Following any bike ride, long or short, you will find me on my sofa, helmet probably still on, going through my Strava segments with a fine tooth comb; what was my average kmph, where am I placed in the ‘all time women’ section and then the ‘women this year’ section, did I achieve any PB’s?! People mock on Facebook that you may as well not have gone to the gym if you don’t write a status update… that you went to the gym. Well as ridiculous as that is, my addiction (and I’m not alone!) to Strava is equally so. To date, I’ve twice gotten home from a ride only to rush to the sofa and find that I didn’t hit “Go”. It’s crushing. I’ll say again – it’s ridiculous, but I honestly can’t emphasise enough how distraught I feel when Strava hasn’t followed me around on my ride, logging all my efforts, successes, and even my struggles. Without Strava, to ride, is pointless. Or at least that is how it feels when one is a “Strava Addict”!
I live at the top of a hill; it’s 0.5 km with an average gradient of 6.3% and when I first started cycling it killed me. I had to stop for rests, my partner sometimes had to push me along and I’d say my average time getting up it was around 5-6 minutes. My first recorded time on Strava was 3.57, doing 9kmph. This hill became my nemesis; every ride ended with it and due to this I became obsessed with improving my times. I’d also pretty much judge my entire rides based on how I did on ‘Holly Hill Rd’ – it became the marker for my general progression on the bike. Steadily over the months my time up Holly Hill has improved. Initially I set myself a target of getting down to under 3 minutes and I still remember the first time that I did this – the celebration was extravagant, I was extremely excited and quite literally felt like throwing a party in my honour. Nowadays I live for the Holly Hill PB’s! And I push myself to the max to achieve them! So can you imagine, one day I’m pushing; my thighs are burning, my breathing is on the edge of death-like and my heart is racing – I knew it was a PB, I just knew it. I’d paced myself really well, rode in good gears and finished with a sprint. WAS MY STRAVA ON?!
No matter how well I think I rode Holly Hill that day, without Strava confirming my time, I will never know and that, in this cycling world, is a hard pill to swallow.
I now take extra care making sure my Strava is on and with me. All jokes aside though, I have found the app a great tool. I can see my progression in black and white, and especially when it comes to the regular routes – I can monitor my overall kmph, then look at how my pace is improving (or not!) on certain segments. It pushes me to compete with myself, to challenge myself and ride harder, and I get so much satisfaction from seeing my achievements, and seeing where maybe I haven’t quite ‘bettered’ myself only makes me up my game on the next ride.
My Holly Hill PB currently stands at 2.19 doing 15kmph and. . . I am QOM!! (Out of 5, but still!)