Review: The Hunted

Trust us, he’s having fun

Above: The Hunted trailer

Trainer workouts, for myself, had always meant watching whatever would keep my eyes glued to the TV to keep my mind off from the boredom of cycling in place.  I normally shy away from typical training videos because there is nothing more thrilling than watching strangers ride their trainers on TV while I ride mine.

This is the first I’ve sampled from The Sufferfest’s roster, and ‘Hardcore’, with a capital ‘H’, is probably the best word to describe ‘The Hunted’ turbo trainer workout .  This training video takes you through a role-play road race wherein the goal is for you to simply drop everyone else and, of course, win.  But to do so, you will need to heed to numerous intervals disguised as attacks, a 20 minute sustained effort simulating a long difficult climb and a max effort sprint finish at the end, among others.  This is not your typical training video as the program puts you in the middle of clips from the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de Romandie featuring scenarios which diehard racers will find all too real.

I love long, sustained efforts during climb trainings but since the video simulates a race, the story becomes all too different.  I find it remarkable how this film kept my mind on the plot and help me endure the punishment until the finish.  Audio and visual cues tell you when you need to change your pace and difficulty, although a ‘voice over’ narration of the storylines and directives would have helped as extended efforts have a way of rendering cyclists dull.  The soundtrack  is pretty much fitting but I would have preferred something heavier from the 90’s – but that’s just me.  Turbo trainer remote resistance shifters are required.  Cadence sensors, too, but you can just rely on your racer’s muscle memory if you don’t have one.

Overall, this video will drain the wits out of you and make you come back for more once you see the results. Beginners and non-racers will unlikely touch this video again.

Welcome to the most painful 35 minutes of your life

After obtaining an advanced copy, I approached “The Wretched” like Manny Pacquiao would approach an overweight Hatton: Oozing with overconfidence, and sporting an irritating smirk.

It didn’t take long before that smirk vanished together with my bloated ego.

For all its 35 minutes, The Wretched does not let up, like a relentless climb that stretches into the horizon, taunting you to just step off the bike and give up. I can say, without a doubt, that it is the most difficult video I have tried in the Sufferfest series.

The video begins with a nice warm up on Box Hill, to the tune of Redados’ overpowering drums. The music in this entire video is probably the best so far. It is upbeat, catchy, and best of all, they block out the pain. In fact, I may just get these tracks so I can have them in my iPod’s playlist. This is just my opinion though, and as music is a very personal choice, your mileage may vary.

The Wretched also sports some new and innovative ideas for The Sufferfest. Countdown timers inform you regularly of how much time you will need to spend in the hurt locker, and new graphics clearly show when an interval is going to end. Very helpful when your eyes are flooded with sweat, and squinting with the hurt.

Part of the fun of working out to these videos is not knowing what is going to happen. So I will not delve into what type of workout The Wretched has in store for you. What I can say is this, it is the harderst video I have tried to date, and it’s 35 minutes are no laughing matter. The last interval left me extremely exhausted, I had to cut the 4 minute cool down short, and lie on the floor to catch my breath. I cannot remember the last time I was that knackered.

Dave and his minions did an exemplary job with this video. Exciting race footage, an unforgiving workout, and well-curated music make this my favorite video of the series. I sure hope we get more of these in the future!