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When Strava Gets in the Way of a Good Bike Ride

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September 2018
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I have a feeling what I’m about to let you in on is going to be viewed as cycling sacrilege. It just is what it is.

I’m a big fan of Strava since I started using it a couple of months ago, but I’ve noticed a flaw. A few weeks ago, we’re cruising the Tuesday Night Club Ride, on our way to yet another fastest TNCR ever. The B Group is so fast now, we’re actually as fast as the A group used to be a few years ago. Anyway, we’re into our third hill. It’s a bit of a pernicious hill because we’ve got a nice little downhill to it so you can get a pretty good run at it. With a little bit of a tailwind, like the one we had that particular Tuesday, we can take it at 22-mph. Under normal circumstances, say on a solo ride, I’d take that hill at about 16-18 (depending on tailwind lack thereof) and be quite happy with it. In this case, I was second or third bike, thinking about how crazy fast we’re heading up that hill and here comes a few others blasting by us till they crested the hill, out of gas. They coasted down the back side before cranking it up the next hill.

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The group broke up in both instances.

I was at home looking at my data from the ride when I noticed the same two or three beat me by a second or two on the climb segments. They were charging up the hills and breaking up the group to get higher placements on the segments. The trick is starting at the back of the group and using it to get you halfway up the hill, then pass everyone up and crush it to the top. It’s not all that difficult.

It’s just… well, crappy.

On the other hand, for those who charge up the hills with them, we’re getting a lot stronger for the effort. Of course, if that’s the worst thing that happens to me on a Tuesday, I’ll be able to call it a pretty good day.

Here’s the rub, though, and I want to make this very clear so there is no misunderstanding: if you sit at the back and suck wheel in a group setting so you can “save it up” for the Strava segments, thereby blowing up the group in the process… You are an asshole. Stop it.


14 Comments

  1. ericritter65 says:

    Pretty much one of the main reasons I don’t ride with the local group here in Jackson, TN – they are all about starve segments, KOM and could care less who gets blown up because of their efforts! I still love strava, just not the local cycling group!

  2. unironedman says:

    Dictionary defintion of a dickhead right there…

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    Well that sucks doesn’t it? After all I’m surmising this is supposed to be for fun not qualifying for the Olympics? Stop it indeed!

  4. That’s the one downfall of Strava, people using group rides as their own personal lead out train. Many times I remember pulling up front all the way from the start of the ride, only to have the same culprits sprint off my wheel up the hill or suddenly unleash out of the group along some seemingly pointless bit of road.

    It’s a group ride, treat it as such!

  5. Wayne says:

    just a thought…You can make your own segments on Strava, so make some competitive segments ending at the city limit signs where you sprint, and tell folks those are a “free for all”. For segments on the regular route, set some incentive (food?) for a group average speed to discourage the “group busters”.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Good ideas, Wayne. Thank you. We already have segments at the sprints… That idea about discouraging group busters, that’s interesting. I’m going to kick that around for a bit. Thanks, brother.

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