Dispatch: Chrysalis–A Kick-Butt Brick Session From Challenge Family And The Sufferfest

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  • Published Feb 6, 2014
  • Updated Feb 13, 2014 at 4:26 PM UTC

This week in “Dispatch,” Holly Bennett previews a new bike/run training video available from the Challenge Family and Sufferfest.

Ten degrees. That was the high yesterday at my home in Lafayette, Colo., a day when it would have been all too tempting to stay glued to the couch. But with a treat in my inbox from The Sufferfest–a link to an all-new training video called Chrysalis, the first in a revolutionary series of triathlon focused bike/run brick workout videos featuring visual highlights from the legendary Challenge Roth–I found it hard to sit still. Instead, I braved blizzard-like conditions walking the two blocks between my apartment and the gym and prepared to hurt so good.

The Sufferfest is well known for their edgy, in your face, humor-spiked and easy-to-follow cycling trainer workout videos. Chrysalis marks the company’s first move into the triathlon realm, a partnership with the Challenge Family event series that promises to deliver inspiring race footage of world-class pros digging deep in triathlon’s most daunting moments. Combine that with killer soundtracks, snarky commentary, motivational missives and carefully crafted training sessions designed by Neal Henderson of Apex Coaching, mentor to numerous elite triathletes and cyclists such as Cameron Dye, Flora Duffy and Taylor Phinney, and Chrysalis delivers in spades.

RELATED: Ready To Suffer?

The gist of Chrysalis is a quadruple brick workout, laid out as a warm-up followed by four sets of eight minutes on the bike and four minutes on the run with a 30-second transition between each block. The workout, which can be viewed on any portable video player, is designed for use on a stationary bike and a treadmill in close proximity to one another. Optional instructions for tailoring the session to road running are included on The Sufferfest’s website. With only a half minute to transition between disciplines you’ll become super speedy at swapping shoes–perfect practice for an actual race–or you can opt to wear your run shoes throughout the hour-long session. Worried about weird looks at the gym as you swiftly switch from bike to run and back, over and over again? As any true Sufferlandrian (a reference to The Sufferfest’s cult-like community following) would say, “Suck it up!” You are a triathlete after all–you’ve surely done far stranger things in public.

Chrysalis makes a complex and intense interval workout simple to follow with clear visual clues–a countdown timer for each effort, an intensity scale (from one to 10) and RPM or incline indicators–and intuitive sound cues–an engine revving when it’s time to speed up and squealing brakes signaling recovery. An awesome soundtrack keeps your pace and pulse pumping, with operatic sound bytes spliced in for a few soothing seconds during transitions.

RELATED: Triple The Brick Triathlon Bike-Run Workout

The tactical design of the video is top-notch, but what takes it to the next level is the superb race footage from one of the sport’s best bucket list events–Challenge Roth–and the opportunity to “race” alongside–and pretend to antagonize–the featured world-class athletes. You’ll put the pressure on Dirk Bockel as you chase his pace on the bike. You’ll pull up alongside a steely-faced Caroline Steffen and, as the video says, “She won’t even look at you!” And you’ll do your best to bury Yvonne Van Vlerken–dubbed the Ghost of Sufferlandria due to her all-white race kit–with a series of attacks. All this while gaining valuable views of the Roth racecourse and even a sustained simulated climb through the roaring crowds up iconic Solar Berg hill.

Did I mention that Chrysalis is tough? We’re talking “The Sufferfest” after all, not “The Walk in the Park Fest”. So prepare accordingly–perhaps by repeating a few refrains of The Sufferfest’s own mantra: IWBMATTKYT (I Will Beat My Ass Today To Kick Yours Tomorrow). And although you may not actually be fast enough to take on Timo Bracht on the bike (while taunting him with the nickname “Pony Boy”) or to beat Bockel to the line in the run, who knows? Practice Chrysalis often enough, and perhaps you can.

Preview a Chrysalis video trailer and purchase the full-length version ($12.99) at Immerse yourself in the eccentric culture of The Sufferfest at Learn more about the Challenge Family triathlon series at

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