The Tour of Sufferlandria (ToS) is the Greatest Grand Tour of a Mythical Nation in the world! Riders from all over the world gather their courage in their Bicycle Torture Chambers (BTC) to complete the Tour, which showcases the harsh beauty of that tortured country on the shores of the Great Lactic Acid Sea.
This challenge not only challenges physical limitations but is also done in an effort to benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation and its programs to help those affected by Parkinson's Disease. The ToS Official Patrons are none other than Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter. Sufferlandrians all over the world have raised over one million dollars since the first Tour began in 2013.
If you haven't ridden the Tour of Sufferlandria and are wondering what to expect, read on.
How It Works
- Register by donating $15 USD to the Davis Phinney Foundation through the Tour of Sufferlandria event page. By registering, you automatically earn one chance to win from the extensive prize pool.
- For every additional $10 you donate or fundraise, you earn one additional chance in the prize pool. So for example, if you register with the initial $15 donation and raise or donate an additional $100, that gives you 11 chances to win. Even better: Start a fundraising page and ask your friends to donate to your cause.
- For seven days in a row, ride the workouts that are part of the Official Route on the designated days in the Wahoo SYSTM app.
- Make your Race Bib and wear it proudly!
- Load Your Plan in the SYSTM app.
- Want to be a part of the community? Join the SYSTM Forum. It's the Official Race Village where challenges are made, tales of glory are shared, and prizes are lusted after. Not required, but totally worth it!
- Tune in for our live sessions for each stage of the Tour
- When it's all over, if you completed all of the stages on the designated days, you’ll earn the Tour of Sufferlandria badge in your virtual trophy case.
- One week after the Tour ends, we’ll tally all the donations and randomly select winners for the prize pool. Remember, the more you fundraise, the more chances you have to win.
The Tour of Sufferlandria is a chance for the community to come together to help make a difference. It's fun, it's challenging, and you’ll earn the chance to win some amazing prizes. Most importantly, it's a chance to raise money for the Davis Phinney Foundation and their programs that help those affected by Parkinson’s.
What You Need:
- A stationary bike, turbo trainer, or rollers
- A subscription to the Wahoo SYSTM Training App
- A device that’s compatible with SYSTM (Windows, Android, iOS, or MacOS)
- Register and make at least a $15 USD donation to the Davis Phinney Foundation
- Complete each stage, ideally when it starts and ends in your timezone, though you do have a 50-hour window
The Tour Prep Plans
The coaches at Wahoo Sports Science create a series of Tour Prep Training Plans each year to help you get ready for the demands of the Tour. You will be able to find them in the Training Plans library in the SYSTM app and apply them directly to your calendar. Once the official route is announced, we'll release the Tour Route plan that you can also apply to your calendar so you know which workouts to do on each day.
You can tailor the volume of the plan to suit how much time you have to train. You'll also be able to add optional yoga, strength training, and mental training sessions.
Four Ways to Ride The Tour
The Tour is one of the toughest physical challenges you can take on. But *exactly* how tough it should be depends on what the Tour means to you, your experience level, and whether you’re using the Tour as a springboard to other goals.
So everyone can ride the Tour, regardless of fitness, experience or circumstance, Wahoo Sports Science coaches Neal Henderson and Mac Cassin have developed four different ways to ride the Tour. You'll be able to choose your option when you apply the Tour of Sufferlandria Stages plan to your calendar in the SYSTM app.
1. The Money-Raising Option
Take this option if: You can’t do all the stages but you really want to be part of the fun. Maybe life just isn’t going to let you do the full Tour this year. Don’t let life stop you. You won't get the badge in the app, but you're ok with that -- just pick a few stages that you can ride, ride them however you can and start raising money for the Davis Phinney Foundation. You’ll have a blast, be part of the fun, and you can heckle the other riders from the sidelines of the stages you’re not riding.
Coach Neal says to expect the following with this option:
- Intense personal satisfaction from raising money for a worthy cause.
- Increased confidence from nailing a few stages of the Tour with an eye to a full completion in 2023.
