Love it or hate it, Strava has taken over a huge part of cycling. Many of us have heard the saying that if it is not on Strava then it did not happen. Call it data tracking. Call it a social media site. Call it crap. To be upfront, I am in the Strava (Scotty Brooks / Arnold’s Bike Shop) mix. I will be honest. I have very recently panicked when I could not get a very nice solo ride to upload when I returned to my truck. I enjoy looking at my data. I am data driven in my training; therefore, I am a Strava premium member. Heck, I really enjoy following the professionals and seeing their mind-blowing data. Yes, I have written about the darker side of Strava before. It can become an obsession. KOMs and PRs haunt some people. Some achieve these by just all-out cheating, and others just find . . . let us say, easier ways to break personal records and segments. Here are some of my solutions for Strava the next time their engineers are all sitting around reading my blog:
- Strava already records if you are riding in a group. Set the algorithms to set different King of Mountain perimeters if you are in a group, as apposed to riding alone. I have seen, time and time again, a group attack a KOM. What is the purpose? It is KING, not KINGS of the Mountain.
- If you are a big-time professional rider, Strava and the whole world knows it. Riding around and crushing KOMs that cannot be re-taken by mere mortals is not a good thing. There should be separate KOMs for those dudes . . . and dudets. God bless those simpletons who have to ride around in Southern France or Italy.
- Strava sections that lead into private property that is behind a locked gate is just wrong. If you have to do that to hold a KOM (that you made to begin with), you are not a cyclist. You are just an moron on a bicycle.
I personally do not go out KOM hunting. I know some riders whom their whole cycling experience revolves around finding sections. I think that becomes a part that takes away from the overall experience of riding, but to each his own. If I get a KOM on a section, I am excited. If I lose one, yes, my competitive spirit flares up a bit, but it is NOT the end of the world. I also know of segments in my riding area that have super-human KOMs by questionable riders that I do not even attempt to take. I have a Garmin 520 Edge and enjoy Strava being linked to it through Connect. For example, having a virtual partner with whom I can compete in a section or go against myself from a previous ride is a sweet feature.
Whether Strava is here to stay or just a fad that will be replaced with something else is yet to be determined, but it needs to evolve. The engineers of Strava need to learn from what works and what does not. Updates happen, and that is a good thing for little tweaks here and there, but some parts need an overhaul . . . like KOMs, maybe by Strava and also our way of thinking. To answer the question, the point is to push yourself, train harder, and be rewarded for your INDIVIDUAL effort.