We should all be familiar with Strava and their challenges, enough has been said and written about them. Endomondo, my sports tracker of choice, has challenges as well, but Endo comes at it from more of an overall mileage or calories burned perspective.
Last year and the year before I spent a lot more time tracking them and even took first place in Michigan for October, but this year I’ve had my sights on other things. That said, I decided to check in to see where I stood…
Here’s how I’m stacking up this year:
National Bike Challenge, Michigan: 10th Place out of 200 (Top 5%)
National Bike Challenge, USA: 446th out of 13,580 (Top 3%)
Just Pedal and Win: 526th out of 236,698 (Top 0.002%)
Crank It Up Fit Challenge: 86th of 29,324 (Top 0.003%)
I’ve always tried to stay in the top ten percent, figuring if I’m there, amongst those of us who are nutty enough to actually track our workouts regularly, I’m doing pretty good. Last season, and especially the season before (the first year I started tracking), I relied heavily on Endomondo challenges for motivation to get out and ride when I’d rather have taken a day off – not that I really wanted to, but because I kept listening to all of the advisors tell me that I needed to take more time off.
This season though, cycling has taken a much more sustainable position in my daily life. I don’t get out to set records or personal bests (though I sure do enjoy them when they happen) so much anymore. It’s more about just being out on the open road, either alone or much more with all of the friends I’ve met at the Tuesday night club ride. It was Mike from the Tuesday night gang who invited me to be a lead bike for the Crim. Matt invited me to ride with their invite only group and Phil who I’ve ridden with countless times over the last two seasons, and Mike McD. who I warm up with every Tuesday night and Carla, her husband and kids that my wife and I and our kids ride with on the odd Friday to get an ice cream cone… These friendships have replaced the Endomondo Ether Awards. I no longer need that kind of motivation to ride my bike or to seek improvement though I do still track my workouts.
I suppose at some level I still enjoy looking at what I’ve done. Whether from a big-picture view such as overall miles or calories burned for a week, month or year or from a smaller perspective such as how fast I was able to climb a hill I ride regularly.
The difference this year is that my iPhone sits in a back pocket in my jersey with the sound turned down more often than on its stem mount on my bike. I used to listen for the mile times to gage my overall speed and track exertion. Today I’m more comfortable in my ability to discern what is pushing and what is taking it easy without the tracking software.
This has been my own experience and while I don’t rely on Endomondo as much as I used to, the GPS tracking programs can be fun tools to stay motivated to put the miles in day after day. At the same time, while Endo does still play a part in my fitness, I’ve fully embraced the rewarding social aspect of cycling. Whatever it takes.