Knowledge Base/Community Forums/Strava Feature Suggestions

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Designate between a "Group" and a "Solo" ride on Strava

Elle Anderson
suggested this on March 05, 2012 04:06 PM

This would allow Strava cyclists to tag a ride as a group ride or a solo ride, and also be able to sort segment leaderboards by those filters.

 

 

Comments

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Joshua Jacoby

THis would be a great feature.  I often ride in groups or with my team.

March 18, 2012 08:31 AM
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Eric Deuser

I think this is absolutely essential.  If I record a ride with a large group over the same course I usually ride solo, I can take 10-20% off of my time without any increase in effort.  This messes up how I track my improvement on solo laps/segments.

It would also be helpful if there were a way to designate between say, a small group (2-4 riders), a typical sized group or training ride (say, 5-20 riders), and a larger group (such as the main field/peloton in a road race or charity ride) as the drafting benefits change significantly in these situations.

March 25, 2012 09:41 AM
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R Seal

I think this would be great.  I ride solo a lot and it would be nice to compare apples to apples instead of me vs a pelaton. 

March 26, 2012 07:43 AM
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Derek Brooks

Agreed!

March 28, 2012 10:19 AM
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McLovin .

Agree, lot's of false KOM's where a person was drafting with a group.

March 29, 2012 04:38 PM
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Travis Conway

Ditto!  This is a critical bit of information and should be a simple toggle.  

April 09, 2012 02:02 PM
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Matthew Nickels

What they said!

April 11, 2012 12:51 PM
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Mark Ross

There used to be a "Group" Ride box to tick.  I agree it would be nice to be able to filter Leader Boards like this.

April 11, 2012 09:25 PM
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Tim Martin
Want want... we all know there's a huge difference....
April 13, 2012 11:20 AM
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Kevin Bruton

Would be great for comparisons, if we could tag rides with a group i.e. Saturday Morning Group ride then filter based on these tags it would be fantastic.

Happy for premium only feature.

April 15, 2012 05:53 PM
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Stephen Beery

It would be a nice feature, just when referencing back to rides.

April 19, 2012 01:09 PM
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W. Van Kerckhoven

More elaborate: ticking a box group or solo, and when in group link it to a club.  That way all rides, ridden in a club, can be grouped and used for statistics and totals.  That way, for instance, you can see which team member joined the most trainings of the club, etc.

May 10, 2012 03:02 AM
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John S.

I think this is a great idea. There's s few segments I've ridden which I know I'll never get KOM as they're won during a group ride. I could try getting my wife to drive in front of me and draft her though.... hmmmmm

May 13, 2012 01:13 PM
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Paul Nesfield

A very good idea, we never see a stage that mixes ITT and TTT in the Tour do we?

Have just seen that I've dropped 10 places  to 13th on a segment by a group of 10 that was 4s faster than me, it ruins one of Strava's main features.

May 15, 2012 03:15 PM
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Steve Weixel

Count me as a vote against

a) it relies on self-reporting so it's useless anyway for any purposes of filtering or comparing against others.

b) it can't take into account mixed rides where some efforts are solo and some are group
c) it really just doesn't matter why someone else was faster than you
May 18, 2012 11:48 AM
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Torbjørn B.

Good idea!

May 19, 2012 01:30 AM
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Brian Mc

Great idea - just had a 2.2 UCI ranked race go over some of my local climbs. There's no touching those leaderboards ever again...

May 22, 2012 01:07 AM
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Darren Milun

This is a great idea.. Since we all know that drafting can increase your top end speed depending on who is pulling.

May 22, 2012 08:47 AM
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Joe Emenaker

Well, in response to Steve Weixel about one point, Strava can tell if you made a ride with other people *if* they upload their rides to Strava. In fact, that's what's so frustrating about the leaderboard. I'll see the KOM of some stretch of road which is normally pretty windy, and you look at the KOM's ride and it says "Ridden with 9 other people". Well...  no *wonder* that whole pack occupies 1-9 on the leaderboard now..

May 28, 2012 08:59 PM
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Stephen Beery

Maybe the best thing would be for people to get out and make some friends...

May 29, 2012 11:33 AM
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James Tatlow

Lots of group rides will race up hills and stuff though rather than go together, then it' more like a solo effort? And if you draught behind a bus that's also "cheating" should we mark that as well?

May 29, 2012 02:31 PM
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McLovin .

The system definitely has to rely on integrity from each individual user. It's pathetic think that anyone would get a feeling of pride or accomplishment by being dishonest and drafting behind a bus or riding in a car to get a KOM, but I'm sure they're out there.

Riding in a group can result in a faster time than an absolutely solo effort, fact, so there needs to be a separation, Group or Solo. 

Using your example of the group reaching a hill then racing up, I know that my legs are much fresher when I reach a hill after having drafted on the approach, so my solo sprint time will be faster.

May 29, 2012 03:24 PM
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Steve Weixel

@ Joe...

  • Flat ground segments are silly anyway
  • Someone can be in a group where the other people aren't on strava and then what do you do?
  • Strava can mis-identify you as being on a segment with them if you pass them on the segment
  • You can be with other people but pulling the whole time
  • You can be on a ride with other people, but not with them on the segment
  • Fastest over a segment is faster over a segment. quit whining.

@ Matt
  • A lot of people don't care about their KOMs. Do you think Ted King cares when he takes a segment from someone? Should we eliminate all people faster than us so that it's fair?
  • Of course riding in a group can result in a faster time but who cares? It does not follow that there NEEDS to be a separation.
  • Using your example of your hills being less fresh after riding to a hill, what about the people who drive to the hill? Should they be eliminated on fairness grounds?
  • Fastest over a segment is faster over a segment. quit whining.
May 29, 2012 03:52 PM
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James Tatlow

Your legs will be even more fresh if you drove your car to the start of the segment.

I do see the argument though. Personally I'd like the tag along with "windy" and "wet" really just for my own notes but if I cared that much, I'd put it in a comment or the description of each ride or something.

May 29, 2012 03:53 PM
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John Vandercook

Why is this even a discussion? Steve said it best with this comment

"c) it really just doesn't matter why someone else was faster than you"

If someone in a group takes your KOM, then ride in a group and take it back. It's about creating a fun competitive atmosphere, not being posessive and whining that someone else rode their bike faster than you, regardless of why. A win is a win and a loss is a loss, regardless of why it happened.

May 29, 2012 04:20 PM
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Matthew Nickels

Opinions are like.... and of course, everybody has one. I am sure the nice folks at Strava will see all those for (and the very few against) this and make their decision to implement it accordingly.

May 29, 2012 04:29 PM
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McLovin .

@ Steve

-No, if he's the fastest then he should own the KOM

-You are right, it does not need to have separation, but it makes sense to me and many others who have requested it.

-no

-no whining, this is a feature request board, open to anyone on Strava, just having a discussion as to whether it's a good idea or not. Strava will decide.

May 29, 2012 04:30 PM
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Steve Weixel

@ Matt, but he isn't the fastest, the other 9 guys were

May 29, 2012 04:50 PM
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Matthew Nickels

I have been wondering...  Can someone explain to me why teams do not ride in the ITT stages?  Steve....?  John....?  Anyone....?

May 29, 2012 05:14 PM
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John Vandercook

so now we are comparing Strava's KOM feature to time trials?

 

Jesus, what has this world come to?

May 29, 2012 05:19 PM
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John Vandercook

You guys need to keep in mind how small a percentage of cyclists actually use Strava. If everyone used it, most of you wouldn't be able to get a KOM to save your life.

