Strava or it didn't happen....

Posted – 670 words – Riding

The statement "Strava or it didn't happen" has echoed round the cycling community for a long time now. It's one of those statements that people seem to laugh off yet still take massively seriously.

When i was in my "prime" cycling phase, i would even Strava a simple trip to the shops and then quickly rush to upload my ride to the internet, compare it with others and analyse that sprint segment or hill climb to within an inch of its life so that i could try and shave even a second off my commute or quick blast to the shops for a bottle of milk.

The only problem with doing this is that i ended up treating cycling as a sport in totally the wrong way.

I wasn't training for anything in particular, i wasn't even thinking about going into even hobbyist racing, i just had a healthy want to see a progression in my cycling and i generally just wanted to get quicker than i was at that moment. As far as i was concerned, there was no problem doing this except for when it started to take the fun out cycling for me.

For me personally, cycling had become more of a dick measuring exercise rather than the enjoyable experience that i had come to love over the years

My commutes had turned into a one man race to beat himself every day, my Sunday ride outs with friends turned into an all out assault to get to that particular days cafè stop faster than i ever had before and the very rare "relaxing ride", was heading towards a pace that i would've considered brisk a few months earlier. I mean, the more you do something the better you become at it in most cases so naturally this was going to happen.

Something had to give and it was probably going to be the fleshy part sat atop of the saddle before the technology. For me personally, cycling had become more of a dick measuring exercise rather than the enjoyable experience that i had come to love over the years.

My initial reasons for picking up cycling was because i loved riding fixed gear bikes. Back in the early days of fixie riding in Preston, we would all go out and do stupid skids, track-stands and footdown competitions in car parks and inappropriate roads around the city most nights of the week. These then usually ended in a McDonalds stop before heading home in the early hours of the morning. As the scene progressed and as my love for cycling followed suit, i started getting into cycling as a whole and not just riding fixed and this is where i found road bikes. Geared, freewheeling, road bikes.

From this point onwards, my whole mindset towards cycling moved from having fun to beating my previous best.

As you can see, i was never "fast" but i didn't consider myself to be particularly slow either. On my commutes to work, i was averaging about 15 - 17 mph with a top speed of somewhere around the 30mph mark depending on the route that i took, whether i had a good sleep the night before, and what i had eaten in the morning. The problems started coming when on those bad days, i'd average maybe 14mph with a top speed of 20mph and i'd feel like i'd failed? Failed what? There was nothing saying that i had done something wrong except for the way that i thought when i saw my Strava times!

As you can see, the Strava ride above was from a long time ago, and this was one of the last times that i used Strava on a ride or commute. I've still been riding, and i've still been using my Garmin to track the rides that i've done, but i haven't been putting them online for anyone else to compare too, or for me to over analyse afterwards.