My name is Dave and I am a Stravaholic. There, I’ve made my first steps towards recovery, now to see how it rates compared to others on Strava. Dammit! One step forward, two steps back…
I first discovered the world of Strava several years ago when I overheard some cyclist friends talking about their latest “Crowning glory” after getting a segment record for some obscure hill they rode up in the far reaches of Bourke or another place where carbon bike frames are yet to exist. It sparked my interest to download the app and have a look at how it all worked. After that it lay dormant on my iPhone for a year or so until once again I was inspired to press the tempting orange icon. This time around it was after a long run with my regular group where one particularly loud, but not terribly fast runner (As is often the case) spent 2 hours recapping his week of Strava domination where he “Smashed” multiple segments, regaining them from what he called “Stravadicks”, more on those later. It was after this encounter with this addictive app that I began my love affair.
It started with an occasional look to see how I compared to others on a particular run and gradually progressed to where I would check in daily to log my training, investigate what others had been up to, and research segments for races I had on my agenda. This was all ok, as it didn’t really impede upon my life or seem overly obsessive. Just a dude that loves his running and likes to keep up with what his mates are doing. But what started oh so innocently gradually spiralled out of control.
Daily turned to hourly checks. Research on what others had been up to turned to “Stravastalking” and in a matter of weeks I had hit a real low point. I actively went out a targeted a King of the Mountain segment. There you have it. I’m willing to admit this publicly. I had become an aforementioned Stravadick, albeit at the lower end of the continuum. The Stravadick is the person that measures their ability not in races they’ve won or personal bests, but by how many followers they have, how many segments they’re leading, and the number of crowns sitting on their digital mantelpiece. At the bottom end you’ve got the likes of me. I Stravastalk, Stravaresearch, frequently comment on peoples posts in a condescending manner, and occasionally I put notes in my descriptions to justify shit runs….sometimes said notes might be a slight stretch of the truth. Like the time I said I had a flu when really I just swallowed a bug during the run.
The upper end of the Stravadick continuum are the people that drive to the bottom of a hill, hop out, do some stretching and sprint to the top in order to bag a segment. They also have a habit of sitting in a bunch and then madly surging to the front when they know a segment has been reached. Other attributes include labelling races or sessions as ‘Easy Days’, not correcting data when the GPS is a little flattering, or logging a ride as a run.
I am one of the lucky few that has a strong and supportive partner that had the courage to intervene. “Dave, you really need to put the phone down. We’re sitting in the cinema and all you can do is stare at Strava.” In an instant I broke down. Such was my obsession that after years of dreaming about Mad Max: Fury Road hitting the big screen, I’d just Stravastalked my way through the first half. In retrospect, it’s a crap film anyway. No plot, just lots of noise, car chases and thirsty people. But from there I sought help. I put myself on a Stavadiet. It has been a slow yet rewarding process. Like losing weight, it’s a rollercoaster ride. On occasion I binge, but then get back on track. I’ve gone from 20 logins a day to 5. Yes, there’s still work to do, but with the right people around me I think I can really get on top of things. Who knows, by Christmas I might even delete my profile. Haha! Fat chance! In all honesty, I’d be stoked just to get through dinner without the little orange glow getting the better of me.