May 29, 2012 05:20 PM
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Steve Weixel

Because those are the rules. There are no such rules here, and if there were they would be unenforceable, at best. Also in races there are other rules, like that you have to qualify by being on a team that is invited, or in the correct category or age group if appropriate.


The thing you all have to keep in mind, is that this is all for fun. It's not a real race. Stop taking it so seriously. 

May 29, 2012 05:23 PM
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Matthew Nickels

Thank you Steve!  This is why it is being asked for and if and when implimented it will be nice to see the difference.  The point is many of us would like to see the difference.  Clearly you have no desire to do so.  You would be free to check all your rides as "group" to see how you stack up against a group of 6 or 10 riders should you choose to.

And John you are so right.  There is always going to be someone that is faster.

May 29, 2012 05:45 PM
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Joe Emenaker

Well, I disagree with Steve that "it doesn't matter why someone else was faster than you". If it didn't then why would Strava let people see just people in their age group, or weight class, or let women just see the other women? These are all reasons why someone could be faster than you which are *not* the result of lack of dedication or a flawed training regimen. If you're some woman who's 45 isn't going to look at the 25-year-old KOM and go "Wow, if I just really ratchet up my training, I can knock that dude off". He's got 20 years and testosterone on his side. So, Strava has the feature where you get to compare yourself to others in an "all else being equal" kind of thing... how do she stand against other 40-something women? If she's a close 2nd, then *that* is going to do more to make her amp up her training.

And, even if you're not comparing yourself to other riders, I can see the point in wanting to separate your *own* group vs. solo rides. Something that motivates me is setting new PR's. But I've got some group rides in Strava where there's just no way I'm going to touch those times when riding solo... so those segments turn into my recovery segments.

 

@Steve: Flat ground segments are silly? Okay, now that you've just called all of the cyclists in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois pussies....   well, let me just say that, that kinda comes across as a "If it's not important to me, then it's not important, period" mindset.

May 29, 2012 06:29 PM
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Chris Newell

It seems like it would be simple to implement - and what is the harm?

To those who (correctly) point out that it's not a race I'd say that it's instead a motivation... those of us that must always ride solo don't have other riders to push (or to be pushed by).

For me the segments give me something to shoot at... They are what makes Strava the outstanding app that it is. Being able to compare apples to apples would be nice - even if it wasn't always accurate.

 

 

May 29, 2012 06:40 PM
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Steve Weixel
Matt, clearly you missed my point. Flat ground segments are a contest of who had the best tailwind.  As for the group thing I'm ok with the second poster who just wants to filter their own rides, but disagree with anyone who wants it to affect the overall results. Even if I were to stipulate that it mattered for fairness, there is no reliable way to truly know who was in groups or got the benefit from groups
May 29, 2012 07:18 PM
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Torbjørn B.

Why all this fuss about a new sort parameter?

No one is demanding a removal of weight/sex/age sort orders, so why protest against new simple feature like designating between solo and group rides?

Btw: I actually can think of one reason, and thats it will make quite a few people loose their KOM's

 

May 29, 2012 11:13 PM
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Brian Lube

as a counter point on this topic:  I only care for my *own* efforts.  There are segments that I do solo as well as in a group at varying times, and having a way to mark "I did this on a group ride" vs "I was out by myself" would be good for my own data parsing.  

I've seen folks that stoop to using a car to get KOM's on Strava.  For me the data isn't about me competing with others but competing with my previous times and seeing the improvements and how I'm doing *personally*.  I'm not Ted King, so I'm out there for the fun, the fellowship, and the challenge.  Someone will always be faster than me.

May 30, 2012 05:33 AM
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Rhonda West

Well, I hadn't really considered that something like this should be grounds for displacing a KOM (and, the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that group-vs-solo shouldn't matter on climbs.

As far as the flats... maybe we should leave it up to the locals. By that, I mean that, just like Strava allows people to flag segments as hazardous, perhaps people could flag segments as "draft-sensitive" or "draft-dependent"... (and it would need a certain number or percentage of supporting votes from others on the leaderboard).

If it got turned into a draft-sensitive segment, then the KOM would be the fastest solo dude (or dudette), but you could see both leaderboards, perhaps. And, very importantly, people will be able to override Strava's initial guess as to whether they were in a group or not (for example, if you did a group ride and then broke away from the pack before the city-limit sprint, then Strava would tag it as a group, but you could override it as a solo).

Just a thought.

May 30, 2012 08:44 AM
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John Vandercook

I had a thought this morning - if you designated your ride as a group ride, but KOM'd something while doing the work out front, it would be the same effort as if you were riding solo. This idea has too many flaws/holes to work properly. It's a great idea in theory, but as Steve says, it's IMPOSSIBLE to enforce.

May 30, 2012 08:45 AM
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Joe Emenaker

Well, as Brian mentioned, he's seen people draft off of cars to try to snag a KOM. So, you'll always have some portion of cheaters, and there's no way to stop them.

I think what we're trying to solve, here, are the cases where honest, good-sportsmanship riders sometimes do group rides and then, like they do with all of their rides, upload them to Strava, and then there's some misleading data in the leaderboard. Of course this is going to depend upon these riders kinda self-reporting themselves, but I think there's a lot who would do so out of sportsmanship. I know that *I* would be one of the first in line to tag some of my group rides (even though it's going to cost me a few places in the flat-sprint leaderboards).

May 30, 2012 08:52 AM
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Zack Beatty
John Steventon wrote:
"There's s few segments I've ridden which I know I'll never get KOM as they're won during a group ride. I could try getting my wife to drive in front of me and draft her though.... hmmmmm"

BRAVO.
May 31, 2012 07:01 AM
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Cyril Dixon

i like the idea of group or solo, strava records them anyway as far as times and doesn't differentiate, so at least this way can have a better idea. i would also like to be able to mark 'events' or official organised rides.

June 02, 2012 03:15 PM
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Robot Head

This is something I have wanted for some time now and don't understand the attitude others have against it and the outright rudeness towards those who see the value of it.

If it's another thing that can be gamed, so be it, at least it might cut down on the yahoos gunning for KOMs in a train.

Let Strava worry about whether it's a doable feature or not.

June 08, 2012 04:13 PM
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Alistair R.
Seems a sensible feature to add - key point it shouldnt affect absolute Koms - just another way of distinguishing as per gender, age etc. as a 220 lb cyclist I don't feel too discriminated against given there is that button allowing me to compare against fellow porkers.....strava has been great as a motivational tool - anything that allows anyone to slice and dice a segment that makes them feel good has to be a positive I feel.
June 24, 2012 04:02 PM
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Jared Casper

I would like this feature, not as much for the leader boards but for comparing my own efforts.  As Steve pointed out, there are some challenges with grey areas between what constitutes a "solo" vs "group" effort that make it of limited use when comparing with others.  I'm not competitive on the leader boards in my area anyway, and neither are 90% of the Strava users in popular areas like the Bay Area. For us mortals, much of the utility of segments comes from comparing our own rides against each other and shooting for PRs.  As is, nearly all of my PRs for segments in my area I got while on group rides.  So when I go out solo, I have absolutely no chance of getting a PR, even on climbs.  For my own comparisons, I would like to maintain a "Solo PR" and a "Group PR" for segments.  It is up to me to decide how I designate a ride.  Ideally I could mark each effort as group or solo to cover rides where I start with a group and then break out solo, but that could get clunky. 

