The weather on my Sunday morning ride wasn’t the best. A little windy, very misty but not that cold, although that’s not what the miserable part of this post is about. It’s the people.
Most times that I go out on my bike and pass another rider, either coming towards me or sometimes passing by, you get some sort or acknowledgment, a hello or good morning. But not today. I usually reply with something bordering on a mixture between hi and alright which comes out something like ‘aieeeat’ basically take out all of the consonants and just keep the vowels! If nothing else just a nod or a smile will do.
Today however, was busier than usual around windmills, lots of bikes and more than the fair share of horses. What I didn’t expect was how many of those out today would be miserable so and so’s who couldn’t even make eye contact, let alone manage to speak. Maybe it’s because I was on my MTB and they are all road bikes – the two sets of people out on MTB’s both spoke!
It doesn’t take much to raise your head and say hello, even if it is totally unrecognisable as a word in the English language like mine usually is, at least I make an effort to make a sound and nod polity. You always get the odd one who doesn’t speak, either can’t be bothered or looks down their nose at you, but today was more the rule rather than the exception. Come on people, we are all out there for similar reasons, lets at least be civil to each other. After all this is the North and we speak to each other, not like being on the tube in London where no-one speaks!
Changing subject slightly, I spend most of my time whilst I am riding thinking about the subject for my next blog post. I also compose parts of the text and take the odd photo when I feel like stopping. I normally stop in the same places so a lot of the picture are of the same view. What I wanted to talk about in this post follows on from a blog post I read the other day regarding Strava, if you get a moment it is well worth reading.
When I first started riding I did so to get fit, which is still a goal as I have a long way to go, sometimes I just ride to get out of the house for a change of scenery, but more often I find myself going out to beat previous Strava segment times. I change routes and miss sections out just to make sure I am heading in the right direction or will be in prime condition to tackle a segment. I have also found myself slowing down on certain sections that are not Strava segments, especially if they are uphill, just so that I can go faster on the stretches that are Strava segments. Sad really.
What it does do is provide motivation to try harder or go faster. But as I have said before I am finding that I am putting effort into parts of a ride, which makes it more and more difficult to consistently get better across the whole of a ride.
I am never going to be KOM on any hill, I am usually happy if I have beaten at least 50% of the riders on any section, men and women. I have a long way to go for some of the segments, others I am in a great position. But here in lays the problem. Am I becoming a slave to Strava segments? Am I basing everything I do on the performance I record on Strava? But then there are no settings to say how strong the wind was and no account taken for the wind direction. It doesn’t take into account whether I felt ‘up to it’ (which I really didn’t at the start of this ride and almost returned home after a couple of miles!) It also doesn’t take into account any other weather or road conditions specific to that ride. So why do I always want to beat my previous best on most, if not all segments that I ride?
I think from now on I will try to just ride, enjoy myself and see if I can go further – if I only have time for a quick eight mile lap of the windmills then maybe I should target my average speed across the whole ride rather than individual segments, that way I will concentrate all of the time and not just on the Strava segments.
The main things Strava is good for is measuring distance and time taken, those really are the two elements that I should concentrate on and are the basics of the ride details that I post on here every time.
Distance: 17.7 miles
Time Taken: 1:33:34
Elevation Gain: 1,064ft
Average Speed: 11.4 mph