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Strava - good or bad for cycling?

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Strava - good or bad for cycling?

Old 01-05-13, 07:18 PM
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Strava - good or bad for cycling?

OK, so I'm a frequent user of Strava and have a lot of fun with it. In particular I like seeing what kinds of rides my friends and teammates are doing. I also have to admit that I am amused by the whole segment leaderboard thing. I also do races and I realize that a Strava KOM doesn't prove much. Races where everyone who is involved is competing at the same time are obviously a more meaningful competition. However I still find it interesting to see who else has ridden on my favorite segments and what their speeds and routes are. Also I have to admit I think it's cool to be KOM on a segment that a large number of other riders have ridden on.

I have a cycling friend, though, who is very regimented. He's a disciple of Joe Friel and does all his training by the book, so much so that when he's doing base miles he refuses to let his heart rate get out of zone 2 at all, and he tends to try to keep it almost exactly in the middle of his zone 2 range. He thinks the whole Strava leaderboard thing is ridiculous and he makes fun of people (like me sometimes) who deliberately target a Strava segment in search of a KOM. His view is that Strava "segment hunters" are wimps who are too chicken or weak to do a real race.

What do you all think? Is Strava a fun diversion or is it a way for second rate cyclists who can't compete in real races to think like they actually have some talent?
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Old 01-05-13, 07:21 PM
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I don't have time to waste on it. The 41 is bad enough.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:26 PM
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Both are true. It can be a fun diversion, and it also can be a way for racer-wannabes to "compete."

Probably the difference between these truths is attitude. The first is a fun attitude, the second is more of an OCD attitude.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:26 PM
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Strava is good.

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Old 01-05-13, 07:38 PM
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The good: Tracks miles and never goes down. The bad: Missing a lot of what other apps provide for free. Doesn't support Polar products. No audible readout of ride info at mile markers.

Segment times are about as meaningful as amateur golf scores. Almost always padded.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:39 PM
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1) If you enjoy it, you enjoy it. What more do you need to know?

2) The Leaderboard / KOM stuff is ridiculous. Still, not everyone has any need to race. And your buddy sounds like he is way too uptight, at least as far as cycling goes.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:39 PM
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Your friend sounds like a pretentious ******bag.

Strava can be fun. I use it to track my own progress on the routes I ride and yeah, it's fun to see who else is riding those same routes. If I ever got a KOM, I'm pretty sure I'd think it was neat and I'm sure I'd be proud. But other than that it doesn't mean anything.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by roadCruiser76
His view is that Strava "segment hunters" are wimps who are too chicken or weak to do a real race.
Plenty of real racers play Strava KOM too. I'm not plugged but I have to listen to the other guys on group rides yammer on about the latest KOM "win" or "loss".
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Old 01-05-13, 07:58 PM
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I've met new people and have new riding partners thanks to Strava. It's good for me.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:07 PM
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I would like to try Strava this year. I have been keeping tabs (sort of, but not religious about it) on Garmin Connect using an Edge 500. Strava adds a little with the KOMs and segments, which will be fun with some of the other riders this year. If you upload your ride and it happens to be on a route that has a segment or KOM thing on it, does it automatically imput your time into the leaderboard or do you have to do something special?

I don't think there is anything wrong with keeping up with the leaderboard or KOMs, whatever gets you riding is good for me.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:12 PM
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Turning exercise into a video game with high scores leads to more young people entering a sport and competing, results are fewer hours in front of the computer and more trying for a high score.

BF/41 just results in post-count wars...
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Old 01-05-13, 08:14 PM
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All of the top Strava segments around here are held by fast racers, I don't know of any that are held by someone who doesn't race.

I like, it provides a bit of extra motivation when I don't feel like riding, keeps things fun
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Old 01-05-13, 08:25 PM
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Old 01-05-13, 08:28 PM
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I like it, but I use it to track my own progress. I like the fact I can do a climb thats a segment and see how I ranked against myself (this time vs other times). And I dont know all the KOM guys personally, but my god, if none of them race, I would hate to see what a "real" racer could do.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:32 PM
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We are not all racers. Your friend is probably right from his perspectic.

For me I have one segment that I worked very hard to pass a friend who is a stronger bicyclist. This does not make me better, faster nor even give me bragging rights. But Strava gave me a tool to mark and improve. I love looking at the data but do not think it is a race save a race against myself. It get me out there to compete against myself

for Strava for me
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Old 01-05-13, 08:39 PM
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I enjoy Strava. I can't compete for many of the KOMs but it lets me see how I'm progressing on my own.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:45 PM
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I don't have anythign against Strava, and it's good for recording workouts, but I'd agree with your friend that if he's on a good, well thought out plan, he's right not to overcook it on the easy days, so he can build properly and hit appropriate intensity on the hard days. Most folks who have never really done a true incremented training program assume that riding hard=better, but when you're in a REAL training program where the volume and intensity increases steadily, you will be in weeks regularly where you will be overall feeling beaten down, and one easy day done too hard will shut down your quality sessions that week. When I'm in serious pre-race training mode and have been very good about the schedule, those easy days are crucial.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:50 PM
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The KOM thing is fun and all, but the real value of Strava is in targeting segments and trying to improve. There is another name for this: intervals.

For sprinters, it can be a godsend. Ever try to gauge your progress on a 20-30 second sprint without a powermeter? You can do it by distance over a specific time or by time over a specific distance, but in the former, how do you measure your distances, and for the latter, who starts and stops the clock in the midst of a full out sprint? Using GPS solves this problem brilliantly. Pick a starting and ending point and gauge your progress by segment times.

On the flip side, for FTP training without a powermeter, you can find a relatively steep hill and gauge your progress by using their power algorithm. Not the most accurate thing in the world, but if the primary resistance is gravity, their algorithm is good enough to gauge training progress.

So yea, it's a game, and like all games, at it's heart, it's a bit asinine. But the real reason for it's existence is for training. A free iPhone app, while not at the same level as a $1k powermeter, is much, much cheaper and at the same time, much more effective than a cyclocomputer.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:04 PM
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Sure it is fun, but some people take it too far, endangering themselves and other road users. I have heard the term STAV******* used.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Pug
I've met new people and have new riding partners thanks to Strava. It's good for me.

I've found people near me on some segments, commented on their rides, and met a couple in person for riding together. It has been a great way to meet other cyclists--some who live very close to me

I doubt I'll ever do a real race, but I do like the whole segment thing on Strava. Yes, I sometimes do, "go after," a segment, especially if I have a good tailwind.
Every tour I've completed has tons of Strava segments. And someone always makes one big segment for the entire tour.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:52 PM
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There's always someone to look down on. Usually, it's someone doing something differently than ourselves. Do what you enjoy and let friend think what he wants. I'm sure there are any number of gifted cyclists participating in strava.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:56 PM
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Sure it can be a game, but it can also be a tool.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:58 PM
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I live in SOCAL. It is 100% certain that I will never hold onto a KOM. I use Strava to as a data source that can be fun and nothing more.
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Old 01-05-13, 10:23 PM
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Strava is good. It pushes you to new limits when you "compete" for a segment KOM.
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Old 01-06-13, 12:08 AM
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I've been a dedicated user for less than a year, and will continue to use it.

When used properly it can be an excellent training tool.

There's a very tough hill I challenge myself on - and Strava helps keep tabs on my progress (or in winter, regress ) on that segment. That's just one of dozens of ways I use it to judge my performance.
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