How I Became a Strava Whore

It all starts innocently enough, a glance at some stats and telling a few friends. Allowing the stats to tell me give me my boost I needed. The attention felt good from my Strava pimp. I could not get to my computer fast enough, so that Strava could tell me how good I had done or how much I sucked. Many times I already knew before I even looked. The conversation in my head would sometimes be like this:

“But I tried so hard!”

Do you see any trophies? Do you even see a PR?!

(sigh) “No.”

And god forbid if you ever come close to a KOM! Just delete your page off of my site and forget the whole thing.

“I’ll do better.”

Yeah, whatever.

Most start this problem at an early age, but not me. Oh, my love for bicycles started at an early age, but the darker aspects crept up on me. At first, I didn’t notice it. My family and friends tried to warn me. There was no love involved anymore, to enjoy the bicycle and my ride. No, I had to push deeper and deeper, seeking approval from others. Personal Bests must be achieved on every single ride. King of the Mountain times were pipe dreams, candy dangling at the end of the stick that forced me to the pull the cart a little harder. I am now noticing that the candy isn’t getting any closer. Like most whores, I’m just giving my body up for the fix. Speed is my drug.

I knew I had a problem when, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I embarked on a “spin the legs” 50 miler. I told myself that I would enjoy the bike. I would enjoy the day and stay at 17-18 mph . . . until. While on a familiar route, I topped a small climb and noticed in the distance what I believed was another cyclist. I told myself almost immediately to put it out of my mind. Ride and let ride. This continued for another few miles until a long straight away when the other rider came into view again, but this time I saw him look over his shoulder in my direction. Please allow me to admit that this is sad. I know it. But I guess the first step is admitting you have a problem. Right? Now, when said cyclists checked over his shoulder I kind of read that as a challenge that I hadn’t shortened any distance between him and me. I don’t think I need to tell the rest of the story. To say the least, my “spinner” turned into a full blown time trial and blowing past a guy who had a confused look on his face. Again, sad I know. What made matters worse was when I got back to the computer, due to the first few miles I was just spinning, my average was down and Strava told me I sucked and gave me no trophies.

Obviously, most of this is tongue-in-cheek, but there are flecks of real problems with cyclists who forget how to love cycling like they did when first starting the sport or like they did when pedaling to a friend’s house as a child. I have blogged before about riding “naked,” having no phone or computer on your bike. In all seriousness, I haven’t done this in quite some time. Yeah, you know why . . . because my “distance this week” on Strava will be down, showing everyone that I haven’t put my time in on the bike! I am truly thinking of deleting my account. Am I the only nut in the bowl?

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7 thoughts on “How I Became a Strava Whore

  1. Delete it . . .when you lose the joy of doing anything it’s time to eliminate what causing the problem. Enjoy you sport it’s much more rewarding.

  2. Don’t necessarily delete the account – but do step back from the competitive element. I have had similar issues in the past – the pressure I put on myself to beat that record or get this PB was enormous and sucked all the joy away.
    Thankfully I can now use Strava as a digital recording device to keep a note of where I’ve cycled to on my longer wanders. A digital diary if you will.

    1. Yes, I thought about that. I will give that some thought. The other problem I have is killing myself on a certain section and the GPS failing to pick it up. I had a ride the other day that was 43 miles and ended up only recording 18 of it. 😦
      Thanks for the comment and advice.

  3. or maybe have other ‘self competitive aims’, eg keeping your heart rate below a certain level for the ride, plenty of time to ‘start and stare’ to paraphrase a well known poem.

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