An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Striving for Strava

I've seen on the forums that there's a subset of the cycling world that attaches some sense of self-worth to their list of Strava KOMs (KOM = King of the Mountain). It can become a bit of a battle of egos to get, and keep, the top position of some arbitrary piece of road (or trail) that some one has designated as a "segment" that gets tracked across all log-inners.

And there are some that practice Strava "poaching", planning routes specifically to post top times over special segments.

In the saddest commentary on the state of our society, there are even those who will employ "instant EPO" to their data that will boost their speed some percentage in an attempt to digitally drug themselves into faster speeds. Or carry their phone in a pocket while driving...

Okay, that's not what this post is about... Sorry for the digression.

I'm not one to go Strava poaching. In fact, I just turn it on when I start a ride, put my phone in my pocket, and don't look at it again until I'm finished with the ride. I do it as a back-up to my cyclometer so I have results of distance and speed should the normal on-board data fail. Yes, there are some segments on my normal routes. I didn't create them (I don't even know how). There are several where I'm in the top 10, several more where I'm top 40, and many more where I'm mired somewhere in the middle of seemingly every rider to ever set tires to pavement.

Well, this week I specifically pushed it on two segments in an attempt to get the top time, but I didn't go out of my way to ride those sections of road -- they were just on my already-planned route for the day.

This morning was the second. Yesterday on the normal LBS group ride, I looked afterwards and saw that my time over a specific hill was only 7 seconds off the top spot. And that wasn't even my best time. On the way out the door today, I wondered if I had those 7 seconds in me.

I rode mostly easy for a good 10 miles, but still at a good clip, and when I turned the corner I poured it on. A small downhill to get the speed going, and then pushing it through the short flat, the slope slowly rises, getting steeper as you go. I clicked down a gear, then another, then another, stood up and gave it a hard push. Since I wasn't exactly sure where the segment ended, I kept the effort up until the next intersection. I was breathing hard, but not completely spent... I just continued on with the ride, not knowing whether I'd accomplished my goal.

It wasn't until a good half hour after I got home that I even looked at the results.

Not only did I have the 7 seconds in me, but I had 7 more.

I kind of got a little boost out of that.

Sad, I know. Competing against a bunch of people who don't even know it's a race...

The kid who had the KOM... The last time I bested one of his efforts, he went out and reclaimed it the next day. So I figure this one might last until Tuesday.

Maybe some day I'll actually meet this kid, and we can go head to head on the road.

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