STRAVA!!!!!! The source of much competition, excitement and contention amongst cyclists. Ironically, tracking your rides and progress isn’t a new invention. Garmin started this trend with the Edge products we use still today and their Garmin Connect service…they just didn’t capitalize on the web presence like Strava did. Garmin Connect was a great piece of software but when Strava introduced segments and the ability to race your friends without them having to even be on the ride with you…the game completely changed.
So there are basically two (well probably 1,500) different groups of different people that have their opinions about Strava. It is either the devil or the best thing ever. The rest of us in between see it as another tool or social sharing platform to share our rides and track our progress.
What you should really use Strava for…
I’ll be the first to admit…I have fallen in the segment drama in the past. I wanted that KOM. I wanted to beat all of my friends and people I didn’t even know. The reality is that I got more obsessed with data and a web app than I did the ride and that came at the sacrifice of my riding. So this is where the Strava antagonists will tell you that Strava is the devil. It’s not…it is the implementation that each of us use the software for that ends up being the issue.
It’s no secret by now that I have been working my way back on the bike and back to the riding I used to take for granted. While it has been an uphill battle (literally), it has taught me a lot about the sport and how much I really enjoy being out on the trail. During this process I have been working really hard at protecting my injuries while also strengthening the muscles that will keep me riding. With each ride I feel like things are getting back to what I would consider my prime riding years.
The true genius in Strava
The segments are really there to show your own progress. During this time in my life, Strava isn’t about beating that pro that showed up at the trail I love. It is actually more about tracking my progress and comparing that to previous rides. I am also able to watch my friends ride and accomplish their goals which is even better. Through Strava’s manual entry and training calendar, I am also able to track my workouts which is an incredible platform to keep that data.
Strava took the activities that I kept in 5 different places and combined them into one awesome platform. It isn’t about the guy that doesn’t want you to mess up his segment and pushes you out of the way on the trail. It is about my own journey and progress which is that much more important. If you ever find yourself not looking at the incredible view on your ride because you don’t want to mess up a segment time, you are doing it wrong. Just like with any tool presented to us…don’t let it take away from the true enjoyment of the trail.