In terms of the leader board, I agree that the overall "solo" leader board would probably not change much due to people not properly designating their rides, or defining "solo" differently from others.   But it could be useful on club leader boards where members of the club could more easily call BS on a "fake solo" club KOM, since they often all know each other and go on group rides together.  This would also open up a new leader board for groups, where you can get some buddies and try to TTT your way to a Group KOM on a segment that you may not be able to get the Solo KOM on.

June 26, 2012 03:44 PM
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Richard Starkie
I'd like this too. I joined up with a fast group recently. I was towed along, doing 80% effort and still got lots of PBs! My segment times werent at all representative of my effort. I'd like to compare my segments with other local soloists, relying on their own efforts, not getting dragged along by a bunch of faster riders. However, I can understand how someone who often rides with a big fast group would be reluctant to make the distinction.
July 08, 2012 11:33 AM
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Jerry Perullo

I think it's fine as-is.  The steep hills don't get much benefit from drafting, so there is generally little potential to 'cheat'.  If you are drafting off someone and KOM'ing it, it's hard to imagine they aren't on strava too.

On the flats/downhills, they aren't truly "king of the MOUNTAIN" anyway, and drafting is a legitimate part if you can pull it off.  Remember, at the top of the leaderboard, a drafting effort means you need a group of very fast disciplined people working in concert - TTT style.  With even a fast "group ride," on the other hand, you are only going to go as fast as the 80-90% percentile.  That might be faster than solo efforts, but it still leaves room for you and 3-4 similarly-matched friends to go out and try to engineer a perfect TTT pace line.  And that isn't easy.. but it's a ton of fun.  If you can pull that off down peachtree street.. you deserve the KOM!

As for motopacing a closed road... if you have that level of ethics, you are likely just going to drive it in your car anyway.

July 10, 2012 08:21 AM
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Sean Earnhardt

I want this so I can compare me to me.  The "default" can be group efforts, but a simple checkbox or radio button would allow me to filter out other riders and only compare my solo efforts to my solo efforts.

July 10, 2012 08:38 AM
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Jerry Perullo

Sean - you got that.  Just click "My Results" on the left...

July 10, 2012 08:43 AM
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Jonathan Evans
Sean, not sure if this helps but to just compare your own rides you can click on "My Results" on the left of the segment page.
July 10, 2012 08:44 AM
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Jonathan Evans
Jerry beat me to it :-)
July 10, 2012 08:46 AM
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Arik Florimonte

I would like to see this feature, and I'd also like to see solo vs. group leaderboards.  I don't care who thinks flat segments are silly, I enjoy trying to best other people in the flats, I find it a great motivator, and I almost always ride solo.  Saying that "drafting is a legitimate part" of flat KOMs is missing the point.  Many people want to test their own cycling ability against others' cycling ability in a sprint or flat TT.  That's fun.  Testing one's cycling ability against someone else's ability to organize a group of riders to ride together at the same time is not fun.

Saying that a flat segment is a contest of who has the best tailwind is a gross oversimplification.  If that were true, those leaderboards would be random, but the same names are often near the top on flat segments. Weather is a naturally occurring and random element, but having a group of fast friends is not.

Look, most of us will never get close to a climbing KOM, but we have a chance at certain flat KOMs. I think this is a pretty common experience for avid users of strava, so it should be supported. It's very frustrating to work hard to win a KOM and then one day fall 10 places because a group ride went through. 

As far as enforcement, I would suggest self reporting as the first step.  Or, Strava can auto-tag a ride/segment as "group" when multiple riders go through, and then force the rider to respond to check a box to say, "no this was solo, it wasn't a group ride." People who want to could still lie/cheat, but that's true anyway since they can draft cars or drive and ride a motorcycle.  Another option could be to have people flag a ride as a group ride. Sometimes it's obvious, if the top 5 riders all rode it on the same day with similar times.  None of these would be perfect, but I think it would work for most cases.

July 12, 2012 02:17 PM
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gibbs tolsdorf

If I were the CEO of Strava: 

1) I would recognize that the major attractions of my site are (a) competing against others (b) inspiring others, (c) meeting others and (d) being able to measure myself against myself. After all, I can upload my rides and see the data I need to a handful of other sites, but I won't have what I previously mentioned. 

2) Classify KOM's in three separate categories: Group Ride, Solo, and, I'm not sure what to call it, but maybe Turf KOM? I.E. the person who has ridden it the most gets the turf KOM. That way you eliminate the scalping. 

3) I would not agree that "faster is faster." I continuously lose KOM's to guys on bunch rides. That would be like expecting a breakaway to make it in a long distance race. That almost never happens, and especially not when the group chasing is motivated. You go anywhere between 2-???mph faster in a group. 

4) I would add a like button to acknowledge peoples comments. (Thats probably the first thing I would do.)

5) Then I'd sell it to Garmin and watch them screw it up. 

July 21, 2012 07:57 PM
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Joe Emenaker
I'm not sure about a "Turf KOM". Frankly, I think sniping segments has some appeal (the only reason I'd ever go to Kansas, frankly). However, I *do* think that efforts should have an "expiration" time (like, two years, maybe?) only in regards to their inclusion on the leaderboards (ie, they'd still be included on the "my performance" list). That way, some dude in Florida can't lock up a bunch of KOMs forever by waiting for a hurricane and getting a 60mph tailwind. I'm only half-kidding. In some cases, someone earns a KOM due to some rare set of circumstances. Or, someone who got the KOM 3 years ago might not be in the kind of shape they were once in. They should have to work to stay on top. Y'know, in boxing, if someone becomes the champ, but never fights any challengers, they'll lose their title. You should have to keep proving that you're the best. Now, that doesn't mean that Strava can't add an "All Time" leaderboard of the best performances, ever. I just don't think that should be the default leaderboard.
July 21, 2012 09:43 PM
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Patrick Cushing

I agree, there should be at least a filter for group rides. I think that most that disagree are those who ride mostly in groups.

July 31, 2012 11:35 AM
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Steve Weixel

For the record, I've lost more KOMs to groups than I've gained, and the ones I've gotten from groups I don't care about. But I don't think there is any realistic way to properly determine when segments are done in a group or not. Anything that depends on marking the ride will fail because a) some people just upload their data to Strava and don't care about those kinds of details, b) some rides are simply a mix of group and solo, and c) even in a pure group ride, some guy may be hammering on the front the whole time not getting the benefit of the pack. Anything that relies on the segment matching will fail because it's too easy to get a false positive. Pass someone on a climb and hey look you rode with them...  That happens to me all the time. I could support a setting that allows you to filter your own results but nothing that affects the leaderboards as a whole. Keep in mind that there was a group checkbox some time ago and they took it out.

July 31, 2012 10:21 PM
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Steve Weixel

Oh yeah the Turf KOM and expiration ideas are really stupid.

July 31, 2012 10:24 PM
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Joe Emenaker

...to you.

August 01, 2012 09:10 AM
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Jerry Perullo

Yeah - interesting topic and opinions but I think the cost/benefit just isn't there for group ride distinction, turf kom, or expiry.

On a less objective note, I agree the expiry and turf ideas are.. in poor spirit.  If I go to rejkjavik, rent a bike and smash some local KOM, I want mad props for that.  Likewise, if some guy from Argentina is visiting and waxes my local hill, I don't want to say "well that doesn't count because he is Argentinian and we all know they are unfairly superior cyclists."  And if someone 10 years ago set an unbeatable mark and I can't best it even with the superior technology I shelled out thousands of dollars for, let that be a good reminder that I have some fitness to work on.

