I’ve never really been that competitive, and if I’ve ever been comparably fit enough to keep up with a high level athlete, it has been entirely a coincidence.
The result is that my style of exercise is to loaf along and enjoy myself, raising a sweat and burning muscles and fat at a slow rate, but at least I am exercising.
So why on earth would I join Strava?
Strava’s big selling point is that you can compare yourself with other people over segments of a ride/run and perhaps use the comparison as motivation for self-improvement.
I have a few friends and work colleagues who use Strava and have been egging me to get on board for a while, so recently I joined.
Having not ridden much at all in the past few months, I promptly set out on a mountain bike ride, at a slow pace, knowing from previous experience that if I over-exert myself on my first few re-entry rides I always get attacks of cramps somewhere between 30-50km into the ride.
The good news is that my pace meant that I did not cramp. The bad news is that I logged the ride on Strava. I was consistently bad on all the segments I passed through, even last on one reasonable climb.
I know I will improve, but I also know that I’ll rarely ever be in the top 1/4 of riders, especially on highly popular segments.
For those of us who end up last or near last on the leaderboard, is Strava actually a tool for encouragement or a tool of self-flagellation?
I haven’t made up my mind yet.
BUT WAIT A MINUTE!
Before you put me down as a lazy, whining loser, I have been pushing myself harder as a result of being on Strava and I will certainly get fitter because of it.
So for now, Strava makes me look lousy, and I may always look lousy, but I’m gonna have fun looking lousy and maybe one far distant morning I’ll track a ride and I won’t look so lousy anymore.