Hope

Or maybe I’m just becoming one of them. It’s hard to say. But one of the greatest things about being a cyclist in today’s day and age is the variety of every rider. Commuters are wearing clipless pedals, once deemed solely for the racers and racers are trying their hand at steel, once deemed too heavy to ever put under their legs. People are just becoming enthusiastic about cycling in general, which who can really complain about?

My foray into Strava came once I returned from tour. Now being GPS linked, I realized I had all this data and no way to process it. Send in the Strava. Most of my friends were talking about it before I even started, so I decided to take my tracks and upload them to the website. Now I’m hooked.

But why? What is so intriguing about this website? It’s not the king of the mountains, the original competition this site brought that gave it such a negative connotation in my head. Why would I want to race every time I got on my bike? It seemed to me that this constant competition is what I disliked about cycling, it’s way nicer to just go out and ride, but at the same time there is someone I like to beat every time I go out. Myself.

Strava
Seeing days you rode and days you missed is helpful to track if you’re finding time to ride or not.
Strava
Maps with plenty o’ data.

It’s an old ethos I carry over from my cross country (that’s running not mountain biking) days in high school. Day in and day out, you can never control how fast the person next to you goes. They have their good and bad days just as you do. But the one person who you can constantly control whether you beat or lose to is yourself. It’s training advice I truly take to heart and that’s what Strava provides me. I can see over time how my climbs compare, how my mileage compares and more. Plus it tallies up my mileage, so it can help motivate me more to get out and do the ride I wasn’t planning on. Even further it’s the ultimate social network for cyclists, following your other friends as they break their first century or as they set a new PR on their favorite climb, it’s exciting to see how they’re doing.

Strava
Elevation plots and the infamous segments underneath.

Certainly some people take it too far. There are some people who constantly go for a new PR on group rides (not cool, if you want that ride on your own or with a paceline, not the group rides I sign myself up for usually). Or the people who ride extremely dangerously for the extra seconds (the Berkeley tale is so close to home that it’s a constant reminder to compete on the ups and play it safe on the downs). Having a way to truly measure my fitness is really rewarding and I’m glad I finally signed up and have been trying to stay on top of my riding because I have the mile ticker to know when I decided to sit inside instead of see something gorgeous.

(Follow me on Strava: here)

Marin Headlands

via Blogger http://www.patricksvelolog.com/2013/08/strava-not-just-for-dweebs-anymore.html

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