Back to the points... let's see some KOM point system/rankings so we can get a point for every person we beat in a KOM (99 riders means KOM=98 points, 3 riders means KOM=2 points).  0 points for anything other than KOM.  Then show rankings Globally, by Country, State, City.  This would be pretty easy to implement, actually... it'll be awesome to see how your ranking changes each morning.

August 01, 2012 09:33 AM
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Joe Emenaker

Actually, I'd argue that expiry is in better spirit. This isn't for money. It's not for medals. The olympics aren't keeping track of anybody's records here. So, to me, the main objective of maintaining leaderboards is to provide incentive for people to get out there and try to get better... to climb a few notches on the leaderboard.

So, if some stud from the Alps or Andes decides to visit your local town and just gobble up all of the KOM's on all of the hills and sprints, I think that really throws cold water on the competitive spirit in your town. Now, I'm not going to say "Well, that doesn't count because...", but I'm saying "If he wants to keep all these KOM's longer than 2 years, then he's going to have to come back and ride them all again". Otherwise, why don't we just put Lance Armstrong up at the top of every leaderboard since, the only reason he's not there, already, is because he hasn't penciled off the time to swing by our town and crush all of the hills here? If someone has to actually *come* here and ride it to *get* the KOM, then I don't think it's unreasonable to require them to ride it to *keep* the KOM.

Regarding your comment about Rejkjavik, if you smash a local KOM, there, then there are two possible scenarios: 1) The riders there are pretty good, but you're a pro-level stud. In that case, you've got KOM's all over the place; you're *already* getting mad props. 2) The riders there are all scrubs and chumps and you're just some Cat-5 wannabe who had a lucky tailwind on one of the sprint segments. In that case, you don't deserve mad props for that.

As Strava becomes more popular, and more and more people upload rides, I fear that the tops of the leaderboards are just going to get pretty stagnant... featuring the all-time greatest achievements of some riders who are nowhere near the shape they were in when they did those efforts. Expiry would keep the leaderboard "fresh", showing how *today's* cyclists stack up against each other.

August 01, 2012 10:29 AM
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Arik Florimonte

I don't think KOMs should expire. I would like to see a feature to filter the leaderboard by year, as well as a running list by year of the best times, e.g. on the right below the current KOM. The list should default to the gender of the rider who's viewing.

I have been thinking a lot about a points system for KOMs. Is there a feature request elsewhere?  Anyway, I like Jerry's idea (especially filtering by geography) but I think that it would serve many more users if there was a way to reward all riders, not just the top tier riders who actually have a chance of winning a KOM.  The sketch of requirements I've come up with for a KOM:

1. only for actual climbs, not flat segments

2. points multiplier for difficulty of climb (e.g. 1x, 2x, 3x, 5x, 8x for cat 4-3-2-1-HC)

3. points awarded depending on how high up the leaderboard you are (e.g. 1 point just for doing it, 2 for upper 50%, 3 for> 80%, 5 for >95%, 8 for KOM)

So, as an example, first one up an HC climb would get 64 points, while someone who simply completed it very slowly would only get 8 points.  I think the point for completing it would actually allow more people to use the feature, compare to their friends, etc.

One challenge I see is that often popular climbs have many, many variations, so you do one of those and suddenly you've completed 7 climbs, and that seems kind of silly.

 

In reply to Steve about policing the group tag:

  • a) some people just upload their data to Strava and don't care about those kinds of details

I think I addressed that with my suggestion that Strava auto-tag group rides.  If you don't care about those kinds of details, then you wouldn't care if you're ride got flagged as a group ride.

  • b) some rides are simply a mix of group and solo

Flag by the segment.  If there's a group part of the segment, it's a group.  The opt-out suggestion allows for the honor system to unflag their rides.

  • c) even in a pure group ride, some guy may be hammering on the front the whole time not getting the benefit of the pack

See above.  If you are this person you could remove the group tag from your ride.

It would not be a perfect system -- but the current system isn't either.  People could still cheat if they wanted to -- but they can now as well.

 

Finally, regarding Turf KOM:  Maybe I didn't understand this correctly, but is it just a list of who has done a segment the most times?  I personally am not interested in it, but if people are then there is no harm in implementing it.

August 01, 2012 11:29 AM
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Joe Emenaker

I don't understand the point behind a points system for difficulty of climb. Why is it more difficult (otherwise, why award more points) to be the KOM of a steep hill than of a less-steep one? Seems to me that, if you're in better shape than anyone else, then you're going to be quickest to the top of *any* hill.

I see more justification for awarding points based upon the number of riders on the leaderboard (ie, I see some KOM's where the leaderboard only has 1 person. Contrast this with someone who's at the top of a leaderboard of 100+ riders). Even then, though, I could see someone getting a lot of point off of a hill that's part of a popular commute, where lots of people ride it, but hardly anybody hammers it (although, I acknowledge the argument that not many commuters would probably upload their rides.. but I've seen it done).

I could also see the point in awarding points based upon how much you beat the #2 guy by... or by how much your lead is upon the spread between #2 - #10, say. For example, if the time difference between #2 and #10 is about 2 seconds, and you've beaten #2 by 10 seconds... then you're quite the stud. On the other hand, if the spread between #2 and #10 is about 30 seconds, and you only have #2 beat by 1 second, then you haven't exactly "crushed" the guy.

August 01, 2012 11:48 AM
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Jerry Perullo

I see where you are coming from, Joe, but I think a lot of natural factors smooth out a lot of the potential issues you brought up, and I think a lot of suggestions are to combat potential issues that could come up in the future, and I'd argue that we can cross those bridges when we come to them.

As an example:  The reason Lance Armstrong hasn't KOM'd all my local segments isn't blind luck.  Let's be honest.. that would be a huge pain in the ass!  Even if a major baller is travelling in your town, AND he has his bike or a suitable substitute with him, it isn't trivial to grab KOM's.  Cycling is cool like that.  If I, even as an amateur CAT5 guy, really go balls-out and max-HR over a typical segment (half a mile or so), even a pro would have to make a legitimate effort to unseat it.  More effort than their coach would sanction/permit in the middle of a training ride.  Could they do it?  Yes.  Could they kill me on 25-mile segments just while they are out training?  Yes definitely.  But these short steep climbs that make up the majority of our local KOM's are not going to be steamrolled by even a pro on a training ride.  Look at some of the pro's riding in the Amgem tour or the TDF for that matter.  You'll see them pass tons of segments - in a full on RACE... and still the local heros hold the KOMs.  It takes a concerted effort to really best a strava KOM, and one that isn't reasonable when you are out on a training ride.   Even if you have tons of ability, just riding around town and hammering up all those 7% 0.5 mile stretches would be a huge ball buster.  Reality regulates all!

And if Lance does screw it up for all of us, we can then reconvene and talk about a "everyone but Lance" feature.  Or more realistically, everyone but pros.

And you know, if you implemented my proposed scoring system, you could then have strava Cats!  >50 points for a month?  You Cat up in Stravaland.  Then you could add a filter to only show people in your Cat or below, and that would be your way to not see Lance.  Like that?  Maybe that's the best middle ground.

Arik - good thoughts on points, but I think it is just too complicated.  I like the idea of something they could setup and just run overnight.  MAYBE have smaller points for deeper placings, but I think starting KOM-only would be really simple and good to model. 

FYI - yes I did submit that scoring idea as a suggestion a few weeks back.

August 01, 2012 11:54 AM
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Steve Weixel

Jerry, re: " If I, even as an amateur CAT5 guy, really go balls-out and max-HR over a typical segment (half a mile or so), even a pro would have to make a legitimate effort to unseat it"

 

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

August 01, 2012 11:59 AM
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Arik Florimonte

Joe said:

  • I don't understand the point behind a points system for difficulty of climb. 

