Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Strava and KOM's

Chris Chainring over at From the Pavement's Edge wrote a couple of posts recently that talk about Strava and King of the Mountain honors.  Bike Noob has also recently become a Strava convert as he mentions here.  Both of these got me thinking about the whole idea of an application that tracks various segments of roads and trails and allows riders to measure their riding of these segments not only against themselves but against others who have ridden and tracked their cycling along the same segments.

Previously I've mentioned looking for local segments and riding them just to see how I could do against other riders.  In this post I talk about a quick ride and looking for local segments. I'm not obsessed with the segments, primarily because I know I am not fast, but it is fun to compare myself to others and watch my progress as I set new PRs (Personal Records) on the various segments as my cycling ability improves.

One thing that annoyed me, however, was that some other local cyclist seemed to be segment hunting to see if they could achieve KOMs (King Of The Mountain) on those segments.  I had created a personal segment which I had unfortunately made public. My purpose for this was simply to measure my own progress by letting Strava tell me when I had improved on my previous best time.  All was well and good until these faster cyclists saw it and decided to do their thing, completely destroying my time!  Here is the current leaderboard from that segment:

As you can see, Joe Lindner was the first to beat my time back in 2012, then a year ago Jason and Terra apparently rode the segment together cementing their KOM and QOM titles.  Quite a difference between what they did and what I did, but the important thing is that my PR on 8/1/13 is over 2 mph faster than my first try after creating the segment back in April of 2012.  Progress has been made.  My goal is to increase my PR on this segment this year by at least 1 mph.  We'll see if I can do it.

This is what Strava is for, measuring oneself against previous accomplishments and against others. The key is to not get obsessed with the numbers and comparisons to the point where the riding is work and no longer fun.  Its the fun that keeps me riding and really nothing else.

Eat well and Get On Your Bike And Ride!