What's Cool In Road Cycling

Wahooligan Tour Returns to Sufferlandria To Benefit Davis Phinney Foundation

A great event for a good cause that everyone can do, both for its own benefits but also for getting your cycling discipline lined up for the rest of the season, is the Wahooligan Tour. It runs for a week, beginning February 25 and running until March 2.

The last decade has seen the explosion of indoor cycling thanks to the development of smart trainers in tandem with impressive software that provide structured training, immersive scenery and the chance to race against other like-minded riders around the world.  But indoor training has always been seen as a second choice when compared to riding outdoors, something that had-to-be-done over the winter months in order to prepare for “real” events on the road.

However, with e-sports now a competitive thing with actual UCI buy-in and heading toward the Olympics, we can look at those indoor sessions differently and turn them into our own events and reason for training.

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The annual event that was once known as The Tour of Sufferlandria began in 2013 as a fund-raiser for the Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF), claiming it to be “the hardest stage race of any imaginary country.” Featuring selected videos from The Sufferfest training app, the Tour has featured great camaraderie between participants, first on Facebook and now on Wahoo Forum, often marked by endearing masochism. Hmmm. Then in 2019 Wahoo acquired The Sufferfest, making it part of Wahoo X’s SYSTM platform and in 2022 the Tour became The Wahooligan Tour, “taking you beyond the borders of Sufferlandria.”

The Davis Phinney Foundation is a non-profit charity with a mission to help people with Parkinson’s Disease live well with the disease. It was founded in 2004 by Davis Phinney, a former professional road bicycle racer and Olympic medal winner. Today, Davis is an inspirational figure in the cycling community and people living with Parkinson’s (estimated 60,000 Americans and estimated 10 million worldwide). The Foundation is a public charity that functions without an endowment and depends on donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. It reaches an international audience through its programs and online programming.

The DPF community includes people living with Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s care partners, families and friends of those living with Parkinson’s, physicians, and allied health care professionals.

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The Wahooligan Tour and previous iteration have been by any standard highly successful, with over US$1.9 million raised. This has come from over 16,000 participants world-wide, putting in a remarkable 176,000 hours of cycling in their Pain Caves over 93 stages. Participants raising funds for DPF also receive a chance to win nice prizes (very nice prizes!) which over the years have included tours to watch the Tour de France in person, signed jerseys, clothing and cycling equipment. 1,227 prizes have been given out so for (one chance for each $10 raised) and there will be more in 2024. And with DPF marking its 20th anniversary in 2024 what better time to get involved?

The year’s Wahooligan Tour offers not one but two different events. The Wahooligan Route showcases the best of SYSTM’s 4DP® (Four Dimensional Power®) workouts, covering four peak metrics, and promises to be rewarding but challenging. The other variation, the Sufferlandrian Route, honours the Tour’s Sufferfest history dating back to 2013. Specifically designed for seasoned riders of the Tour to test their mental and physical limits, all in the name of a great cause.

Signing up and getting started is easy. After registering with DPF and beginning your contribution, it is then a matter of using your Wahoo X account to access the programs on SYSTM. If you don’t have an account, Wahoo offers a 14 day free trial so basically you can do the entire Wahooligan Tour (both versions if you want!) gratis.
For those of us unable to make the journey to ride alongside The Tour Down Under or cruise around the sand dunes in the Emirates but instead still struggle with the last gasps of Old Man Winter, the Wahooligan Tour has been been a highlight of the early months. Who would not feel inspired by those Sufferlandrian slogans like “The Uncomfortable Have Nothing to Fear,” or “Your Legs Hurt? Nobody Cares”? But much more inspiring is your contribution to the work of the Davis Phinney Foundation.

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