What is Strava?
We’ve been using Strava for over two years and have seen it spread across the map like some kind of virus with no known vaccine. In general terms, Strava is a gps mapping software that plots your bike gps data on a map and collects stats. What really makes it special though is the concept of segments. A segment is a user-generated, user-voted section of the ride that is measured from start to finish. A segment can be 10 feet or 10 miles long, climbing or descending. It is basically a start and a finish line where you are measured against yourself and against others. This is the secret sauce of Strava. Without segments, Strava is just another mapping application. But with segments, it is a new paradigm of riding where everything is measured on your ride.
And Strava does it without ever having to interrupt your ride. You start the gps or phone at the beginning of the ride and stop it at the end. But when you get home and upload your data, you are measured against every single ride you ever did. And you will be measured against every other Strava user in the world. And the Strava user base, your facebook friends, and your email subscribers will see if you shaved off that coveted one second to get the King of the Mountains… up your driveway.
Lea Davison and Strava
PRs and KOMs
If segments are the secret sauce of Strava, PRs and KOMs are the rewards. PRs are personal records as every attempt of yours on a segment is kept. If you achieve your lowest time, your are awarded a PR Medal. PRs are depicted by different color medals and anyone can and will get a PR since you are measured against yourself.
KOMs on the other hand are a whole different ballgame. A KOM or King of the Mountain measures all riders who’ve ever crossed a segment and the top 10 are awarded trophies. The top dog is awarded a gold crown or KOM. Segments with less that 5 riders are petty. But segments with hundreds or thousands of riders are legendary. Here is the Old La Honda Climb in Woodside, CA. http://app.strava.com/segments/627564
If there is a competitive bone anywhere in your body, Strava can probably find it and harness it.
Is it a Verb Yet?
We will let others review the features and buttons on Strava. It keeps evolving for the better anyway. What we wanted to cover was the social impact of Strava. They say you’ve arrived in this internet space when you’ve become a verb. Strava is almost there but we’re not sure if the masses will ever catch on to using ‘strava’ in everyday language. Here’s some of the words we’ve observed though and some we propose:
Strava (verb) – to attempt to get PRs (personal records) or KOMs (overall records) on segments.
1. “Are you going to Strava Old La Honda this afternoon?”
2. “That dude must have been Strava-ing the Skeggs ride yesterday.”
Stravamail (noun) – these are the emails you get from Strava telling you that your friends are gods and are riding while you are stuck in a cubicle. A particularly disturbing piece of mail is one that tells you that someone just stole your KOM.
1. “Honey, I’ll be home late or not at all. I just got Stravamail that my KOM was stolen and I have to get it back.”
Stravacide (noun) – to go out on an all out effort and take ridiculous risks to achieve the KOM on a segment.
Stravasshole (noun) – to run other trail users off the trail since one is strava-ing that ride. Some of these riders often yell ‘STRAVA’ as they want you to get out of the way. Right of way and riders needing assistance are often ignored by Stravassholes.
Stravacheat (noun) – these are special tricks that users employ to achieve KOM status. Examples are taking a parallel and easier trail as part of a segment where Stava still thinks it’s part of a segment. Drafting, motorpacing, cutting the course are all parts of Stravacheats.
Stravaerror (noun) – Stravaerror is the inherent error in gps and cell phone devices where accuracy is off by +- 10 seconds
1. “Man, I had that KOM if not for that Stravaerror factor.”
PreStrava (noun) – This is the world before Strava. In this world, racers were slower. Secret rides and secret training was still secret.
Stravafail (noun) – Stravafail is when Strava fails you and does not record a segement time on your run. You cross the start line and finish line but for some inexplicable reason, it fails to register your KOM run as valid. Thus, all is lost.
1.”Yes, I ride with a Garmin 500, 800 and Iphone running Strava at all times to provide redundancy against Stravafail.”
Stravadork – (noun) – This is a rider who refuses to ride without Strava. In addition, all petty activities such as walking the dog, checking the mail, going 50 times around a pump track are all recorded.
Stravapoach – Stravapoach is posting illegal trail rides on Strava. It’s like the first rule of Fight Club, violated.
Strava Hunting – This is the act of riding purely for the purpose of finding and achieving as many KOMs as possible. This is a game for the opportunistic where effort must be conserved until the all-out attacks on the segments along the route.
What about you? Any suggestions? How has Strava changed your riding?
Post a review on the Strava App HERE.