Friday, July 15, 2016


I am a late adopter.  Last kid on the block to go to disc brakes.  Last to get a 29er.  Last to get a Strava account.

I have had a Strava account for a year and post most my rides but didn’t give it much thought.  It shows the time it takes to do my favorite courses.  I have always kept track of that but Strava takes the effort out of it.  Swell.  Last night I noticed it shows stats, like accumulated yearly mileage.  Fine.  But then I noticed I can check out my follower’s stats and, although this felt creepy, it was insightful.

A friend had just “liked” my most recent ride on Strava.  Let’s call him James.  Because that’s actually his name.  He is a friend in the Strava sense of the word: I sort of know him, say hi at races, we ride in the same area.  Our segment times on the local MTB trails are almost identical, he is much faster than me on roads.
Apparently I rode about 1000 miles this year.  That seemed about right.  My riding is carefully timed around my daughters’ schedules because I am consumed with guilt when I leave them home so I can ride.  I feel a little guilty when I ride and they aren’t home but the grass needs cut, or garage trim needs painted, or any slightly important task goes unfinished.  I also feel guilty when I show up to races when I know I haven’t put the effort into training.  I have enough guilt to start my own religion.

James rode over 4000 miles this year.  Everyone I follow on Strava has ridden significantly more than me.  I laid awake last night trying to wrap my little mind around this.  On one level it was comforting for me to see why I don’t win races.  I thought it was poor genes, or I wasn’t suffering enough, or the 5 lbs I cannot seem to lose.  It could be all that but more to the point, I am not putting in anywhere close to the amount of miles people I race against do.

You reap the harvest you have sown.  I get that.  What I failed to understand until this week is how hard it is for me to objectively look at what I am sowing.  Racing doesn’t mean that much to me, not enough to increase my training by 400%, but what about every other aspect of my life?  How do I objectively look at where I am verses my potential?  Where I am as a friend, father, employee, everything.  I am an Engineer (and possibly someplace along the Asperger’s Spectrum) so I like data to sift through the gentle nuances of that which I am looking at.  I need a Strava that measures life.

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