Have you noticed your group ride suffering from "Strava Syndrome?" You can tell when you've been infected when you start noticing symptoms which include the group's normal sense of flow and camaraderie being replaced instead by a wacky series of random sprints at every slight crest and city limit sign.
If you're not familiar with it, this is how Strava works (and what causes the problems described above). A person rides a "segment" (specific section of road or trail) using Strava app on their smart phone. The app tracks speed and distance, and allows a rider to compare current effort against past performances on this route, as well as to track against other athletes who've ridden the same segment. The Strava app allows you to see where the performance ranks and even eggs on the competition by emailing the rider on top if they've been dethroned by someone for a specific segment.
Sure, some riders are looking for that added competitiveness in their rides. But thanks to this, what I see is the idea of a group ride now suddenly morphing into a group race. For instance, strong riders start at the back of a hill (a Strava KOM segment, of course), follow a series of wheels, then sprint for the line. This leads to many attacks, which makes the ride sketchier, more dangerous and less cohesive. Sigh. Just one more "benefit" of technology, right?
What's your opinion? Have you seen this? And is this Strava effect just a fad or a great tool for making training a bit more interesting? Comment below.
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