British madman does all six videos for charity, gets Knighted, inspires millions and suggests you do it too.

You might not have heard of Darren Roberts  before, but you need to. For all of you who have struggled to find the motivation to do the sprints at the end of Local Hero, who have thought about bailing on that last surprise interval in Revolver, who have said F-YOU to the last :15 intervals in Downward Spiral, you need to listen to this. Conehead, as he is known, just did all SIX FREAKING VIDEOS BACK TO BACK. Epic. Epic. Epic. We, Sufferlandrians, have a new benchmark for suffering that we should all aspire, too.

Two hours into the SIXTE!

After hearing about this feat, Sufferfest Studios dimmed the light, turned down the music and contemplated our own weakness. Conehead is now Sir Conehead, having been declared a Knight of Sufferlandria for his selfless dedication to suffering for a good cause (as you’ll read about below) and doing all SIX VIDEOS BACK TO BACK (I know I already said that, but it really did need to be said again). He’s also getting a ‘fest T-Shirt and stickers sent right to his door. Despite these prestigious accolades and the fame that comes with it, Sir Conehead agreed to answer a few questions about why he decided to undertake this task.

‘Fest: Who are you?

Darren Robers: I’m 38 and live in Manchester, England with my wife and young daughter.

What on earth gave you this idea to do all six in a row?

Well, a few people in my triathlon club (www.bcttt.com) have been doing them and introduced them to me – one of the members did two together (Hunted and revolver I think) but thinking I’d seen things of this type before I wasn’t that phased and threw it out there if it was possible to do all 6 – and before I knew what I was saying, I said I would in fact do all 6 in a row for Team Laws – having not done any of them at the time.  Then I did Local Hero and realised I’d just dropped myself right in it – the key was in the name really ‘sufferfest’, so not sure what I was thinking when I said I’d do all 6.

Tell me a little more about Team Laws.

Team Laws (www.teamlaws.co.uk) is Ben and and his 3 year old son Ewan.  (Sufferfest note: I strongly suggest you check out the site – great story, adorable kid!)  About 18 months ago Ben was posting on one of the triathlon forums about his son, how he had severe cerebral palsy and it was a shame he’d never get to experience triathlon and that Ben himself was a triathlon rookie.  I read it and got in touch with Ben saying he and his son could do triathlon (per Rick and Dick Hoyt) and that I’d facilitate/coach whatever needed to get Ben around a half ironman towing, pulling and pushing Ewan – which we did in July 2010 at Cowman.  Along the way up to the event we formed ‘Team Laws’ and have had some fantastic support from brands like Oakley, SiS to people like Chrissie Wellington and Sir Steve Redgrave getting in touch of their own accord to wish us well. We raise money for the charities that provide care and services to kids such as Ewan. This year its Challenge Henley!

What order did you do the videos in and why?

Coming to terms with the fact that it's not going to end anytime soon.

The order was selected by The Sufferfest – Local Hero, Fight Club, Hunted, Angels, Downward Spiral, Revolver – I opened it up to the sufferfest community to decide the running order as my thinking was it didn’t matter – it was going to be horrendous any way it was out together.

How did you prepare for this and how did you set up your Bike Torture Chamber?

I’m an elite coach, working with all of Red Bull UK’s athletes amongst others – so I’m surrounded by elite performers every day.  I’m also a multiple ironman finisher as well as being ex military – so its not like I haven’t smashed myself before or being in that sort of environment before.  I turned up to Ironman Arizona in Nov 2010 with no ironman training, just my ‘latent’ fitness to see what would happen.  Of course what happened was I stumbled across the finish line in 13 hours hallucinating with no recollection of the last 3 miles – so I have ‘form’ for doing stupid ill thought out things involving my own physical and mental destruction.

I decided to do the sufferfes-fest at Bridgtown Cycles in Cannock, Mike who is the proprietor is one of my triathlon clubs main supporters and Team Laws (providing bikes and trailers to Ben) has a bike fit studio upstairs in the shop so we set up there (pic attached).  I had everything I needed to hand, nuun, red bull, SiS gels etc and the all important fan to try and keep me cool.  However in terms of ‘preparation’ I just pitched up and did it, off the back of two weeks of no training because of a cold/cough.  My rationalle being that training for it wasn’t going to help, it was going to hurt no matter what.

