The first spring-like day in March also means my first strava session = what shape’s the body in after winter’s hibernation and…will Strava become obsessive?
I have mentioned in a previous blog that one of my cycling goals this year was to participate in Dumfries CC’s very well run TT series. So after many years of cycling why now for a taste of time trialling? Two reasons; I think when you’re cycling you always want to try new things and have variety. You hear this on the road when cyclists talk about their training or their objectives for the year ahead. The other reason is a little more specific. I want to see if I can improve marginally, riding with cadence, riding in a certain shape and sustaining a tempo.
I’m not really concerned with the TT league placings (maybe this is reverse psychology – acknowledging defeat before losing)? but my objective is that the TT discipline will impact on my cycling in a good way. Likewise I’m hoping to join one of my fellow roadies who is a keen mtb rider for some sessions to help with bike handling during the spring.
Key to my preparation for the TTs will be the app. STRAVA. I’m not a fully signed up Garmin user at the moment. The cost of a Garmin could get me some new cycling shoes and a cool pair of Castelli bib shorts.
Strava is an excellent free app which probably sucks the battery power on my iphone but no matter. The GPS is pretty accurate and you can then store your rides on your own Strava page. The Strava page has a social network aspect with fellow bikers following you etc.
But the key to Strava is the stats breakdown – the specifics of performance. There’s something magnetic and potentially obsessive about stats: what your body is doing or not doing. This winter I’ve tried to work a lot more with stats using my old cateye cadence monitor. After many years of battering myself on the turbo ‘trying to get better…’ I decided this year to only allow achievable targets and these targets must only be marginal improvements. Does this sound unambitious?
Probably yet the results for me have meant a very different winter to others. Take intervals for example, the staple of the turbo session along with the pyramid. This winter I decided every aspect of the interval session must be absolutely correct;
- interval speed/cadence,
- off interval speed/cadence
- rest speed/cadence.
Without doubt I found dealing in these specifics very hard, physically. But I’m glad I finally found out how to have a proper and therefore successful interval session!
There are dangers of course with Strava. For example how long will it be before we start saying ‘ I strava’d’ instead of I went for a bike run? But the main one is becoming what American riders call a Stravasshole. On the Boulder Cycling webpage they even have a list of criteria for the Stravasshole –
- Choosing a Strava Segment due to favourable winds
- Stravaing while in a pack, no, this is a solo thing!
- Descending in a bubble and yelling “Strava”
- Posting your Strava account link on your resume
I hope it doesn’t all go too far, I’m a big enough idiot without adding Stravasshole to my list of under achievements! For those interested there’s a great article about the Strava craze, including its dangers on the Outside web page – you’ll find it here.
Of course instead of all the stats and Strava, if you come home after cycling, your clothes soaked in sweat, your eyes sunken into your cheekbones and legs smashed…then you probably had a hard session!!! (you’ll know this without checking your Garmin).