I went out for a ride this afternoon on one of my favorite loops in Kingdom Trails. I like to climb up Moose Alley and then cross over to Dead Moose Alley and climb that trail as well. Both climbs are long and technical enough that it is a challenge to clean the climbs without stopping or putting my foot down. The fact that I got a “King Of the Mountain” on Moose Alley is purely incidental. I won’t deny that the thought of how my climb would compare on Strava did cross my mind once or twice. I’ve done this climb at least few minutes faster in the past so I should be able to defend this KOM pretty easily.
Strava: turning every ride into a race-like suffer-fest. No, I’m not addicted to this, not at all….
Since getting this GPS and heart rate monitor unit, I have noticed that it tends to put a little extra subconscious pressure to ride faster. Part of that is created by wanting to check my time on various sections in Strava when I’m done. Okay, I have a slight competitive tendency in my personality. I can see where this might push up the intensity of my rides a bit but I tend to ride like that anyway.
I ran across this article on Bike Noob while searching for something else related to Strava. Apparently some guy decided to ignore the world around him while pursuing a KOM on a section of road somewhere and managed to get killed. Now his family is suing Strava for not warning that this particular section of road is unsuitable for racing. While I genuinely hate to hear of anyone dying, and I’m sure that his family is hurting from the loss, sometimes bad things just happen. I hardly see it as Strava’s responsibility to verify the conditions on every segment of trail and road and then evaluate them for safety – that’s the responsibility of every person the minute they get on the bike. Even on a closed race course you have to keep your wits about you. There doesn’t seem to be any limits to the avoidance of personal responsibility.
A more detailed account of the incident can be found at Fit Recovery.
Okay, I admit that I can be a bit of a nerd at times. I’m a Unix admin, so I think I’m officially allowed to make that claim. Merging geeky data analysis with biking is like merging peanut butter with jelly, cream filling with an Oreo, fries with a burger, corporate donations with elections, milk with cookies… you get the idea. I bought a Garmin GPS watch with a heart rate monitor for my birthday last week. The heart rate monitor I had had become flaky (because it was cheap), so I was able to justify the purchase as a replacement. Regardless of the rationalizations, I’m hoping to get a little better view of my rides and how well they fit into my delusions of actually training. The best part is that I don’t have to think about it: I’ll just go and enjoy the ride, and then geek out over the data later.
I got out with the watch for my first real ride yesterday and uploaded the data to Strava. I guess I’ll make it my goal to own Kingdom Trails by accumulating “King of the Mountain” (KOM) on as many trail segments as I can. After checking out some of the times that are posted, I’m a little skeptical about the validity of a few. Also, the way the segments in Kingdom Trails are reported in Strava are a bit of a mess. These are created by the users so it’s not going to be perfect.
Regardless, the ability to view heart rate with the sections of trail I rode is pretty interesting. I have noticed that the GPS tends to report a shorter distance than my cycle computer does. The elevation data isn’t always accurate either but that’s a known issue with any GPS system. I’ll need a few more rides with this to get a sense of where I can make changes with my riding. If nothing else, it’s pretty cool to check out the graphs.