Got out for a ride this morning. It was awesome. Felt great. I even came home and washed my bike, my kit and myself. And now I’m stuck at this blasted box staring at the internet, watching Friday Fail videos and waiting for my next Zoom meeting to start.
I’ve scrolled PinkBike, Bike Rumor, CyclingTips, CyclingNews, VeloNews and dug into the chat rooms on Reddit. And now I’m headed deep into the data on Strava, mine and everyone else's.
The thing is, during this extended “vacation” from all things normal I’ve started to observe an interesting social phenomenon, the subtle nuanced naming conventions people use on their Strava rides to indicate what to expect from their data.
I present my list of suggestions to you, so you can, in very few words, let me and everyone else know why your most recent ride wasn’t filled with PRs, Local Hero accolades and KOM crowns.
1. The number one way to stop your Strava friends from digging into your data and judging you for the lame ride file you just uploaded is to name your ride after your ride computer and what why it let you down. “Garmin Failed to Upload” or “Wahoo Kickr should be kicked to the curb” or just “Technology Sucks.” This technology failure category pretty much exonerates you from having to defend your ride in any capacity. And if part of your ride went pretty well and then it all went back you can always pull out the “Garmin Failed Halfway through my Ride.” Gold.
2. This old chestnut is an awesome way to flag your friends on why your average speed was so anemic or why you only road 14 miles on a Saturday. It is the riding with friends or what we will refer to as the everyone else slows me down. “Ran into Sue just as I headed out” or “It was so great to catch up with Don.”
3. Number three is a classic, because it allows you to use outside forces to disguise your lame ride file. This is “The Coach told me to go easy” or “Scheduled off day ride” naming or what we call the I was forced by an outside source to take it easy. And whose coach is going to call them on this. I mean you are paying them, afterall.
4. This is the category where you blame your lame ass ride on your whip. Things like “I double flatted” or “I forgot to charge my damn Di2 battery” are great starts, but the equipment malfunction category has some great options.. Broken chain. Cut in the sidewall. Leak in the front fork. Leak in the back shock. Saddle came loose. Pedals came loose. The list just goes on and on.
5. Number five is the “I wasn’t feeling it” naming convention. This is the mind over matter category where you reference the fact you totally had the legs to lay down some sweet PRs, but your mind was just not going to have any of it. “I couldn’t get my head in the game and The ride was over before I realized I should have been paying attention to my VO2 Max,” are two examples.
6. We also have the “Something interrupted my amazing workout category.” This includes the my ride was interrupted by an urgent phone call and the forgotten appointment naming convention. We will be calling this the Universe did not want me to flex my muscles category.
7. Then there is the “I'm fat and out of shape because life has been hard.” Or what we will refer to going forward as the honesty with a twinge of the take pity on me twist. These riders will either hide their workouts on Strava or post sporadically to let their fans know they haven’t sold off their bikes, but you can tell by what they name their rides they are not interested in talking about it.
8. And the final category is for the rider who says “I don’t use Strava. Hell, I don’t use Zwift or a Garmin or a Power Meter or even index shifting. I run a Bridgestone MB2 with Suntour shifters with toe clips and straps. I wear real wool shorts and I wax my chain before every ride. And I’m perfectly happy and know for a fact I’m not missing anything with all this newfangled technology.” There are many levels for this category, but these riders can usually be found hunkered over their wheel truing stand muttering something about bananas being the perfect ride food and how the world ended when they forced World Tour Professionals to wear helmets. We are not a big fan of this category for this reason alone.