2. The Get-Me-Through-It Option
You want to prove to yourself that you can take on something big and finish it off. You want challenge, but you need to do it on your own terms. You know, most professional cyclists riding the Grand Tours do the same thing - they target a few stages that suit their strengths and try to conserve energy on others. In this option, you should identify the stages you want to ride at 100%. These can be whatever stages you like, but should be ones you’re highly motivated to perform on. Space them out so you can recover in-between on the other stages, which you should ride at lower intensity (70-90% depending on how you’re feeling). Push yourself, but don’t lose sight that your main goal is to just get it done.
Coach Neal says you can expect the following if you take this option:
- Nutrition and recovery will still be key, but need particular attention the day before and on your targeted stages.
- You’ll need to be mentally up to the task of lifting your game on target days, so try something like the focus exercise in the Mental Training Program.
- You will still have good and bad days. If you get to a target stage and your legs aren’t up to the challenge, either fight through it to learn how you cope in such a situation or change the plan and target another stage.
3. The Focused Option
Choose this option if: You want to ride a good Tour, but don’t want it to compromise any goals you might have a little further down the road. You want a mix of all-out stages and reduced intensity stages. This plan will ensure that you nail the stages that matter most for your continued improvement.
Coach Neal says to expect the following with this option:
- You might find it frustrating to keep the intensity low(er) on days when you feel great, but rest assured the Tour will still grind you down...but not so much that you won’t rise again for your goals down the road.
- It’s still going to be really hard, so it’s critical to stay on top of nutrition, hydration and rest/recovery since you’ll be riding 7 days straight.
4. The NUCLEAR OPTION
Take this option if: You’ve been waiting for the chance to destroy yourself and this is it. This is the Tour at 100% from the start, holding that as long as you can before you spectacularly burst into flames. And you will burst into flames. But, as a Sufferlandrian, you’ll pick up the ashes, mix them with a bit of Real Pagne and Holy Water, form it into a shape resembling you and do it all over again. Glorious.
Here’s what Coach Neal says you can expect if you take the Nuclear Option:
- Nutrition and recovery are going to be critical. Pay extra attention to what you’re eating and drinking, build recovery into your schedule and make sure you get lots of sleep. Progressive decline in power output over the duration of the Tour. It’s expected and its OK because...
- ...you’re going to experience epic, epic, epic levels of Suffering. This makes it a…
- ...real mental challenge. Which, if you’re considering a post-Tour Knighthood, will be a useful exercise.
- Full recovery from the Tour will likely take at least 7 to 10 days or possibly more, depending on your baseline fitness at the beginning of the Tour.
- With a training overload this big, some people might not see as much of a fitness increase as possible due to the extreme nature of the Nuclear Tour.
- Lastly, your immune system is going to take a hit, increasing your risk of upper respiratory tract infection. So take care of yourself and pay extra attention to hygiene in public settings (wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands).
No matter what option you take, don’t forget two very important things:
- Every stage is open as long as it is that day somewhere on Earth. That means there is a 50-hour window for every stage. Use that window wisely to help gain some additional rest.
- Whatever option you choose is yours alone. You don’t need to tell anyone what option you’re on, there will be no categories of riders and no competition. All we care about is that you push yourself and are proud of your accomplishment.
Getting Your Spot Ready
Take some time to set up your trainer station with everything you’ll need for the week. At a bare minimum you’ll need your bike, trainer, and a device with SYSTM installed. Other possible additions include:
- A fan to keep you cool
- A towel
If you haven’t used the app before, don’t wait until the start of the Tour. The SYSTM Help Center has a wealth of information regarding minimum hardware requirements, tips on connecting devices, and basic troubleshooting.
We highly recommend going through the following checklist:
- If you want to connect heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, or power meters to the app to capture performance data, make sure you have everything you need to allow the app to talk to your sensors (ANT+ USB2 dongles, any adapters if necessary).
- If your trainer station doesn’t have good internet connectivity, download the videos for the next stage the night before the start. That will prevent any interruptions that might be caused by streaming issues.
- If you have a smart trainer, make sure the firmware is up to date. Contact the manufacturer for additional information.
If you have a power meter, smart trainer, or conventional trainer set up for virtual power, take the Full Frontal fitness test a few days before the Tour and get your complete 4DP® profile. Designed to determine your Neuromuscular Power, Maximal Aerobic Power, Functional Threshold Power and Anaerobic Capacity, Full Frontal will allow the app to customize all of the power targets to match your unique 4DP™ values. If you’re using a trainer where your rear tire is in contact with the trainer, buying a spare tire (or a trainer-specific tire) is a good idea.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Let me get this right. The Tour of Sufferlandria is simply donating $15 to the Davis Phinney Foundation and then doing the specified workouts over 7 days?
