I was asked to write a piece about that polarising, phenomenally popular tech wizardry known as Strava. I love Strava. There's a lot of legit criticisms of Strava, but I love it! This piece focuses on how I use Strava to mentally and physically prepare for chasing KOMs.
I chucked in a little video of one of my KOM efforts on Mt Alma with full data overlays so you can check out the horrid numbers and stats that mean horrible suffering for me!
Do you use Strava to train? Do you think Strava is a plot by Satan to turn cyclists into unfriendly number chasers? Let me know!
Oh, and don't forget to read the article on the With All I Have blog.
It is ridiculous that the bigger hills will have in excess of 50 segments for the ride. Just crazy stuff. I bloody love Strava, and will pour over the details after a ride, but I do not need to know exactly how fast I went through every bend on Greenhill Road for example. That does seem to be getting a little tedious.
But some people see Strava itself as tedious, and some people clearly feel strongly enough about the little segments to make them, so it probably doesn't matter. It takes less than a second to scroll past the segments you don't want.
For the record, if your viewing your segments for a ride and hover along the right of the list, you can select "hide". To my knowledge this places that segment in your "hidden segments" list for good. Worth doing on the roads and hills your ride often.
Actually yeah, you're right about some cool stuff coming from over-segmenting. I never realised 3 reps of the Kensie lookout was a segment until I did it one day... I should go back and do it again... I could probably KOM that!
That comes under the category of being a strava flog, when you try to best the incy-wincy segments people create to KOM them.
3 reps of Kensie lookout ain't flog territory. That shit hurts!
Couldn't agree more about racing as opposed to Strava obsessing. Get out and support Norwood CC, PACC, Kilkenny and all the others. For someone that generally races, getting a KOM on Strava is sort of nice but doesn't even compare to the feeling of winning a race. That feeling is something no one can take away and send you an email.
I get what you are saying about pinning a number on Gus, I have done it a lot of times. For a lot of people though, that isn't always THE test. I enjoy racing, but at the moment I enjoy not racing even more. It means I can ride whenever I want, without having to think of how that may effect my condition for an upcoming race. I don't have to try to train specifically, and try to work on this area or that to improve, I can just ride my bike however feels good.
Doing that, I can then go and do really great things, that are somehow better than racing, like an everesting. I found that I was entering longer and longer races, until an Ironman for example just wasn't a long race anymore. Absolutely, if pure speed and aggression is your thing, racing is a winning option. But for many other guys, the thought of riding from Melbourne to Adelaide in 1 single ride, non-stop is far more appealing. One could argue that this is also a very, very large test.
How else do we measure, prove, and recollect that test other than through our Strava data?
I think you have to make a distinction about what type of racing - for instance, individual TTs are nothing like road racing, and MTB and CX racing are more about conquering the course as fast as you can, which as direct consequence leads to finishing in front of more people. Cyclosportifs (or TTTs) require you to get everyone round the course together as fast as possible.
Sometimes I do a ride and concentrate too much on what my Garmin says, and then am disappointed that I didn't better my time on some segment when I upload it to Strava. Recently my HR monitor went flat, and I didn't replace the battery, and now my rides are more about how I feel, not a reflection of what my computer says how I am going. Turning the light off my Garmin and riding in my own personal bubble in the dark up a climb is quite sublime, and if/when you upload your ride you can surprise yourself about how well you went.
Strava is a tool, and you need to use it appropriately. Strava can't measure how you feel when you hear the birds singing, or the smell of the trees, or the sight of the sun coming up over the horizon, or talking shit with your ride buddies, or nailing a descent even if it isn't a PR. Not getting a KOM or a stack of trophies doesn't mean it was a dud ride.
In a way recording a ride on Strava is like taking a photo, it is 2-dimensional and has hard boundaries, it can't always give you the complete picture.