Monday, March 12, 2012

Strava Riding

I like to keep track of my rides so that it keeps me honest and I know when I am being lazy. I aim for around 17-20hrs per week, depending on hour busy I am at work and what other 'life' things pop up and get in the way. To do this, I simply upload my files from my bike computer to the web and a handy little iPhone App called 'MyTraining' keeps it all in a simple calendar that I can look at.

Normally, I don't focus too much on the details, just a general overview of my progress or lack of motivation. That was until someone at work introduced me to 'Strava'.

Strava is another iPhone App and website that you can upload your GPS ride files to. However, it turns every ride into a race. People can create 'segments'... small sections of road that you can time yourself on and compare this time against other people. Anywhere that there is the slightest rise in the road that even remotely resembles a hill, guaranteed someone has labelled it as a segment and people are racing to set the best time on it. If you have the fastest time, you get the title of 'King of the Mountain' (KOM) for that segment.

At the start, I told myself that I wouldn't let it get to me. Just ride like I normally would and not take any notice of the people setting KOM's. Then I started to learn where the segments are and saw some of the times being set on them. So now, when I ride on a section of road that I know is a segment, I push a little bit harder.

I have found that even on days when I am supposed to be taking it easy, I sprint up the short hills. I have even done a 'Strava' ride where I sprinted up every hill on a ride, just on the odd chance that it was a segment on Strava and I could set a KOM. Eventually, every bit of road will become a segment on Strava and I will have no choice but to ride hard everywhere. That, or get my bike computer and strap it to a scooter or a car. Judging by some of the times that are on there, I think someone is already doing this.

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