Monday, March 19, 2012
Goodbye Town Line Sprint, Hello #Strava
I taste what you call “Strava Glory.” It’s sort of a sweet & salty mix of GU Energy gels and sweat combined with the odor of burning 350 dollar bills. The Best Bike Blog EVER is now on Strava, sits on top of a Leaderboard and has a crown to prove it. Better check your segments to see if you got knocked down a rung. Ba bam! Judo chop!
The problem is, I’m sort of having trouble squeezing my big head into my tiny .jpeg crown. Still, I make no apologies for spending the equivalent of a week’s worth of family groceries on a GPS enabled cycling computer. My Polar passed away and I enjoy a team discount. So while you were out racing for real on Sunday, we went segment hunting in Northern Kentucky with my new Garmin Edge 500.
After the ride, unlike most people I know on Strava.com, I was able to toss my kit in the wash, take a shower, make a recovery shake and eat lunch before downloading my first ride file. I know better. While standing naked with their I-phone between their legs, sadly those who are addicted will find out there is not an App to cure jock itch and saddle sores.
Prior to our Sunday morning adventure, I virtually scouted segments of our planned ride. In a way Strava turns the sport of cycling into a video game. That sort of bothers me. It brings cycling one step closer to Farmville. You scoff at the ridiculousness of people paying real money for virtual world real estate, but yesterday I wondered what it would’ve taken for my teammate to sit up 10 meters from the top and let me have the segment? Damn. I drilled it with all I had.
There are no rules on Strava. Segments aren’t asterisked with “drafted behind bus” or motor-paced by Vespa. Sunday we returned favors, a lead-out for a lead-out. That’s fair game I think. Lead-outs are part of cycling. But the next time we crest Amsterdam Road, I wonder how I’ll play it. And it irks me that I’m even thinking of this. Will I defend it? Or, will I offer up some Strava currency to save my crown, an inner tube or air cartridge, a Coca-Cola or Snickers at the convenience store, a buck slid in the right hand jersey pocket.
The great thing about winning good ol' wooden town line sprints is enjoying the moment of glory among your peers. As I log in and check the leaderboard on this 80 degree March day, I’m worried Strava is stretching the moment too far.