Strava is changing the way I ride; Garmin Edge 500.
Since I started using Strava I’ve noticed that I’m riding shorter distances, but I’m riding much harder and with fewer breaks.
For example, yesterday I rode at Wekiwa and I did something I’ve never done before: I rode the entire “Bike Loop” like it was a cross-country mountain bike race. Normally when I ride this particular route I stop to rest a couple of times–generally after each timed section (called “segments” on Strava). Yesterday I decided to ride the entire loop with no breaks and no rest, and I rode very, very hard.
The end result was I completed the loop in just 39m36s; that’s a full 10 minutes faster than I’ve ever done this loop before! The reason the time was so much faster than my previous best is, of course, because yesterday I never stopped for a break and my pace was relentless.
With no rest breaks, you might expect that my times on the three segments that make up the complete Bike Loop would be slower than my previous bests (which were all set riding all-out knowing I’d get to rest after each section). Well, Strava didn’t correctly match the first two segments (I have a support ticket open) so I can’t compare those, but the final and most grueling segment, Marker 19 to Sand Lake Trailhead “Sand Hell” (Red Blaze Trail) I completed in just 16m43s. That’s a personal best/KOM by more than a full minute! I set my previous best time of 17m46s on that section just last week, and I did it after taking several minutes of rest. That makes yesterday’s time even more satisfying.
Hopefully Strava will be able to determine why two of the segments were not properly matched, as I’m curious how those times compare to my previous bests. On that note, I have to say the one thing that really annoys me about Strava (and this is probably more a function of GPS technology than an actual Strava issue), is when segment matching fails. It’s extremely aggravating to ride hard and expect to see a new personal record and/or King Of the Mountain when you’re done, only to find the segment didn’t even match properly.
I think getting a dedicated GPS device like the Garmin Edge 500 may solve a lot of these GPS issues. The Garmin would mount to my stem, and it would have a clear view of the sky (my phone is, of course tucked away in my pocket or in my CamelBak). In addition, the heart rate and cadence data provided by the Garmin would be fascinating to view on Strava along with the elevation, speed, power and distance data. Finally, being able to see my heart rate as I ride without having to take my hands off the handlebars (which is what I must do to check my Timex Ironman), would be much safer.