Intensity & Adding TOS rides from plan selection - Really confused!


Looking for some advice. from the details provided in 2021 Tour of Sufferlandria – The Sufferfest it details the 4 ways to ride the tour.

From this option 3 (Focussed option) sounds best for my situation (mid plan, dont want to destroy myself too much!). The text states:


Take this option if: You want to ride a good Tour, but don’t want it to compromise your goals a little further down the road. Like any pro cyclist, you have goals that might not line up with the race you’re about to do. You need to ride the event out of a patriotic loyalty, but want to do so in a way that doesn’t destroy you for other goals down the road or derail you from your current training plan too much. If that’s the case, then take this option. The Focused Option has you identify the stages that suit your strengths (as determined by your 4DP profile) and ride them at 85-90% intensity, with all other stages done at 70-80% to keep you on track post-Tour.

My strength is time trial so my plan was to ride the the endurance stages at 85-90% and all others at 70-80%.

Last week I went into the SUF software, added the TOS stages to my calendar (training plans>TOS>TOS stages). But when I load the workouts and view the intensities it defaults to they are not in the ranges as describe in the text above.

Eg Stage 1a:
Joyride (speed) - I was expecting this to be in the 70-80% range, and when I load it (look at coaches notes) it appears to be at 100% intensity.?

Stage 1b: My speciality?
Cobbler (endurance) - I figured this would be in the 85-90% range. after reading the text on the webpage above. In the coaches notes and looking at the intensity its dialled it back only in the NM/AC/MAP/FTP zones to 100/100/100/93

Stage 2 :
Nine Hammers (Speed) - not my speciality.
Again I was expecting to see this in the 70-80% range, It comes in for NM/AC/MAP/FTP zones to 100/100/95/90

In some of the other stages, it appears to have not dialled down the intensity whatsoever? - eg GOAT, The Cure & Attacker

I’m really confused! Should I follow what’s been allocated in my calendar (no adjustment on some and individual changes to some of the 4DP zones which are above the advice provided in the web page from Sir Neal) or should I apply the advice and for all of my speciality rides (endurance) dial back all zones to at 85-90% and take all other stages at at 70-80% for all zones.

I’m really concerned as even on day one I could really get in a hole with 1a being too intense, leading to a really difficult 1b, then into a real hole before taking on stage 2.

I want it to be hard, but I dont want TOS to distract or set me back from my previously planned workouts. My A race is in June and I want to stay measured and balanced in my training approach.

Many thanks


If there are coaches notes, that means they have adjusted the workouts for you. Some of the videos are only targeting a single 4DP metric, so the coach might only adjust that one.

1a Joyride — not sure on this one, I’d expect MAP to be adjusted. You have to start from the calendar to see the adjustments. But it’s also short and the first event of the Tour so I could see this at 100% without derailing you if the latter end of the week is dialed back.

1b Cobbler is a high tempo workout, already below FTP, which is additionally dialed back to 93%. The result would be 93% of 90% or 83% of FTP.

What that indicates is the the overall plan is a reduced workload, but it is applied judiciously to individual metrics of each workout to provide the desired training stimulus over the course of the week.

I would expect to see greater reductions toward the end of the Tour.

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Hi Sir Brian

Sorry maybe I wasnt clear, yes I have added the TOS stages to my calendar ‘automatically’ via the plan selection and hence I can see the automatic adjustments that have automatically been made via coaches notes.

Just to be clear, no coaches notes or adjustments have been added for stage 1a - Joyride. Even if its short I wouldn’t expect it to be at 100% (in all zones) based on the advice from Sir Neal - the same goes for the other three workouts which have all been added to my calendar at 100% in all zones

I’m confused about your comment against Cobbler (stage 1b), the workout that was added to my calendar is dialled it back in the NM/AC/MAP/FTP zones to 100/100/100/ 93

I’m not sure how you have equated that to 83% of FTP? are you talking about the overall ride intensity? ie IF=0.83?. From the workout selection the full fat cobbler has an IF=0.81…ie for the whole 1hr 41 mins of the ride the average power is 0.81 x FTP.
The FTP zone (blue in workout profile graphics) should be dialled back to 93% of their original intended profile for the FTP/blue aspects of the workouts…that’s what the adjustment means as I understand it.