You got it.
Is it a race?
No. It is simply you against yourself to see whether you can push yourself for 7 days. We believe you can.
Where does it take place?
In the SYSTM app.
How do I know what stages to do?
We'll provide details of the Official Route about a month before the start of the Tour. You can also apply the Tour Stages training plan to your calendar in the SYSTM app.
How do I sign up?
You register by making a $15 donation to our partner charity, The Davis Phinney Foundation through the Official Tour Registration Page (coming soon). For every additional $10 you donate, you’ll earn another chance to win one of the amazing prizes in our prize pool. As an incentive to kickstart your fundraising efforts, for every $10 you raise or donate up until the start of the Tour gives you TWO chances.
You're raising money for what?
For the Davis Phinney Foundation, which helps people with Parkinson's Disease lead better lives. Read all about them below.
Can I donate money, not ride any of the Tour and still be eligible for prizes?
Can I raise funds and get other people to donate in my name and then I earn more prizes?
Yes. When you register through the Davis Phinney Foundation event page, you’ll have the option to set up your own personal fundraising page. Send the link to that to everybody you know and even people you don't know. Get them to support you and this cause.
Do I have to do the stages at 100%?
No. Unless you want to. There will be different options depending upon your goals. You can choose your option when you apply the Tour Stages plan (coming mid-January). Adjusted intensities will automatically be made for you.
For stages with more than one workout, do I have to do the sessions back-to-back?
Tour purists would say yes. But we understand that not everyone has the luxury of doing each day's stage in one session. As long as you complete the workouts included in a given stage within the 50-hour window, you're golden.
Do I have to do the stages on the exact dates?
You actually have a 50 hour window in which to do each stage thanks to the wonder of a round planet and multiple time zones. To feel part of the Tour experience, we strongly encourage you to ride the stage during that window.
How do I get the Tour of Sufferlandria Badge in the app?
To get the badge, you have to do each stage in the app within the 50-hour window.
Do I have to have the Wahoo SYSTM Training App to complete the Tour?
What kind of bike do I need for this? Can I do it on rollers?
As long as you can do the workouts, we don’t care what kind of machine you use.
Can I post graphs of the data from my rides in the SYSTM Forum?
We far prefer that you post pictures of you Suffering. We're all doing the stages, we all know the route profiles and we all know how the data looks. We're already proud of you for doing the stage and we really don't want to see your data. But if you really insist on boring everyone to tears, then go ahead and post your graphs BUT YOU MUST:
- Make your post funny
- Donate an additional $10 to the Davis Phinney Foundation
After The Tour: What Now?
Assuming you survive all seven stages, you're probably wondering, what now? Here are a few recommendations for what you should do after the Tour:
- Donate to our charitable partners, the Davis Phinney Foundation, and help to make the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease a little easier.
- Tell the world about the massive goal you’ve just achieved by getting the word out on social media.
- Give yourself a week to recover, then test yourself by completing the Full Frontal fitness test again to get your new 4DP® profile. If you completed Full Frontal in the week before the Tour, you'll most likely see quantifiable differences in your fitness. If you didn’t complete Full Frontal before the Tour, now’s a great time to see exactly who you are as a cyclist, your strengths and weaknesses, and to start training with personalized power targets.
- Start one of our SYSTM training plans. Designed by world-renowned coaches Neal Henderson and Mac Cassin of The Wahoo Sports Science Division (and available for riders of all levels), these plans are tailored to your 4DP® profile to provide maximum benefit with minimum time.
- Start planning for the 2023 Tour. It's never too early.
Our Charitable Partners
The Davis Phinney Foundation is committed to supporting programs and research that deliver inspiration, information and tools that will enable people living with Parkinson’s to take more control in managing their disease. The DPF was founded in 2004 by Olympic medalist and cycling great, Davis Phinney, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2000 at the age of 40.
Davis has an impressive palmares, including two stage wins at the Tour de France. His wife, Connie Carpenter, was the 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist in the first Women’s Road Race and a World Champion on the track. Davis set up the Davis Phinney Foundation to help those affected by Parkinson’s disease.