This is the way it's always done. All the KOM competitions in bike racing give more points for harder climbs. 

 

August 01, 2012 12:19 PM
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Joe Emenaker

Yeah, I disagree with Steve regarding expiry, but I agree with his "hahaha...". My buddies and I once had a chance to ride with a Cat-2 guy. He had a crit coming up that weekend so the only reason he wanted to ride with us was because we would slow him down. Our sole purpose was to keep him from riding as fast as he would if he were alone trying to remember to take it easy. Similarly, a buddy of mine is Cat-3/4... there's a local climb where our PR's are both from the same day. He was just keeping me company, so we have the *same* time up the hill, yet his heartrate was 10 bpm slower than mine. I have no doubt that a pro rider could smoke all of my PR's without breaking 130bpm. We can scarcely imagine the kind of power those guys can put out.

"Look at some of the pro's riding in the Amgem tour or the TDF for that matter.  You'll see them pass tons of segments - in a full on RACE... and still the local heros hold the KOMs", that's because the locals ride out their front door, pedal easy for a mile to where they're going to try to hammer the hill, and then go. The TDF guys have 20-100 miles of attack/counter-attack in their legs by the time they get to that hill. Even if they were fresh, they wouldn't blow their legs up on that stage just to get a Strava KOM.

"And if Lance does screw it up for all of us, we can then reconvene and talk about a "everyone but Lance" feature.  Or more realistically, everyone but pros". Well, I think that's a little arbitrary to start singling people out when they "show up on the radar" of too many KOM's, so to speak. With expiry, nobody has to vote or keep their eye out for people who nab too many KOM's. It's just a matter of how many KOM's someone can maintain. It's a little like the reason Brad Pitt isn't dating every woman on the planet; He's good looking enough to get them all, but he'd have to service all of them. Thankfully, this is a task monumental enough that it leaves lots of women for us. :) Same goes for KOM's... if it took more effort to "make the rounds" to keep defending all of one's KOM's, then that would leave more openings for the rest of us.

August 01, 2012 12:52 PM
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Steve Weixel

There's no reason to have expiration because you can always filter out and just look at most recently results. It's cool to have filters. If you want to filter out the results six ways to sunday so that you have a chance of seeing yourself on the filtered list, more power to you. But it only makes sense for the definitive list to be all time, all comers.

 

Fwiw, we have a good number of pros that come out here for winter training time. I've lost many a KOM to guys like Ted King just doing base miles.

August 01, 2012 01:02 PM
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Seth Green

Adding a Solo Vs. Group ride tag for each upload is critical. It would be great to sort segments by All rides, Solo or Group. It's not as critical on climbs unless there's enough speed to be impacted by drafting.

August 03, 2012 08:10 AM
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Randall B.

On upload the default should put your ride into a general leader board. If you did a segment or the whole ride solo, you should be able to opt to move your ride results to a leader board consisting of solo efforts, unassisted by drafting, purely an ITT, so you are comparing apples to apples. It's hard to race John Doe and all his zippy friends combined.

Strava is extremely vague and loses appeal when I just put out over 1000 watts average (I have a power meter--and I'm not bragging here) during a segment and averaged 34 MPH and the KOM did it in over 59 MPH with 145 heart rate. wtf??

People would just have to be honest. Because if there are too many unrealistic results, the whole Strava idea will become irrelevant.

 

August 03, 2012 10:26 PM
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Randall B.

Or you could filter the leader board to show only ITT efforts.

August 04, 2012 09:14 PM
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gibbs tolsdorf

This is so simple that it's getting complicated. 

1) ISSUE: A KOM out front on a group ride is the same as a solo ride and/or being faster is faster, regardless of a group setting or not.

  • TRUTH: If this were true, then you would have to necessarily agree that a single rider could ride a course (race) at the same speed or faster than in a group of peers. We all know this is not true. I can draft all day long with no effort and then kick it on a mountain. I make one effort. ONE. If this were not true, you wouldn't see pace-setters falling off on mountain stages. Or break-aways ALWAYS winning. 

2) ISSUE: Pro's taking KOM's

  • TRUTH: Pro's will beat everyone of you every single time. They should be excluded, no question. 

My point of my "If I were CEO of Strava" comment was only to point out that Strava can only maintain it's relevance if it figures this issue out. Guys who ride a fraction of what I ride go out on 25 mile BS rides with 8 others guys and hammer the segments. Those KOM's are not won on equal footing. 

King means king. There can only be one. So figure it out Strava. 

August 04, 2012 10:02 PM
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John S.

You know, I've come full circle on this. I don't think it particularly needs it. Unless you're Wiggins, Cav, Cancellera et al, there's always room for improvement. If a local club run beats my KOM as a group, then it's up to me to train harder and beat them solo. Rather than handicap things so we're all at the same baseline, let the results stand and work harder to get it back. Improve your cycling to get a KOM instead of leveling the field to keep one.

As an aside, I've just added "(solo)" to the end of my name for solo rides, and if I ever ride in a group (unlikely, I don't play well with others) I'll upload it into another account with "(group)" at the end . It won't make any difference, but at least when I get a KOM people will know I've done it as a solo rider, and not assume the only way I could beat them was in a group.  Yes that'll mean I will some totals data on my main account - but I think I'd prefer to keep them separate anyway.

Happy riding folks!

John

August 05, 2012 02:36 AM
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Joe Emenaker

@Gibbs: I think that the policy of excluding pros is a slippery slope. Next, we could argue that the Cat-1 dudes, although not pro, certainly have the financial comfort of being able to ride all the time, so they might as *well* be pros... so let's eliminate them, too. Truth is, the pros got to be pros because of a combination of dedicated training and genetic fortune. Those with less of those two factors are Cat-1's, those with still less are Cat-2's, etc. I have no qualms with losing to someone who has more of those two factors than I do. What I felt we were debating, here, is whether it is in good sportsmanship (and, therefore, whether Strava should be encouraging) for riders to be snagging KOM's by sitting in with a group on a long flat segment and then breaking away at the end. If that's considered fair game, then why don't we approve of people drafting off trucks (for those people who don't have enough friends who ride... or who don't want to burden 8-9 other riders to help us with their KOM attempt)?

 

@John: I don't think the "always room for improvement" argument goes as far as you seek to take it. Sure, it would be impressive if you were able to train so well and so hard that you were able to beat, solo, what another group was able to do. By the same token, it's impressive when a female rider bests a male one, because she's at a serious testosterone disadvantage; to overcome that with training and determination is commendable, indeed. But every body has its limit. I'll never have the VO2Max that Lance Armstrong does, no matter how much training I do, because I don't have his parents (and VO2Max is highly hereditary). So, its folly to suggest that one could always just train harder and overcome any other disadvantage. Now, there's nothing we can do to level the genetic playing field, but we can level the "wind-resistance" playing field. 

August 05, 2012 10:24 AM
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Jerry Perullo

@randall - a 59mph KPM @145bpm is a car.  It's so easy to flag those, and I've yet to see one that seemed overt/on purpose.  The system is working great for those.  Oh and the HR is usually about 80bpm, which makes it even funnier.