Looking at Cobbler, and having ridden it twice, I know that the 25 minute intervals in the workout are already at roughly 90% of FTP.

So assuming an FTP of 100 watts (for easy math), that would have the original interval power at 90 watts. If we reduce that further x 93%, we end up with 90 watts x .93 = 83.7 watts or 83.7% of 100 watts.

In short, the Focused plan isn’t just taking a xx % off of your entire plan. It’s much more nuanced than that, to basically give you xx percentage off of the original training load for the week.

Agree with you @Michael_Elder, the reductions in the Focused plan certainly don’t seem to match up with the description on the ToS page. Hold tight and we’ll see if we can get some minion input on this.

Hi @Michael_Elder,

Apologies for the confusion on this one! We have updated the text to make more sense and removed the recommendations for specific intensity reductions as they vary for each rider type, workout and which metric is used.

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Choose this option if
You want to ride a good Tour, but don’t want it to compromise your goals a little further down the road. You want a mix of full gas stages and reduced intensity stages. This plan will ensure that you nail the stages that matter most for your continued improvement.
Special Notes

  • You might find it frustrating on days when you feel great to keep the intensity low(er), 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!
  • You’re going to recover faster than if you choose the nuclear option…about 5-6 days depending on how much you rest immediately after the Tour. Learn more about the ToS

Why so complicated - just get on the bike a d pedal until it says ‘finished’ :slight_smile:

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I think, like many people, the concern isn’t finishing the tour itself, its making sure it doesn’t impact or distract from longer term training goals “I want to stay measured and balanced in my training approach”.

Many are in the middle of existing training plans and we want to take part and contribute to TOS, but dont want to derail our longer term plans for several weeks after.
I’m asking advice on how to dove tail TOS into my plan to make it beneficial to my goals…I dont want to complete TOS, get in a hole for a couple afterwards then have to play catch up for several weeks afterwards.

I’ve done the focused option . If you get up feeling really bad and perceived exertion is way greater than you think it should be I dial it back a bit more. Also with 50 hour time window you can start a bit early and put a rest day in if you like. I’m getting my 2nd COVID shot Wednesday that week so I’m starting with the aussies and plan on Thursday off unless I feel great.

About meshing TOS into your training:

This is a perfect coach discussion and I really miss my coach. I’ve raced/trained for over 50 years and I lost my current coach as she moved away to a new job. Like you I’ve got a June competitive event and TOS landed smack ontop of my testing week. So the old conversations that I hear in my head are:

Remember your focus is the A race, but TOS provides a great opportunity for training enthusiasm – Just map your planned Training Stimulus for the week onto the TOS. Take your hard efforts and see which stages they. coincide with and go hard. I really cross-train; so add a short token tempo effort in that sport on that day so your body remembers and subtract that from your TOS training stress. I’ve got my favorites; Fight Club and Who Dares are 19s on a scale of 1-10 for me; so slide your effort days around to match your favorite workouts. The TOS is a benefit for your training – Enjoy it – Relish it even.

I created an ouchy with a five-hour overdistance workout last week. The TOS is a lot of bike work – So don’t aggravate any ouchies and focus on form. The hardest place to get to is the starting line; pull the plug on a workout that threatens being healthy.

Thanks for the chance to reflect on how to alter my training. Bonne chance et amuse-toi!

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I’d say most of us are in the middle of a training plan, whether formal or adhoc. We are all trying to maintain or build for the coming season. This will be my 5th Tour, and in all that time, the Tour has never derailed my training. And that was when the Tour was 9 days long with a huge Queen stage. It has only ever been a huge boost to my fitness, allowing me to hit the roads in March with improved form.

You have complete control over how you participate in the Tour. If you find the first few days too taxing, you can always replace the Focused plan with Get Me Through It. But regarding the plans in general, we have literally the highest caliber of coaches creating these plans. I’d trust that they’ve crafted them to be beneficial to our longer term goals and not detrimental, no matter which option we choose.


Brilliant Advice. Thank you Sir Brian :+1: :metal:

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