Sunday, February 08, 2015

How to beat a Strava PR on every ride

I think getting to, or maintaining, a healthy weight is fairly straightforward, in principle at least. Match your calorie intake with your calorie burning. Riders on the Tour de France eat 9000 calories a day, but don’t put on any weight for the obvious reason that they burn through all those calories. Eating less has never appealed to me, so the exercise side of the equation is the one I try to work on and it generally works OK for me.

But motivation can be a problem. Cycling is my exercise of choice and a winter of cold, wet and windy weather can rather reduce the will to get out on the road. I’ve found a few things to motivate me in the past, signing up with Endomondo (and trying to beat various personal bests), buying a new bike and training for the Ride London 100 to name a few.

Strava is the latest motivator. Every ride gives the opportunity to beat a PR on one segment or another, so there are many more chances to get a little boost from receiving a medal at the end of a ride. But sometimes, nothing. A ride of an hour may lead to no achievement.

But there is a way to almost guarantee a PR on every ride. First, sign up with veloviewer. This provides even more geeky information about every segment you’ve ridden. Next, filter the segment list for ones you’ve only ridden once or twice. Next, check the weather to find out the prevailing wind. Now find some segments where the wind will be behind you. Then plan your ride to include those segments. And finally, ride the route!

And voila, chances are you will beat one of your PRs on that ride. And even better, you’ll probably have ridden some new segments during your ride, which will now be in your list of potential PR segments.

I’ve been using this technique for the last few months and I’ve still got 140 segments within 5 miles of my house that I’ve ridden 2 or less times. Of course I’ll get bored of this at some point, but maybe I’ve already found my next motivation tool (aside from Ride London 2015), increasing my Eddington number

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