 

@all - lots of good ideas, but you have to look at the development effort and efficacy of any of these ideas versus the value, and I think the bottom line is that the product is working really well as-is.  I think all of these ideas would only address a very small % of segments, and with less than perfect accuracy, so I would argue we should leave it as-is for now and concentrate on some other features.  In particular, I think Strava should focus on $$$ features to differentiate service for premium users.  I think they need to focus on the $ now to  make sure this product is sustainable and will be around for years to come.  I think to that end, focusing on the "KOM Hunter" market would be a great direction to take premium features.  Things like mapping a route to pick up KOMs, scoring popular KOMs and allowing you to sort/search segments by 'points available,' and other things like that that would make it a little easier to pick your segments would be a good draw and worth an upcharge.  Anyone can click around the exporer/segments manually and decide what to ride next, so there isn't a disadvantage, but a cool tool to help you plan your ride around Strava points would be a nice time saver - and that is where the $ can be had.

August 05, 2012 12:04 PM
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Joe Emenaker

Per Jerry: "I think all of these ideas would only address a very small % of segments..."

Frankly, I don't consider the flat segments to be a "very small %". Just now, I picked a variety of flat segments in my area and looked at the efforts of the KOM of each. Here's what I found:

Ridden with 6 others, solo, solo, ridden with 2 others, ridden with 7 others.

Now, keep in mind that the "solos" might still have been with a group where nobody else in that group uses Strava. But I think that the fact that 60% of the KOM's were in groups (and 40% of them were in large groups), indicates that this isn't a rare case.

August 05, 2012 02:39 PM
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Rich Uliana
Strava is a fun distraction but if you really want to know how fast you are go pay your $60 to USA cycling and enter your local crit, road race or TT. Let's face it folks, this is an Internet TT. Just my 2 cents but at the end of the day it means nothing.
August 07, 2012 08:08 PM
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Joe Emenaker

At the end of the day, even real TT's mean nothing. At the end of the day, even the TdF and the Olympics mean nothing. The sun is going to swallow the earth and this will all be gone, someday.

Until then, what matters is whatever motivates us. The advantage of an "internet TT" is one of convenience. I don't have to wait around for the next nearby TT... hope the weather is good... load the bike in the car. Also, with a real TT, where you fall in the standings depends upon who shows up. You could be faster than you were last time, but be further down in the standings. With Strava, it's a little more static, where you can see yourself move up the list of others' past efforts. Also, you can go test yourself any day you want, and there are segments closer to your home. Now, the downside to "internet TT" is that you're not all competing with the same weather conditions.

But, back to my point... until the heat-death of the universe, what matters is what motivates us to strive... and what motivates us are things which we feel are achievable, or within reach of our abilities. And, frankly, I don't think any amount of training on my part is going to allow me to catch a group of 6-7 riders who just bagged the whole top of the leaderboard on a group ride.

August 08, 2012 07:56 AM
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Robot Head
@ Joe Emenaker:
Well said and how I look at life, too, altho I take it to the point where the universe has expanded to where it's a cold and dark place.
Helps put things into perspective.
I had been tiring of this conversation (from both sides) and some of the attitude in here but, as I say and still feel, "If you want to meet a snob - just look for the average roadie" -
so, reading this last post from you was a breath of fresh air.
August 08, 2012 08:30 AM
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Jerry Perullo

Yeah that's awesome Joe - well said!  No point in debating the 'importance' of anything.. anything worth doing is worth overdoing, and Strava is a prime example.  Strava is awesome.. getting KOM's is awesome... and trying is pretty damned awesome too.

I still think it is great as-is.  And I figured out how to bag the group ride segments.  You just look for the pattern to see when they ride each week, then look at the maps to find the starting place, and join the group!  Then you hold back until the segment and then put a few seconds on the field for good measure!  Pow.  KOM done.  That one wasn't a TT - it was a group sprint.  Variety=life(spice).

No excuses!

August 08, 2012 08:36 AM
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Randall B.

@ Joe "And, frankly, I don't think any amount of training on my part is going to allow me to catch a group of 6-7 riders who just bagged the whole top of the leaderboard on a group ride."

Exactly why there should be a filter that shows Individual Time Trial only.

My two reasons I ride 90% of my rides solo are scheduling and that I don't trust club riders--half of them, anyway.

It's not easy to schedule rides with others when my schedule is different than most. Consequently, I ride most times alone. But even if my big ride of the week was Saturday club ride, I wouldn't join. Simply because half the people in big group club rides are DUMB.  Chit chatting, "which way are we going?", not paying attention, not staying in their line, swerving back and forth, the first time guy is trying to win a race. TOTALLY STUPID.

And re a cat 5 rider being able to beat a pro---I'm not laughing about it. A well trained cat 5 pure sprinter with a booming sprint can beat a guy like Andy Schleck every time in a flat 300 meter sprint. It's true, little fella. Sorry.

August 08, 2012 11:44 AM
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Steve Weixel

A well trained cat 5 pure sprinter is an oxymoron.

August 08, 2012 11:54 AM
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John Vandercook

Randall B., really? just....... really!?

August 08, 2012 12:13 PM
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Randall B.

Even an uncategorized rider that rides say 1000 miles a month and can produce big watts for 300 meters can beat a 140 pound pro that's a pure climber in a 300 meter flat sprint EVERY TIME!!! I'll put $1000 on the sprinter right now.

August 08, 2012 12:30 PM
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Steve Weixel

You never know where the next Cav is hiding out, but even pro pure climbers put out more power than you think. How many segments are 300m sprints anyway?

August 08, 2012 12:43 PM
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Colin Harrison

Being fairly new to Strava, I hadn't given much thought to the times others get in group rides (drafting) etc.

But I busted my guts tonight on a sprint section to see what time I could come up with. Not very good and I was disappointed to just be number 91 out of 1,000 or so. Then when I looked at the top results, I saw many with the same time, or within a second or two on the same date. It's fairly obvious now that these were in a group ride.

It isn't that important at the end of the day, but the reason I use strava and not just my own garmin records, is because it helps me to push myself and continue to improve (hopefully). But at the same time I don't want to give myself an impossible task because my work schedule means I ride solo quite a lot.

So enabling a group ride feature would be very useful to at least show obvious group ride results separately.

August 08, 2012 01:50 PM
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Randall B.

An every day athletic big guy (like 180-220 lbs) with powerful legs who TRAINS and rides 1000 miles a month will be able to outpace a 140 lbs pro pure climber on a flat course on segments up to 5 miles or more. Once the road goes uphill at all, that's a different story. . .

Little fellas, pure climbers, can't come close to producing the kind of watts a bigger guy can. If you don't believe me, ask any USA Cycling coach who trains people using power. http://usacycling.org/

August 08, 2012 01:53 PM
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Joe Emenaker

"Then when I looked at the top results, I saw many with the same time, or within a second or two on the same date. It's fairly obvious now that these were in a group ride."

Yup. Welcome to the world of Strava's odd policies. To get the full "Strava experience", go find some downhill segments on windy mountain roads which encourage you to keep your fingers off of the brake levers when you have no idea if there's a car coming around that next bend. But that's another thread....

August 08, 2012 02:21 PM
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Steve Weixel

A pro tour climber with a 6 W/kg FTP is going to kick pretty much any amateur's in a 5 mile TT, uphill, flat, or otherwise. If you start adding people who are training with USA Cycling coaches, then we aren't talking about random cat 5s trying to poach strava segments anymore... Anyone who is a cat 5 and can do it won't be for long. Remember everyone had to start somewhere.

August 08, 2012 03:06 PM
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Yann Bertaud

I know that my rides are generally faster when I ride with a group, i.e. taking turns pulling/drafting, plus I might push harder when in a group. 

August 08, 2012 10:04 PM
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Michael S.

