“Give me your tired, your oxygen deprived,
Your huddled minions yearning for the end of the interval,
The shelled remnants of your teeming peloton.
Send these, the quad-blasted, grovelling wretched to me,
And they will wish they played it safe and stayed outside.”
(From the Poem, “Suffer, Little Minions” by Grunter von Agony)
We Sufferlandrians are a nation of many. Just as there is no “I” in “team”, there is also no “Sufferlandria” without “Us”. Okay, so you have to switch the first two letters around, and ignore the last eleven, but if there is one thing you can say about a Sufferlandrian it’s that we never back down from a challenge, linguistic or otherwise.
We are a diverse population, and our legs carry us far and wide. So how do you know a fellow Sufferlandrian when you meet them outside of our borders? Here are a few helpful hints for spotting a Sufferlandrian abroad:
Sufferlandrians refuse to get dropped. In any situation. Case in point: On December 31, 1999 a Sufferlandrian mounted his turbo trainer to the ball in Times Square, New York. Because he would not get dropped, the new millenium didn’t arrive in the U.S. until late August of 2004, and only then because the Sufferlandrian ambassador negotiated a peace treaty with gravity.
Sufferlandrians know how to dance….On the shredded chamois of their vanquished foes. Suffering leads inevitably to GLORY and VICTORY, and when VICTORY comes there is only one appropriate response: To dance on the chamois of your worthy adversaries. To quote a Sufferlandrian proverb: “ To the victor comes not a shred of shame. To the vanquished comes a shred of the chamois. Actually, the entire shredded chamois.”
Sufferlandrians don’t exchange rings…They exchange big rings. The traditional Sufferlandrian wedding ceremony consists of the exchange of chainrings, with devotion positively correlated with number of teeth.
Sufferlandrians value Suffering….VICTORY is important, of that there is no doubt. But an easy victory? One without Suffering? BAH! That is as valuable as a Minion without a stick. Rather, Sufferlandrians treasure PAIN, AGONY and MISERY. If riding in Sufferlandria, it is important to know that it is forbidden to get dropped (see above). In the unlikely occurrence that such a thing does happen (which it won’t), as long as you slip painfully, wretchedly off the back and then explode in a Glorious Ball of Suffering that can be seen from the moon, then you’re welcome in any Sufferlandrian home.
History: Where are all the Sufferlandrians?
We sweat. We ache. Our cries of agony can be heard over four time zones and at least as far as the outer reaches of space. But life in Sufferlandria hasn’t always been this good. Our history has a dark stain.
THE TIME OF COUCHES
Trouble started when Sufferlandria went to war with the Ukraine back in 856 over who’s embrocation was hotter. Sending a platoon of naked minions (covered in nothing but Sufferlandrian embrocation) to the border and submerging them in the ice of the local frozen lake (subsequently melting said lake and flooding the area) showed the Ukranians we meant business. The Minions were hailed as heroes. This is where the trouble started. The Ukranians, quite impressed, took the Minions home and showered them with money, fame, beer, cable television, plentiful excuses and comfortable couches. A small part of the Ukraine spun off and declared independence as Couchlandria. This was known as ‘THE TIME OF COUCHES.”
GREAT CABBAGE FAMINE
Many Sufferlandrians defected. With some of our best sufferers lounging abroad, our Amber Waves of Pain grew fallow. Without proper nutrition, it became harder to Suffer to the full capacity of the nation. Soon, there was nothing left to eat but cabbage. Which doesn’t taste very nice at all. Even when PowerBar came out with their special ‘CABBAGEBAR (Tastes like real cabbage!),’ few got excited about that, let us tell you that right now. This, at around 1100, was known as the “GREAT CABBAGE FAMINE.” Faced with no other choice but to sell Norway (which we had won in a roller race in London back in 400), the Sufferlandrian government narrowly avoided a complete population extermination.
THE TROUBLED TIME
Feeling rather blessed at having escaped annihilation, pride in being a Sufferlandrian blossomed. The government, in a selfless act of generosity, sent the entire population out of the country to act as Sufferlandrian Missionaries. This also helped reduce the electricity bill. The Missionary’s job was to spread the word about the three sacrifices (PAIN, MISERY and AGONY) and the three rewards (HONOUR, GLORY and VICTORY). Missionaries were to save the world from weakness (we never write that sad little word in capital letters, you know) and help the lost discover their Inner Sufferlandrian.
Unfortunately, this did not happen. Having learned nothing from the Couchlandria affair, the Missionaries were once again tempted by the evils of the couches and comfy chairs. They made friends with people who hung out at the back of the pack and never took a pull. They lounged in bars with those who had no idea what an interval was and had FTPs below 100 (!). This life of ease and quiet seduced many a Missionary. They forgot who they were. They forgot they were Sufferlandrians. They did not come back. This was a troubled time. It was known as “THE TROUBLED TIME.”
