Strava is fun, but there can be too much of a good thing.
Since discovering Strava a little less than three months ago I’ve become completely addicted. There’s no question that Strava has a lot going for it: I obviously enjoy the competitive aspect a great deal, but Strava’s web interface has also proven to be an excellent means of tracking how many miles I’m putting in, where I’m riding, sharing my rides with others and so forth. I also enjoy checking out my post-ride data on Strava’s site, which includes stuff like my heart rate, elevation data, estimated power and so on. Even slightly gimmicky (but still fun) features such as Strava’s “Suffer Score” appeal to me.
One thing I’ve noticed since I started using Strava is that I no longer do any pure fun rides. That’s not to say I’m not having fun when I’m out there killing it (I enjoy that too), but I’ve let a big part of what made me fall in love with mountain biking slip away…
I started to realize this when I was putting in some cornering practice last week. I remember when I stopped on the trail so I could back up and practice hitting a particular corner, my very first instinct was, “Dude, your time is going to be shot.”
That got me thinking.
Since I started using Strava I always take the fastest line, often bypassing a lot of really fun stuff. My rides have become shorter and more intense. I hug kickers instead of catching a little air. I get frustrated if something or someone impedes my progress. I fly by deer, hawks, owls, water birds, wild turkeys and other animals instead of stopping and taking a few minutes to enjoy them as I once did.
Strava is not going anywhere. I really do enjoy racing against my best times and trying to beat other riders’ times, but at the same time I also enjoy all the other things I just mentioned. I’m definitely going to balance things out a bit more, and get back to riding for fun instead of feeling like I’ve got to keep it pinned the entire time.