Tuesday, September 10

Stravesty: A Love Story

I can’t say enough good things about Strava.  Shut up Jeff!

Y’know, I have to stop right here and say something.  Jeff just hates Strava and I’m not sure why.  He says every time someone uses Strava…a baby bunny dies!  I don’t believe it, but if that rumor were to get around then it’s remotely possible that someone might actually stop using Strava.  So Jeff…it’s not a race…it’s STRAVA.  Get over it.


And there are a lot of good things Strava does for cycling.  It gives me reasons to go out and ride roads I wouldn’t otherwise ride.  Yep, I call it Obscure Segment Creation and KOMing.  That’s the beauty of being a Strava user in a rural area.  I don’t have to maintain KOMs against a strong field of users when I can just go out and create random segments on roads I know no one else will ever ride.  Well, no one that uses Strava anyway.

See, that’s also the beauty of Jeff’s unnatural hatred of Strava.  Since he doesn’t use Strava it doesn’t matter if he and I go out on a ride and he does a climb faster than me.  His faster ascent doesn’t count. It’s like it never happened!  

I like to ask the uber-philosophical question: if a mountain biker rode in the woods and didn’t Strava did the ride even happen?  I don’t think it did.  In fact, I’d like to see some scientific research into a process that would negate all calories burned unless a person is plugged into Strava.  Hehe!

And since Strava tells me I burned 1,300 calories on my latest bike ride I can go out and eat pancakes with bunny sausage.  Jeff can’t.  He has no idea how many calories he could have burned. He’s on a diet.

Hey! Don’t judge me because I get all fired up when I’m KOM on a segment I just created even though no one else has ridden the segment ever.  Well, I mean…Jeff rode it when I rode it, but he didn’t Strava.  So technically I’m KOM because he didn’t take advantage of the technology that’s available to him freely.  

The little crown icon is cool.  I like seeing it in my feed.  And once you get one KOM (or QOM if you’re of the female persuasion) you get a taste for it and will stop at nothing to claim as many as possible.  And if for some reason you just don’t have the pistons to pull it off you can do like I do and go ride Stra-virgin roads and claim as many KOMs as your little heart can stand.

Mandy and I have both been using Strava to track our running progress.  I know I’ve mentioned that we’re preparing for our first organized half marathon in October, the Iron Horse half inMidway and it’s been very helpful to see splits on each run and compare that to how I felt and the effort I both intended to put forth and the effort that I actually put forth.  

While I don’t get real time feedback I do try and look over my runs as soon as possible afterward and get a rasp on how I’m doing.  Again, there’s not much competition for K/QOMs on our standard running routes because no one else exists in our little running universe.  Oh, we see people out running all the time.  The loop in front of our house is the best road loop out of town period.  But we don’t see them.  They might as well not run since they’re not going to bow to the grandeur of Strava.

I’ve heard some criticisms of the program stating that those that use the iPhone or Android apps shouldn’t be compared to those that are using dedicated GPS devices.  And to that I say: space junk.  So what if my phone doesn’t record the same track as your GPS unit?  Maybe your GPS unit is all JUBAR and my phone is spot on.  Look at this track from one of Mandy’s rides a few weeks ago:

It’s obvious that there is a high level of accuracy in using an iPhone.  The only thing you can’t see in this track is the bee that got down the back of her shirt and caused her to dance around like a blithering maniac as she did her run.  The precision is clear.  Side note: she got one of her fastest 5k times ever that day.  She ran…RAN mind you…twenty freakin’ miles an hour!!!

You can also see the point at which she dislodged the bee.  The incredible accuracy…!!!

So you want to know more about how one can track their progress with Strava?  I can tell you.  Or better yet…I can show you.

This first screen shot from my highly accurate iPhone shows my recent descent of the segment Downhill b4 town which I commonly refer to as the Furnace Mountain Descent.  You can see I’m currently number 4 out of 10 valid descents of the segment and I hit 51 mph on my descent.  I have one more recent attempt where I hit 53.4 mph.  I'm looking for the double nickel next time.

Here’s another example.  Ignore the speed, I think the GPS in the phone was off, or some space junk interfered with my efforts because I know I was going at least twice that fast at the top of Cobhill.  This segment is my proudest KOM: Cobhill Eastbound.  Notice that it shows the final push as a 35% grade.  This must be accurate due to aforementioned reasons.  I rode that.

Now, here’s an odd one.  First look at the results filtered through my iPhone:

Yeah, that’s freakin’ steep.  This shot is from the Motherlode hill KOM last week.  It felt that steep.  Not sure where that downhill was though…


Anyway, so when I looked at this online I saw something completely different:
Click for larger proof
I believe it.  98%.  That’s like a freakin’ wall.  That would explain why I can’t remember the downhill section in the middle of the climb…my brain had shut down from lack of oxygen.
Both screen shots show the exact same section of the segment.  How do I explain that?  Di(gital)vine intervention.  The actual road can’t be 98%...that’s an infinite impossibility.  But since we know that Strava never lies it must either be space junk interference or that point in space is some kind of interdimensional Strava segment.
Either way I’m calling that KOM good.
It doesn't matter which way you go...

1 comment:

  1. I'm here to answer your question....Yes if a mtb rides and doesn't use STRAVA the ride happened. Its actually harder to ride without it. It takes more effort. And it really does happen. Here is my highly scientific evidence.

    My GPS lost satellite coverage 80 miles into Leadville. Those were the best 80 miles I have ever biked.

    AFTER I lost satellite coverage my ride became immensely hard. So immensely hard that I bonked and collapsed at the finish line.

    BTW. Mandy should be happy with that track. It probably doubled the miles she covered and gave her a great average speed!