I also vote against for the reasons Steve and others pointed out. It's: 

1.) Not enforceable,

2.) Not realistic,

3.) Irrelevant,

4.) Misses the point of the app.

This is a wonderful motivational tool, not an online race. If it were an online race, then all sorts of rules and regulations would apply to keep the competition fair for all involved. Think about the insane levels you could take this to. What if you couldn't be KOM unless the weather conditions were just right? What if you had to have evidence that you weren't actually driving the route in a car? What if you had to prove you weren't riding in a group and drafting? What if you had to piss in a cup before you could upload your data? Get my drift? 

I've requested a "Group" feature where you could just compare you results against a group of people that you identify. If we get that, then you'll be able to compare apples to apples, because you'll be able to set your own rules for your group and police that yourself to your hearts content. 

Ride safe,

Michael

August 09, 2012 02:49 PM
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Joe Emenaker

I don't 1) is a good argument because *nothing* on Strava is really enforceable. I could draft behind a truck... or just get *in* a truck. Strava already has no counter-measure for deliberate liars. We'll never be able to fix that. What we're talking about here is a way to mitigate the problem of honest riders who often ride in groups and who, whether they rode group or solo, regularly upload their rides to Strava.

Regarding 2), I think it's very realistic (in the sense that it's a realistic goal... it's achievable). Strava already notices when you did a ride with someone else. All they'd have to do is put those rides in a "group" leaderboard. Now, sometimes Strava erroneously thinks that you were in a group. So, they can just let you manually indicate "This person didn't ride with me". You could argue that they should already have that function. Now, the next argument people seem to have, regarding this, is that there will be some people who don't bother to check if their ride is solo or group. They'll just upload and forget it. Okay... but let's think that scenario through. Those riders are kinda half-hearted... possibly just uploading to Strava to track their weekly mileage, who knows. But they won't cause a problem. Why? Because the problem is group riders getting unfairly high rankings over the solo riders. Nobody is complaining about solo people beating up on the groups. And (here's the crucial part), when Strava makes a mistake regarding group-vs-solo, it errs on the side of group. I've never seen it take one of my group rides and say it was solo (unless, of course, nobody else in the group uses Strava). Whenever it errs, it takes one of my solo rides and says I rode it with some dude I passed on my ride (or who passed me). So, if I'm the type of rider who just uploads his ride and forgets about it, and Strava mistakenly thinks my solo ride was group, it's going to put me in the faster leaderboard, and I'll be ranked lower than I, otherwise, would have been. There's little risk of Strava taking my fast ride with a group and tossing me into the slower solo leaderboard.

Taking 3) and 4) together (because I think they're saying the same thing), I think Strava loses its effectiveness as a "motivational tool" when you learn that the deck is stacked against you. Let me rephrase that... it starts "motivating" you to do something other than become a stronger rider. Right now, Strava is motivating me to find the widest cat-1/2 guys in my area who ride in groups over my local segments. I'd prefer that it were motivating me to train harder. :-\

Now, I hear what you're saying about the weather conditions, and peeing in a cup, etc. But all of the things you mention place quite a burden on the rider. The feature we're debating here is just a change to some of the programming back-end at Strava, and then we're 90% of the way there. Most people won't have to do anything. In light of that, I actually would not be opposed at all to limitations on weather conditions... but something like that is much harder to implement and would be very unreliable (since there wouldn't be weather stations at all segments, and many segments go through a variety of weather conditions). So, the weather thing... I'm not opposed to that on principle; I'm opposed to it because it just can't be done effectively and without being a burden to users. But the group/solo thing is different. It's fairly straightforward for them to implement, puts minimal additional burden on the users, and, when  it errs, it errs in a way that doesn't piss anybody off.

August 09, 2012 04:23 PM
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Michael S.

My point is that once you start collecting that data, it's meaningless because only a few people will bother to record whether it was a group ride or not. If the devices were smart enough to calculate rider pack density and position within the pack (drafting versus pulling), then you'd get the benefits you are looking for. 

That said, I did think of a way to implement this that I think would make everyone happy. What if you took the idea and took a step back, made it more generic. What if they implemented generic tagging, just like on your favorite blog authoring software? What you're really talking about collecting here is metadata about the ride and having the ability to filter based on some category of metadata. Once you start looking at it that way, it opens up all kinds of possibilities. You and your buddies could all tag your rides with the name of your cycling club. Grandmas could tag their rides with "60+" or something to compare themselves with other older riders. Mountain bikers could tag their rides with "Mountain Bike" and compare others in that category (who have bothered to tag their rides). Etc. 

At least this way, there isn't the perception that the system is going to magically take all the variables out of the data for you. If you want to correlate the data, the onus is on you to do that however you like. I would support an implementation like this. And it would motivate me to be KOM for "Nude Cyclist Wearing Silly Hat." YMMV.

August 10, 2012 08:15 AM
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Joe Emenaker

"You and your buddies could all tag your rides with the name of your cycling club. Grandmas could tag their rides with "60+" or something to compare themselves with other older riders...."

Ohhhhhh! I think I understand the confusion now. I think you need to go here (https://www.strava.com/register/free) and create yourself a Strava account and start... y'know... using it. Umm... Strava already allows for age-based and club-based leaderboards (although age-based is a premium feature).

"it's meaningless because only a few people will bother to record whether it was a group ride or not"

  • Solo people who are correctly detected as solo and who "don't bother" will get put into solo where they should be.
  • Solo people who are erroneously detected as group and who "don't bother" will get put into group, where people are faster, so it's their loss and nobody in the group leaderboard will mind.
  • Group people who are correctly detects as group and who "don't bother" will get put into group where they should be. 
  • Group people who are erroneously detected as solo and who "don't bother"...  well, I hardly ever see that happen.
August 10, 2012 08:44 AM
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Corey Keizer

I'll just continue to drive all the segments in my car, enter them as solo and own the KOM's.  Problem solved.  

August 10, 2012 09:12 AM
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Joe Emenaker

Actually, that doesn't solve the problem. The this problem has never been about deliberate cheaters (Strava already has a mechanism to deal with that with the ability to flag rides). This problem is about honest riders who would properly categorize their rides (or whose rides can be automatically categorized) as group or solo (and, thereby, strengthen the competitive balance and, as a result, better serve as a motivational tool) if only there were a mechanism to do so. Sure, you're going to get some percentage of group riders erroneously ending up in the solo leaderboard and being ranked anomalously high. But, right now, that error rate is 100%

August 10, 2012 09:25 AM
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Corey Keizer

Well now that you say it like that with italics I completely understand your point and will no longer cheat.  Bungies are cool right?  That's not cheating?  If I bungie myself to a car I'm still on my bike, so technically I still rode the climb and earned the KOM.

August 10, 2012 10:46 AM
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Joe Emenaker

The italics weren't to make you feel guilty. They were to emphasize that cheating is not the issue being addressed here. There is a huge difference between good-faith and bad-faith usage of the system. Bad-faith usage is a problem for another thread. This thread is about letting good-faith users better categorize themselves and their rides to as to provide a better community of competitiveness and motivation.

Let me give you an example. Did you know that the women, by default, get their own leaderboard? If your account has you listed as a woman, and you go to the leaderboard for a segment, Strava just shows you how you stack up against the other women. You'd have to deliberately switch the view to "Men and Women" to see the whole leaderboard. And all of those achievements (like QOM, of course, but also placing in the top 10) that are listed on your dashboard are taken from the women's leaderboard, not the co-ed one.

