Thursday, April 11, 2013

Strava Rage

A year ago, Mike Harris titled a  ride on Strava as "Strava Whoring with Matt..." I blogged about it. The term has caught on some, especially locally.  Google it in quotes, Mike's usage comes up first, and there does not appear to be an earlier usage of the term.  In some areas, the term "KOM Hunting" is used. That sounds too politically correct to me. Googling "Strava Whoring" without the quotes brings up another tag, "Leaderboard Whoring."  These all refer to the same thing, where our riding morals have been reduced to improving leaderboard standings at any cost.

When one goes out Strava whoring, KOM titles are achieved using any methods, letting nothing get in your way. Target a westerly segment when there is a vicious easterly tailwind? You bet! Fair game. Have your friend give you a huge leadout into a steep climb? Absolutely! I may be guilty of that one. Know a cocky Cat 4 rider that lays claim to a cheesy KOM in his neighborhood? That's right, warmup on fresh legs, slay the KOM, then go home. You can almost hear him cry.  The almighty Strava leaderboards will indelibly leave its mark on cycling this decade. The psyche of cycling has changed.

This penchant for KOMs has a dark side. Another term I see increasing usage of is Stravasshole. This term is levied against people who are going for a Strava KOM, and the rest of the world be damned if they get in their way. This happens on the road and trails. It has resulted in fatalities of both riders and struck pedestrians.  Really, how important is it that you move up a spot for the 11th street sprint KOM when you are running a red light or going for the Little Bear trail KOM when a family is hiking up?

Yet another term came to mind this week after two people I know had trouble uploading GPS data to Strava. In one case, a FIT file was corrupted, in another, an iPhone app failed to recognize a segment. In both cases, riders (you know who you are) crushed local KOMs while out on good ol' Strava whoring rides.  I can just see it. Can't wait to get home, upload the file, see your name at the top of the leaderboard, knowing the person you just displaced is getting one of those "Uh-oh" emails. But the process craps out. Your file is gone or your app missed the segment.  You go ape shit. You took the KOM. You know you did. The world deserves to see it. You went out on a mission and now you have nothing to show for it. Strava Rage! I know, I've been there.

Googling "Strava Rage" with the quotes nets about 360 hits.  Seems this term is used more in Australia and the UK, and they use it as present tense of a Stravasshole going for a KOM title and cursing anybody that gets in his way.

Try not to be Stravassholes while out whoring, folks. We have enough rage in our society without Strava rage.


DaveP said...

Doug, And you're surprised? Have you ever done a bike race, especially road? It already existed, it's just that it's now in a electronic format that can be collected, analyzed and aggregated by people like you. I will be the Raging Asshole Whore on your ride on Sun, Fatty!

plum said...

Someone does this to KOMs I set in my neighborhood. I laugh because the only way people have been able to take them are either by hitting them within minutes of the start of their rides on fresh legs, or bombing into the segment from the wrong lane of a busy road. Fine, you can have them.

Something I suggested to Strava long ago was to completely change the paradigm of the KOM and put it into context. Because any loser can eventually beat someone else if the absolute measure is simply time. The resourceful rat will always find the cheese. But if you score KOMs in terms of time against difficulty of the ride completed before entering the segment, I think it's a more interesting and relevant measure.

Brian B said...

"Try not to be Stravassholes while out whoring, folks. We have enough rage in our society without Strava rage." LOL

PedalHead said...

Anyone that thinks riders going for KOM's are A-holes are looking at it the wrong way because it can be a lot of fun if you consider this:

STRAVA means to Strive...or improve, maximize potential etc.

So what is wrong with someone going and giving their all to try for aa KOM?

Some lowly Cat 4's might be extra motivated considering that a lot of the harder KOM top 5's are populated by local Pro's and Cat 2's...So all the more reason to give your all and try to top their time. It is called exercising your potential and it just might bring out some extra effort.

I am guilty of trying for KOM's, but it can be fun and a great way to do some interval training. Also, I will be the first to congradulate anyone that comes and knocks me off a KOM. More power to you and "Hello" we are riding bikes here...yes it is FUN!

So, don't look at it like that.

Anyone throwing around the term "Stravassole" probably is a bit insecure and worried about losing those two KOM's they know they earned by luck and not an honest give all effort.

Go ride your bike and have some fun! Cheers...

plum said...

PedalHead swings......and the bat goes flying into the stands.

Hill Junkie said...

PedalHead - don't get me wrong here. I enjoy going after KOMs as much as anybody else. In fact, just last Friday I went out Strava Whoring with the sole purpose of taking a local KOM on Abbott Hill Rd. I agree Strava adds an element of motivation that is sometimes hard to obtain when riding solo.

If I was making a point, it was that a few riders take KOMs too seriously, jeopardizing their safety and the safety of others in their environment. No need to be so fixated on a KOM that you run walkers or oncoming riders off a trail, lest you lose a second or two on your effort. That is just poor judgement.

Anti-mountain biker sentiment has skyrocketed since Strava came on the scene. Groups like the Sierra Club and other political action committees are using Strava data to show where mountain bikers are illegally riding and popular hiking trails where "race course" KOMs are set up with the ridiculous speeds people are riding these trails. Just when the mountain biking community is making great inroads with public land managers, we don't need this negative attention a few riders bring down upon us.

Anyway, I kind of poo-pooed Strava when it first came online, but it has grown on me. I load pretty much all my activity to it, run-bike-ski, and do jealously defend a few KOMs I deem worthy of protection.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

PedalHead said...

Agreed, the emphasis should be on fun...and I admit to being a Stravasshole on occasion, he he. But do always slow if encountering hikers etc., the segment will always be there for another run at it.

Just meant that the folks throwing the term around are probably taking the whole Strava thing a bit too seriously.

Enjoy your blog! Thanks for having the courage to speak your mind and put it out there for all to enjoy and debate as well...Cheers!

PedalHead said...

@ Plum..

If your so worked up about people gaming the system and taking your personal Segments, might I suggest getting off your butt and take them back instead of whining about it and making excuses of how they were able to one up you. Good Luck.

plum said...

Where in what I wrote do you gather the impression that I am even remotely worked up about it. I could care less if people try to kill themselves trying to take my internet trophies.

the bully said...

Doug, you know that the old little bear is mine. Please insert link so that all of your readers know.

the bully said...

Love the Strava thing. Love the leaderboards. I will also say that all of the folks I ride with are courteous to other trail users. If you're bombing a trail and see another trail user. Then you sit up, slow down, and say hi. KOM attempt nullified. Oh well, there will be another time I'm sure.
Doug will you be taking today's KOM's tomorrow? Just wondering? I just want to be prepared when I get the eMail.

Hill Junkie said...

Bully - maybe when I'm out on a recovery ride I'll swing through there and clean up on a few KOMs... not! Taunt me later in the season. While you were mashing a giant singlespeed gear all winter, I was daintily gliding along on skis.

Cathy said...

HA! I know who one of those people with Strava rage might be :). Of course, I also set a KOM (yes, a KOM, not even a QOM) last night and there was no end of ribbing for my ride mates.

CB2 said...

I was accused of strava-whoring today because I rode one of my usual routes on my day off. Guess you shouldn't do that if someone claims a KOM the day before.

Hill Junkie said...

Yeah CB2, I was just giggling when I saw that on the Strava feed.