Some things must be done.
Some things only you can do.
Some things can only be done one way.
As a Knight Of Sufferlandria, our glorious Nation, I must continuously improve and seek Glory. The path is painful, challenging, and miserable - but I won't have it any other way.
Seeking perpetual improvement demands higher and higher goals.
And now, at the foothills of my personal Mt. Sufferlandria, a lumpy mound awaits.
This bump in the road, a virtually snow-capped knoll of sorts, goes by "Alpe du Zwift" in the patois.
And, on June 9th, I'm going to ride it no less than 10 times.
Such a feat will get credit both for a vEveresting, as well as a 10K Everesting, AKA "High Rouleur's Society".
These past 12 weeks I've been training for a 100 mile (160km) race with The Sufferfest. As part of this plan, I've ridden multiple centuries, imperial and metric, and spent over 6 hours on the longest rides.
So far, the training program I started towards the end of March has clocked over 4000km in 125 hours. I'd say the base is there.
...As opposed to riding the Alpen Brevet 2018 after training for only ~45 hours and 1000km after a three-year hiatus... What a miserably glorious day that was.
In any case, even with the current base and fitness level, riding a week's volume (time-wise) in a single ride will test one's endurance, to say the least.
I'm not worried at all about the physical effort, as after all, I've been training for a race, not an endurance ride.
I've also ridden ~10 hours in Feb for my Knighthood, although that was in ERG mode and frankly felt more demanding physically than a solid Z2 ride (I hope!).
The challenge here is comfort, and endurance of pain, more than anything.
I know how to eat on long rides, I know how to drink and keep myself focused. Everything under my control is known and planned for. The fitness is there, no doubt at all.
The creeping pain in the butt, the shortened hamstring ligaments, that old shoulder reconstruction... as those start to creep into consciousness after 6 hours or so - is when the challenge truly begins.
"I don't count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they're the only ones that count." - Muhammad Ali
The plan is to maintain high Z2, just around 2.7 w/kg, which will take me up the Alpe in about 73 minutes.
Slow, but sustainable. My PR is forty-something minutes, but that's another matter altogether.
The descents are freewheeling/breaks of about 10 minutes, making 10 laps (9.7 for the 10K, but I'll do 10 reps) a ~14-15 hour ordeal: https://bit.ly/3cvmbHz
Who knows? I might also lose that extra 1kg by next week and could then ride a little faster (or easier!).
In any case, I think I will embark on this journey after a good night's sleep, and ride through the day to the evening. Sleeping less and having a super early morning is always a taxing experience, and I'd rather be fully charged for this one.
I've also invested in a 32T cassette because the experience of others is priceless. In the hope I never need it, it's good to know it is there. I also expect that the rocker plate will make it smoother and more enjoyable than a fixed configuration.
Failure is not an option. Even if the computer crashes, I can submit the ride to HELLS500 as separate/stitched files for recognition. I might be bummed about not getting the Zwift Everesting Badge, but it doesn't mean anything anyway. Since there's no time limit, even if there's a technical issue, I can and will complete the challenge.
So now, I'm already thinking about the next challenge - the next bump in the road on my path to Mt. Sufferlandria. While this week is all about recovery and priming, I'm excited and looking forward to blazing past another milestone.
If you're visiting Watopia on Tuesday, come to say hi :)