Take me through the ‘event.’ How were things going after the first two videos?

I did the first one with Mike’s sister for company on her turbo – which was Local Hero – which it was it is – then I was left on my own for fight club.  After that I didn’t feel ‘too’ bad, but definitely realised how bad an idea it was.

And then the next two?

During Hunted I started ‘tripping out’ a bit due to a bit dehydration and the soundtrack – it all got very surreal and by now I was in that ‘ironman’ zone where I just wanted it to be over.

And then the next?

By now my legs were toast – and I was concerned about being able to finish.  My watts were falling almost as fast as my will to live – during the bits of the videos where the explanations are were the times to jump off for toilet breaks and change tops or bottom if needed as I melted – along with liberal applications of chamois butter.  Of course the downside is that I would then have to get back on the turbo having got off it – required gargantuan will power to carry on.  I drank almost 3 gallons of nuun, had 5 Red Bull shots, 4 SiS smart gels about 4 normal gels, 2 peanut butter and jam pitta’s.

Any moments when you thought you’d give up? Any moments of crisis?

Around the last two videos my legs were really done, and mentally I was done – but lots of club members from BCTTT kept coming in to keep me going and hang out to watch me suffer – and Tom Lowe the British Ironman record holder.  So with all that support there were no moments of crisis during it, but it was still horrific.  Actually the only moment of ‘crisis’ was realising I had to drive home for an hour, which presented a whole host of problems not least of which pressing the pedals as I couldn’t move my legs.

What kept you motivated?

You just have to look at the pictures of Ewan Laws and think about what the cash goes towards – least I can do is smash myself for their benefit, because I can.

I see you’re a coach. Is this a new technique you’ve developed to fit all your suffering into one day so you can chill out the rest of the week?

That is exactly what I’ve done – I haven’t even looked at my bike for the last 4 days.  Rather than hurt for hours a week training – just smash yourself in a day.

You know you’re the first person to do this anywhere IN THE WORLD and have been declared an official Knight of Sufferlandria. How does that feel? I assume paparrazi, gossip magazines and talk shows are in your future.

As the first Knight Of Sufferlandria (Sir Conehead) I walked into the house after the event and decreed to my triathlon club that the 1st April every year should be a public day of suffering, where each member was encumbant to do something to physically destroy themselves for charity.  I now refer to myself as ‘Sir Conehead’ – at all times, in the third person.

Anything else you wish to say to your fellow Sufferlandrians?

This was an ill thought out idea, based on naivety and total underestimation of ‘The Sufferfest’ thinking they were just like other turbo videos.  I paid a heavy price for my ignorance – but from the darkness came the light.  As First Knight Of Sufferlandria I encourage you all on the 1st April every year to smash yourself in a multiple ‘fests for your chosen charities.  1st April every year should be a global day of sufferfest-ering.  Your sweat, tears and broken souls will fuel the lives of those less fortunate – go forth and let your imaginations run wild, your suffering be mighty and the coffers of your chosen charities swell on the 1st April every year…..

Any suggestions for the ‘fest?

Can the next 6 videos be about 5 mins long?  In case I decide to do all available ‘fests again next year..?

 

 

 

 

 

  • scottygee

    This is brilliant. What a legend. I once contemplated the quad when there were only four ‘fests out there, thinking that any more would simply not be possible. I chickened out though, remembering the utter agony of having done a double.

    It’s bad enough when you just about fall off your bike after one, but this is transcendent.

    I think referring to your regal self in the 3rd person is quite deserved after this madness….

  • http://na AndyB

    sir conehead?? there will be no living with him now!!!

    seriously…a awesome feat…i was lucky enough to witness/laugh at the suffering…and having done ‘angels’ myself today…i have nothing but respect!!

  • http://www.btownbikes.com Mike The Bike

    Sir Conehaed is a legend – we launched our Pro tri team that afternoon – GI Tri Bridgtown so it was a crazy day – When the likes of Tom Lowe, Joel & Toby Jameson look at a fellow triathlete and have utter admiration you know that a legend is born.

    Sir Conehead is an utter legend – all praise him………

  • scibby

    All hail Sir Conehead.

    To Mr Sufferfest, how many DVDs will you be releasing in the next 12 months? Just wondering what next April’s madness might bring… 8 DVDs back to back? 10? 12?