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Couple new PRs yesterday; Shaved head; Strava segment matching.

Friday, July 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

July
20
2012

I got a bit of a late start, but after putting out a few networking fires I managed to break away for a quick ride at Mt. Dora. The trails were still running well, but they were not quite as fast and packed down as they were on Monday morning. Despite the heat and humidity, I was really in the mood to drop the hammer and ride hard. I was anxious to see if all that cornering practice I’ve been putting in would pay off in the form of a new personal record or two…

I rode really hard on two segments: Gravity Destroyer Downhill, and the first lap of The Loop. On the second lap, I rode a little easier and focused on technique.

The heat and humidity were pretty brutal, but I was really in the mood to ride and loved every second I was out there. I wish I’d had time to ride more.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Brief aside: If we’re friends on Facebook, then you probably saw that I shaved my head on Thursday (I’ve included a picture here for the enjoyment of JSF visitors who are not on FB). My helmet felt really weird when I first put it on, but after I started to ride it wasn’t a big deal. What was very noticeable, however, was how much sweat was pouring off my head! It’s amazing how much sweat hair soaks up, I guess. Anyway, I’m digging the shaved head thing, it’s much cooler and much less hassle.

Back to the ride. I was cornering pretty well, and I felt like I was riding fairly decently overall. My power and energy were also good. About the only thing that felt off was my cardio, but that was only due to the humid air. I find very humid air extremely uncomfortable to breathe when I’m exerting myself.

When I got home and uploaded my Garmin Edge500 data to Strava, I was pretty disappointed that Strava didn’t match the segment data up properly. The Garmin GPS data was very accurate (resolution was around 10 feet), but Strava didn’t properly match the two segments I rode going all-out. I opened a support ticket, and the Strava people were able to match the Gravity Destroyer Downhill, but were having difficulty matching the first The Loop segment. They didn’t provide an explanation as to why the match could not be made, so I’ve pressed them for more information.

I actually set a personal record and became the new KOM on the Gravity Destroyer Downhill, so I’m really happy Strava was able to properly match that up!

Based on my manual examination of the data, I would have set a new personal record on the The Loop segment with a time of around 8m14s, which is 8 seconds faster than my existing best time. Even with that new PR (assuming Strava can eventually match it up) I’m still in 2nd place overall on that segment. Michael, the current KOM on The Loop, has a time of 7m56s, and that is an absolutely phenomenal performance. When I completed my stab at the record yesterday I was destroyed; I gave it everything I had and I’m still eating Mike’s dust. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to beat Mike’s time, but I’ll never stop trying. 🙂 I’m going to keep working on my technique and my skills, as that’s the key to further improving my time.

Getting back to segment matching, I think part of the problem with Strava is that many segments are originally created using data from the Strava app running on smartphones. Smartphone GPSs are not nearly as accurate as dedicated GPS devices like the Garmin Edge500 (a big reason I upgraded). Just look at the coarseness of the officially recorded segment (shown in red) compared to the smoothness of the data as recorded by my Edge 500 (click to view full size):

This is the same section of trail. The official segment (in red) was recorded with a cell phone. Notice how coarse and the data is compared to the data recorded by the Garmin Edge 500 (blue).

This is the same section of trail. The official segment (in red) was recorded with a cell phone. Notice how coarse and the data is compared to the data recorded by the Garmin Edge 500 (blue).

 

I think this touches on the main reason why there are so many segment matching issues at Strava. If the official segment is not accurately recorded due to GPS drift, then matching future rides on that segment will, by definition, be more problematic. I feel Strava should either restrict segment creation to dedicated GPS devices, or at least restrict segment creation to devices that have a reasonable predefined minimum accuracy threshold (say, for example, 15 feet or better).

Thoughts?

John Stone Fitness Comments

9 Responses to “Couple new PRs yesterday; Shaved head; Strava segment matching.”
  1. Wait until you eat something really spicy. Back when I had a shaved head, that was one of the weirder things. I could tell if something was getting spicy enough by slight head sweats. 🙂

    I never minded not having hair. Don’t think the wife would like it if I went back. Also I’d have to answer all the cancer questions if I showed up with no hair again…

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    • I guess I’m going to get to find out about the spicy thing tomorrow night: Lisa is leaning towards Mexican, and I always load my fajitas up with habanero hot sauce. 😀

      I’m digging the no hair thing so far. It’s great not having to worry about it. Sure don’t need much shampoo or conditioner, either.

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  2. I was seriously considering the shaved head thing myself, because hair is a pain. Then I realized that because of my oversized melon, I’d look like Cro-Magnon man if I tried it. Looks good on you though!

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