My background in marketing and sales management have been specifically highlighted with my love of analytics, report running and data mining. I love theories, graphs and making decisions by gut and knowledge. (More gut than knowledge.)
Now, I don’t go as extreme with numbers around training as I do with marketing and sales..but it’s close. Normally I’m NOT tracking every movement, gear usage and PSI of tires or suspension pressure on EVERY ride. (I have my moments when I go through that cycle, mostly when I have a new bike to dial in.) For the past few years I’ve used Training Peaks for my HRM or in years past my power device, a Power Tap about 10 years ago. In roughly 2006 the invention of the Garmin GPS training unit for bicycling opened my eyes to what you can learn from data. From the ascents, decents, temperature and such, over laid with your speed, cadence and possibly power. You really turn yourself into a machine!
Welcome Strava, social media for bike rides
Two years ago I first heard of Strava. I didn’t really get it, another site to track your GPS files. They had put a bunch of pro’s on the site, and I feel like there was only a paid version when it first started. In the beginning of the year when I purchased my new Garmin Edge 800 I started uploading some files to Strava when I remembered. It was cool as it tracked my data, and also compared it to my friends.
Strava Segments are Virtual Group Rides
I ride my bike alone most of the time. My job makes my ride hours vary, and I don’t like the extra stress of having set rides too often with groups. Two months ago Strava started the coolest things called segments. Basically it overlays your GPS file with set parts of trails, roads, or whatever to show how you compare to other Strava users on that section. Some examples are from the base of a climb to the top, or a full loop of a specific trail system.
It really excites me to try different places, or when I visit new places to do rides around these segments I can find on Strava.com. Comparing myself to others that have done that ride, climb, descent or loop. You can also make your own segments to see how you are improving. If you have a loop that you use for recovery, or maybe for testing purposes – this is a great function.
Ease of Use and Design
Strava has done a few things very cool and user friendly with their design.
Uploading is super simple. The first time you click Upload Activity it asks to download this sync thing. You don’t ever have to open it again, everytime you go to upload it finds your Garmin and all activity you haven’t uploaded this far.
No software needed. As noted above it downloads (what I think is a cookie) the first time you try to upload. I am able to upload from my laptop and desktop, not needing to open any software other than the internet browser I already use.
Stats and Activities are clean. Rides, performance, averages and such are easy to find on your profile. It also will compare you to someone else when you click on their profile.
Strava on your iPhone or Android
Strava functions mostly off Garmin but they have really great phone apps that will track and upload straight from it! This is an easy way to get into the social group ride without plunking down on a Garmin.
This is super handy also as every once in a blue moon I’ll forget my Garmin or forget to charge it. I don’t miss tracking a ride when this happens!
Other notes of Strava
I recently upgraded to Premium mainly as I’ll be adding a Powertap to my arsenal soon, the site has a great Powertap analysis and keeper of data for later use.
You can also do all of the above for running as well! Pretty handy for triathletes or runners that want to get social with their runs!
I wasn’t paid or even asked to write this by Strava. Simply really digging the design and use of the site!