Getting Strava-fied

31 07 2013

I’ve never raced my bike, but I love to win trophies.

Virtual ones.

I’ve been Strava-fied.

I first started logging my cycling mileage online in 2003. That’s when I found a little website called activebody.org. It’s pretty rudimentary, but I was able to transfer the data from my old school cycle computer to give me cumulative totals of my mileage and time on the bike by the week, the month and the year.

There was also seasonal “challenges” that allowed me to see how I stood against the other riders, those from my country and those in my age bracket.

Then I got a Garmin.

The Garmin changed my life!

The Garmin changed my life!

Suddenly I had more data than I knew what to do with. My ascents were no longer guesstimates. I could see my route on a map. I didn’t have to do math to figure out my average speed.

But each ride existed unto itself. So I still logged everything into activebody.org for the cumulative and comparative numbers. Besides, I kinda enjoyed watching my name rise up the ranks in the seasonal challenges.

Then last year, someone sent me an invite to join Strava.

I’d heard about Strava, even read articles about it. I really didn’t have a burning desire to join as Garmin’s site already gave me reams of info about my rides.

I let the invite slide deeper and deeper into the bowels of my email In box.

Then, one day curiosity got the better of me.

It didn’t take long for me to get hooked – as in the first time I noticed the little trophy icon at the top of my ride stats.

Now when I return from rides and download my Garmin, my eyes immediately dart to the little trophy icon to see how my effort compared to previous runs along the same segments. I want those trophy icons. If I come up dry, I’m disappointed; I obviously didn’t go hard enough.

When I download to Strava, the first thing I look for is the trophy.

When I download to Strava, the first thing I look for is the trophy.

Of course I harbor no illusions that I’ll ever be top of the heap in a sprint, or King of the Mountain on a climb; but the incentive to improve on my own performances can keep my legs churning when my spirit is flagging.

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