SUFFERING IN THE TIME OF TTBS
As time went on, these former Sufferlandrians were absorbed into the local population, intermarried, had children and lived lives with very little MISERY or AGONY. These offspring had no idea as they grew up that they had Sufferlandrian blood. It was very sad. Of course, you can’t keep your inner Sufferlandrian surpressed forever. Many of this ‘lost generation,’ without even realising they were Sufferlandrians, soon started riding their bikes. They soon started training. From Sufferlandria, it all looked very promising.
BUT THEN (!) ….. things got worse. It was at that time, in the not-too-distant past, that these emerging Sufferlandrians were nearly exterminated by a voracious, insidious plague. Known as TTBS (Turbo Trainer Boredom Syndrome), the disease is thought to have entered the population through a shipment of contaminated laptops loaded with poorly-produced training videos leaving these emerging Sufferlandrians with nothing to do but look at a brick wall. Many lost the will to ride hard. They got off their trainers. They laid down. They spoke about ‘going for an easy ride tomorrow, and maybe the day after that, too.’ Within Sufferlandria it was clear that we were losing our people to TTBS. A pubic service campaign “TTBS kills (your motivation to train)” did little to change matters.
THE TIME OF THINGS GETTING MUCH BETTER
All hope seemed lost, and indeed it would have been, but for the tireless work of one brave man: Famed Sufferlandrian hero, Grunter von Agony. It was Von Agony (or ‘Complete and Utter Bastard,’ as he is affectionately known) who developed the only known cure for TTBS , a vaccine known as “EnterPAINment” which came in the form of Sufferfest cycling training videos. This was a joyous time. Much Suffering was had by all. Those who had no idea, suddenly discovered their inner Sufferlandrian. They began making frequent trips to Sufferlandria. They destroyed entire pelotons with a single shift of the gears. They Chamois Danced. Suddenly, the population of Sufferlandria exploded.
Now, as a condition of entry into Sufferlandria, all tourists and visitors must show proof of vaccination through ownership of Sufferfest videos.
Modern times: Sufferlandria’s Olympic Bid
We are no stranger to controversy. Whether through fear, ignorance, insecurity or more fear, there are some who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of our Great Nation. We’re talking, of course, about the ring tossers at the International Olympic Committee. In the buildup to the 2012 Olympic Games in London the Sufferlandrian delegation petitioned the IOC to allow us to compete. Sensing the inevitability of a Sufferlandrian victory in every event, the IOC ignored our demands to recognize Sufferlandria as a legitimate country. Rallies were organized, banners were hung from London’s Tower Bridge, and Sufferlandrians the world over thrashed their turbo trainers in protest (or just out of habit. Hard to tell).
Hear this, Olympic scaredy-aristo-cats: We will achieve recognition, we will compete in your games, and will leave dripping with so much gold you’d think we were Mr T.
Language and Communication
Language is the best window into a culture. Sufferlandrians are proud of our heritage, and we are eager to share our rich oral tradition with visitors. Our native tongue is Painglish, an ancient language closely related to Phlegmish. Painglish is at once guttural and expressive, and is not hard to master once you’ve completed sixteen one-minute intervals at 140% of FTP. While in our country you may find the following greetings and phrases useful:
MRRRPPHHAAAAGGHH!: “Hello! Have you suffered today?” (Traditional greeting)
FFFFFFGGGHHAAA!!: “Yes! More than you, my doughy minion.” (Traditional response)
THHHPPHHHAABBBAAARFF!: “You must excuse me. I must complete another interval of soul-shattering intensity and duration! May your competitors rue the day they pinned on a number!”
OOOOONYOUURLEEFFT!!: “Sufferlandrian on the course. Please abandon all hope of victory.”
IWBMATTYT (pronounced “Aye-Wuu-Bee-Ma-TEET”): “I Will Beat My Ass Today to Kick Yours Tomorrow.”
Keep in mind that the phonetics and regional dialects can be complicated, and Sufferlandrians are known to have little patience when communicating with those who have never visited Sufferlandria.
Food and Drink
If you are visiting Sufferlandria, you must try the national food and drink — which is, conveniently, one thing: Pain Shakes. You’ll be able to find Pain Shake trucks at the top of just about every hill. Don’t forget the free Misery sprinkles. Payment only accepted in Courage, Pain or Suffering.
Sufferlandrian students are always hard at work for the Glory of the Nation. You other students go to your Spelling Bee. We’ll be at our Functional Threshold Performance Test Bee.
Symbolic colors. Black for Suffering, White for Purity of Suffering and Red for Suffering.