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Strava is a butthole; Rare treat this weekend: Haile’s Trails!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

September
26
2012

Let me repeat that: Strava is a butthole.

Yesterday Mike Simmons and I rode at Mt. Dora, and we both got robbed.

Mike was the first one to get the Stravashaft on the “Gravity Destroyer Downhill” segment. On this segment Mike and I have shared the KOM since July with a tie of 2m30s. Earlier this week Mark Pettengill went out and did some excellent work to improve a couple of sketchy areas on Gravity Destroyer and, thanks in large part to Mark’s efforts, yesterday Mike and I were able to rail the corners all the way down. I was the lead rider, but Mike and I were pretty much glued together the whole way. My time? 2m15s–a new KOM. I figured we’d be sharing the KOM with the new time, but no–Strava reported Mike’s time as 2m36s, which is total nonsense.

I was next in line to be Stravaraped. Mike and I HAMMERED out a lap on “The Loop” segment. On this segment my personal record was 7m35s, and Mike’s best time was way out in front at 7m12s. Mike took the lead riding position because I figured he was going to drop me. Well, I dug deep and managed to stay right on Mike’s wheel the entire lap. Having Mike in front of me was like dangling carrot in front of a horse: I was either going to stay with him or die trying…

When we finished the lap Mike uploaded his data to Strava (he uses the Strava smartphone app): he tied his personal record: 7m12s! A few weeks ago that time seemed absolutely insurmountable to me, and I’d just done it. I started a second or two behind Mike, and I finished right on his wheel. I knew when I got home and uploaded my data from my Garmin, I’d have a new PR of at least 7m12s!

Strava had different plans for me, and they didn’t even give me the courtesy of a… never mind. Somehow Strava decided to combine my speed lap with another lap we’d done just prior. The segment didn’t match, and I was robbed of my hard-earned PR. I’ve contacted Strava support to see if they can manually divide the laps since their algorithm dropped the ball, but I’m not holding my breath.

Keep in mind that before I started riding with Mike my absolute best time on The Loop segment was 8m22s. In the space of about 2 months I’ve taken 1m10s off that time. That’s huge. I’ve been working hard on my riding technique, riding challenging trails and putting in more miles than ever on my bike, but that’s only part of the story…

I’ve always said that riding with better riders is the best way to improve, and that’s clearly true. Not only has Mike given me quite a few excellent riding and equipment setup tips, watching how he rides, picks lines and pumps the track has been invaluable to me.

Haile's Trails are built around an old rock quarry and are open to the public just two times per year. This is as close as we get to mountains in Florida.

Haile’s Trails are built around an old rock quarry and are open to the public just two times per year. This is as close as we get to mountains in Florida.

Good grief, I didn’t mean to whine that much about Strava. I’ve got much more exciting and positive news! This weekend I’m going to be getting a very rare treat: a bunch of us are heading up to Gainesville to ride Haile’s Trails!

Haile’s Trails sit on privately owned land, and are built on an old rock quarry. This trail is only open to the public two times per year, and one of those times is this weekend because the third race in the Florida State Championship mountain bike series will be held there. I’m told the trails are quite challenging, and the scenery and elevation changes are unique for Florida–about as close to mountains as we get here!

I was worried that due to my rib injury I’d have to pass on riding there this weekend, but I found that on yesterday’s ride the pain is very manageable. I’m going, and I can’t wait!

Check out this video from a race held there this past March. If you want, skip ahead to 9:35 and watch the next minute or so, you won’t believe it’s Florida!

John Stone Fitness Comments

One Response to “Strava is a butthole; Rare treat this weekend: Haile’s Trails!”
  1. Heh, that additional 15 seconds Strava handed Mike on GD roughly matches the disagreement between my stopwatch and Strava’s estimate on that same section of trail. I’ve gotten some truly bizarre Strava results every time I’ve been to Mt. Dora, including getting credit for sections I never rode, and a seven minute climb up GD! I know I’m not one of the ‘fast boyz’ on that trail, but I could walk up GD in under seven minutes. And since it’s a known fact that Strava adds time, one wonders whether it also subtracts time, and how trustworthy the results on the leader board really are. Especially since there is as little as one second distinguishing one rider’s time from another. I’d be interested to see the results if several riders rode side by side at exactly the same pace and uploaded the data to Strava. It might be an eye opener.

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