Well, no. According to the article I will link to in a bit, it’s Swedish for ‘Strive’. But you know where this blog post is going at least.
Of course I knew it existed. I have been reading things like ‘check out my Strava data!’ on blogs for a couple of years now. I also have had guided ride clients try and convince me that I was missing out on something obviously fundamental to being a cyclist. But it wasn’t till Karsten visited a couple of weeks ago and actually showed me the wonders I could upload from my phone (I don’t have a Garmin…probably another thing that is only a matter of time): My route laid out on a map, nifty profile, all the data I already get from my Polar, plus – and this was the clincher – ‘segments’.
Segments are user-created bits of road – usually climbs – that, once created, show the Strava world who kicks ass and who doesn’t (the segments are shown in green, like on the profile above). Yes, of course, the top guy/girl is know as KOM (King of the Mountain). There is a ‘leader board’ of all riders who have ridden any given segment, with a Top Ten list that awards virtual trophies to those who red-line it enough to get up there. Like the few John and I got today…ahem.
Apart from trophies, Strava hands out ‘medals’ as well, which I think is your own personal Leader Board. On this particular Segment list it all looks like a bit of overkill – I mean, it was just a friggin’ ride in the Vaunage – but I can see the benefit of comparing these climbs with previous efforts, more than comparisons with other riders, actually.
There’s a lot more to Strava, like a Suffer Score, Analysis, etc., but I haven’t paid to become a premium user, so I don’t know how these things work really. You can also join ‘clubs’, or create your own. You can take part in Challenges (like climbing the accumulative elevation of all the Spring Classics races within a certain time frame), find other riders who are on Strava, compare yourself with them unfavorably, or maybe even otherwise. Like Facebook, the entertainment never ends.
For now I’m having a bit of fun with Strava, but I can see that it could potentially be taken a little seriously for über-competitive and narcissistic types (like people who write write blogs, for example).
However, there’s a darker side to Strava, involving car draftings, EPO, and even death! Read all about it in this long, but pretty interesting article from Outside:
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to create a segment for my driveway and see if I can get a KOM out of this puppy.