spin
Duration: 15 minutes
Category: Base / Recovery
Training Stress Score: 10
The Open rides, as well as the Recovery Spin, are a few different videos which ask for a consistently low power output. They’re all quite similar with duration being the differing factor. None of these rides have that special Sufferfest ‘feel’, but they are without a doubt the easiest videos to start with.
GCN: Ready, Steady, Go
Duration: 22 minutes
Training Stress Score: 21
GCN are known of their wealth of cycling information and YouTube videos. They also occasionally put out indoor rides, and a number of them have been added to The Sufferfest. This short ride is intended to be a warm-up for much longer rides, or used to prepare for more intense rides in the following days. It’s also perfect for those that struggle to ride longer than 30 minutes without a break.
Elements of Style
Duration: 37 minutes
Training Stress Score: 42
Very little challenge to this video that’s more focussed on getting your cycling form correct than it is on getting your heartrate up. I find it less engaging than most Sufferfest videos, but I think it’s an essential ride for newbies.
Getting Away With It
Duration: 44 minutes
Training Stress Score: 45
One of my all-time favourite Sufferfest workouts is also one of the easier videos. Led by Michael Cotty from the Col Collective, this base ride has a fun little story, and some great music to get you through 44 minutes of breath-taking scenery.
A little tip – Sufferfest videos that feature The Col Collective tend to be a little easier. If you’ve gone through this list and want to try other easy Sufferfest videos, looking for something with footage from The Col Collective is a pretty good way to go.
Duration: 29 minutes
Training Stress Score: 39
This is the only proper interval workout (based mostly on Tabata style training) on this list, and I think it’s a great introduction to style of a Sufferfest workout, without necessarily requiring the time commitment. It’s a challenging but not crazy place to start.
Duration: 58 minutes
Category: Fitness Test
Training Stress Score: 42
By virtue of being a fitness test, this video is likely to push you much more than any other video on this list. However as a fitness test, this video (as well as the harder, Full Frontal) is used to calibrate the Sufferfest’s workouts to your fitness levels so I recommend doing it as early as you can in order to get the most out of the Sufferfest.
If you’re comfortable riding for an hour without taking a break, find a day you feel fresh, and give this one a go!
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While you technically can follow along to the Sufferfest’s workouts using a dumb trainer and no additional equipment, it’s very beneficial having a bundle containing speed, and cadence sensors so that you have the basic metrics to improve available to you.
What are your thoughts on this? Any long time Sufferlandrians want to chime in with their easiest Sufferfest videos? Or maybe just your favourites? Comment below and let me know.