Using the arguments I'm hearing in this thread, we could ask "why bother"? It's unenforceable, right? We can't do a chromosome check on everybody... any reasonably-fit dude can list himself as a woman and then go crush the leaderboards... gobble up all of the area QOM's. Nothing to stop him. So, because the system isn't iron-clad bulletproof against such abuse, then the very notion of having a women's leaderboard is: "1) Not enforceable, 2) not realistic, 3) irrelevant, 4) misses the point of the app", so it should be removed, right?

But, y'know what? That's not what happens. As astounding as it might seem, men don't go and list themselves as women. The women's leaderboard has just women on it, and a friend of mine is up around #3 on some of them, and she's working her ass off to try to catch #2 on those segments... and she's becoming a stronger cyclist in the process.

Clearly, she's "missing the point of the app"

August 10, 2012 11:14 AM
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Torbjørn B.

No offence (hope it works) but I think this whole debate have become quite childish. It boils down to a simple software feature  that you can  use or not (but Strava will apply some artificial inelegance to prevent some of the cheating)

I guess that the next level of this "debate" will be of the typical online debate, where the main focus is typing errors..

I am personally in favor of the suggestion this discussion is based on, but I am not sure that Strava will implement the change. Therefore I have rechristened myself by adding (solo) to my name. (Not a flexible solution, but I make a statement by doing it)

How about spending your energy on other Strava shortcomings and errors? (yes there are quite a few, like segment matching, evaluation of GPS data integrity, average speed calculations and user interface errors), or just put down some miles/Km

Personally, Strava helps me by making the training at an intensity that is associated with levels of lactate exeeding 4 mmol/litre (anaerobic) more fun and measurable.

I know there are quite a few who measures their abilities as a cyclist based on Strava results. Its kind of saying; I am the champion of the world, in Norway.. I don’t know what marked saturation Strava has, but in my area its not too high, so my KOMs are KOMs because 1. Not all uses Strava, 2. If they use Strava they don't bother to crush me, unless accidentally :-)

Last: If you really want comparable results, start swimming. No wind, standarized gear, the same course every time (25 or 50 meters/yards) , and you have to use your speedo :-) Kidding, I also love to cycle!

Btw: did you know that its possible to "skip" the hard parts of a segment by stop the GPS from logging, and then get an average speed of the missing part based on your speed at the bottom and after the top of the hill. Guess I shouldn't have told you that, but the flip side is that if you look at the "performance tab" the missing data shows up as a "plateau" or flat line.

Guess I made my self a few "enemies" by this posting, but feel free to criticize my NORenglish. It would be the next natural step in this debate :-)

 

August 10, 2012 12:59 PM
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Joe Emenaker

Torbjørn, take heart... you NORenglish is much better than my ENGnorwegian, so I'm not going to criticize. :)

Funny that you should make your post at this time, because, over the last few days, I've been asking myself "Why won't I let this go? Why does it seem that I've become the champion of this cause, posting long replies to each argument that anybody posts?". The answer I arrived at was this: If Strava decides not to implement something like this, I'm okay with that, as long as it's for legitimate reasons (maybe it would bog down their servers... maybe the HTML guys think it would clutter up the look... who knows?). But all of the reasons I've heard so far are nonsense, and it would be a shame for an idea to be discarded because of fallacious reasons. Just for fun, let's revisit them...

1 - The leaderboards shouldn't matter to you, anyway, because they don't represent all the riders in the world, they don't even represent all of the riders in your area, and the rides weren't conducted under controlled conditions. This argument is very disingenuous, I think, because people who post this don't even believe their own argument. After all, if you didn't care about Strava's leaderboards, you wouldn't have clicked to read this thread, read it, and then bothered to post something pleading to keep things the way they are. Someone who doesn't care about the leaderboards doesn't care what happens to them and, thus, isn't posting here. Once you post in this thread, you've "outed" yourself as someone who cares about them. More generally, however, I argue that the leaderboards (even though they're very inconsequential in the grand scheme of things in this world) are the most motivational feature of Strava. Like it or not, everybody I personally know who uses Strava pushes themselves harder on the segments than they otherwise would have, either to move up the leaderboards or to set a PR. Leaderboards matter to the users, and they serve as a great motivator for a large portion of them.

2 - People can use it to cheat. The problem with that is that people already can cheat, but they don't. People could draft behind (or ride in) cars, but there's little evidence of that. I had a KOM, once, and the poeple who took it, they really are faster than me, and they had a good tailwind that day. I was knocked off legitimately. Sure, you get the occasional "65mph KOM", but that's just some dude forgetting to turn his app/GPS off on his drive home from his trail ride... it's not someone being sneaky and driving just a little faster than the KOM speed. Also, guys could list themselves as women and get all of the QOM's, but they don't. I know the people at the top of the women's leaderboards around here. I haven't seen them naked, but they look very girly to me. People already can cheat, but they don't, so there's little reason to worry that they'll suddenly decide to cheat with this feature.

3 - Strava doesn't know, for sure, which rides are solo and which are group. But it already tries to, though, so this isn't a huge extra step. Look at your rides and you'll sometimes see "Ridden with 1 other" or "Ridden with 2 others", etc. It's already checking your ride against others in the system to search for a match, so they can choose what leaderboard to put you in upon whether or not it found other riders on your ride. Now, sometimes it finds a matching rider(s) when you didn't really ride with them. All they'd need to do is give the user a way to indicate that they didn't ride with them (you could argue that they should add this anyway), and that would be the way that a user marks a ride a "solo". Furthermore, usually, when Strava makes a mistake, it errs on the side of thinking you were in a group. So, Strava users who aren't careful about checking which rides were group-vs-solo will get their solo rides put in the group leaderboard, where competition is tougher, where it's their loss, not the loss of the other people in that leaderboard.

4 - This isn't a widespread problem. Oh, yes it is. You bet your ass it is. Go check the segments in your area that you know are relatively flat. Look at the leaderboards and look at the dates of the efforts of the people at the top. There's a good chance it will look like this one (http://app.strava.com/segments/873593) with 6 of the  top 10 all on a March 11 ride, or this one (http://app.strava.com/segments/1207140) with 9 of the top 14 all on a March 10 ride. You don't have to do this just for your local area, either; explore with the map and look for segments where the grade is between 1% and -1% and check the leaderboard. Of all of the ones I've checked, about half of the flat segments I've looked at have leaderboards which look just like what I've described, with more than half of the top-placed rides all being on the same group ride.

5 - What you're advocating will be the start of a slippery-slope where there will be dozens of leaderboards for all kinds of criteria, and we'll all have to pee in cups to prove we're not doping, and we'll have to show that we didn't have too much of a tailwind, etc. Peeing in cups and obtaining proof of weather conditions place a burden on the user. The feature suggested here does not. If a user doesn't care enough about Strava to notice if their ride was categorized correctly, then some of their solo rides will end up in the group leaderboard where they won't hurt anybody. It's completely voluntary whether you do that extra little check. Also, we already do have multiple leaderboards, when you consider that we can see it limited to our age group or weight class. I think the only difference, here, is that it's being suggested that there be an additional leaderboard for awarding achievements... but there's even already a precedent for that, as the women get their own leaderboard, from which the QOM and 2nd through 10th place badges are awarded from.

6 - You're never going to make it compeletely fair. That's right, but that's no reason to not try to make things fairer. After all, none of us are going to be Lance Armstrong, yet we're out there with our PowerTaps and our bladed-spokes and whatnot, trying to get a little better than we were... and to measure up a little better against the local competition than we used to.

What did I miss?

August 11, 2012 09:44 AM