This year, you’ll notice that our Tour of Sufferlandria poster is a departure from our previous designs. Proudly taking center stage is the mythical, but very real, Sufferlandrian Laser Goat.
And just what, exactly, is a Laser Goat? The Laser Goat was, naturally, first featured in the critically-acclaimed Sufferfest workout ‘GOAT.’ In that session, we learned that they patrol the roads and trails looking for those who are unwilling to push themselves. Those whose Couchlandrian Tendencies have taken over and led to a life of ease, quiet and sloth. Although always given a chance to change their ways, what happens to those individuals left to the ‘care’ of the Laser Goats is too terrible to mention here. We best move on.
Anyway. As the famous saying about Laser Goats goes, ‘ the uncomfortable have nothing to fear .’ Laser Goats do not care at all how fast or strong you are - only that you are doing your best. Therefore, for Sufferlandrians, the Laser Goat is a positive, motivating symbol - a reminder to never stop pushing. To never give up. To always seek improvement. That being outside your comfort zone is where you belong. The Laser Goat is also a statement to those around you. It says ‘If you’re going to suck my wheel, you better not let go because this is what is waiting for you.’
It’s for all of these reasons that the arrival of the Laser Goat on the Tour of Sufferlandria poster is a big change for us, but it’s not the only, or even the most significant, one.
The Sufferlandrian flag, created 10 years ago and first appearing in Local Hero, has long been a symbol of our Nation. So many of you have it in your garages, pain caves or hung above your dining room table for all visitors to see. Over the years, as we became more global, it’s became apparent that there were some problems with our flag. Many people felt it was overly intimidating. Those bleeding eyes were just downright scary (unless people thought they were a spider, butterfly, ink blot test or some other thing besides bleeding eyes). Others thought we copied the flag of another country (many from the Middle East are similar). But certainly the most disturbing issue was realizing that it had a nearly identical design to one associated with early Nazi Germany.
It was clear that we couldn’t keep things as they were. We needed a flag that could stand on its own, unburdened by associations with the past and something that Sufferlandrians all over the world could rally behind. We needed a flag that our people could proudly fly alongside (and above!) the other well known flags of the cycling world, one that wouldn’t be out of place next to, say, the Lion of Flanders.
The new Sufferlandrian flag is bold. It flies with confidence, inspiring all who see it to go beyond their comfort zone….and striking fear into the hearts of those who would rather not. It’s a flag which stands clearly, uniquely and just slightly strangely on its own. It would look as lovely in your lounge room or even as a bedspread as it would on the flagpole outside your house (you have one, right?).
Alongside the Flag, we’ve also updated our SUF Coat-of-Arms. Our original COA was extremely detailed and very difficult to print clearly at smaller sizes – we often reverted to a ‘simplified’ version in most cases. To address that issue, and line up with the new flag, our new COA retains the classic red, white and black pattern and adopts the heraldic Laser Goat as its center - without adornments or words, it says everything it needs to.
It’s not easy to change a National identity. Passions and history run deep. For all of us. We didn’t take the decision lightly and we spent a lot of time discussing both internally and with a trusted group of Sufferlandrians . Those discussions gave us the confidence to present to the Nation a new identity that better represents who we are and what we stand for. We’re proud of it and, personally, I absolutely love it. Many of you will love it instantly, others may take a little while to get used to it. Over time I’m confident you will come to love it (if you don’t already). Now, if you already have a Sufferlandrian flag (l’ve got about a dozen), you have an important piece of our history. You’re part of the foundation. Now, let us build further upon it. The uncomfortable have nothing to fear.
We will have new flags and t-shirts for sale at our shop in a couple of months. In the meantime, you can purchase our new Sufferlandrian National Team Kit - including Knights jersey - at https://sufferfest.builtbycuore.com/