Strava Live Segments

I got a new mount for my phone and upgraded Strava (the app I use to track my times and performance) to their Premium plan, so I could use their Live Segments feature.

Live Segments — well, let me back it up, first. A segment is a section of your route. Sometimes very short, sometimes long, sometimes the entire route. Many other Strava users configure them and sometimes you create your own.

When you go on your ride, Strava compares your time for the segment against not only yourself but others who’ve ridden the same segment.  Then when you’re done, you can compare yourself to others – even professionals. It’s both amazing and infuriating because there’s no way I’ll ever beat some of these folks.

Live Segments is a feature wherein, on your phone screen, it pops up and tells you that you’re approaching one of your segments. Then, when you start the segment, it tells you your PR (personal record) and that the segment has started.

This is what it looks like on your phone:

On the left is the “You’re getting close” indicator. The middle is complex but it breaks down to your time in the top left corner, how far along you are in the segment in the top right corner, your +/- time from your own PR (+ means you’re beating it, – means you’re slower than your PR) and the red circle with the crown in it is the KOM (King of the Mountain, the fastest person on that segment).

On my route, I decided to go to the bike trail, hit the end parking lot, then come back, rather than go my entire route. I just wanted to test the segments feature.

The first live segment that popped up was right up the street and it motivated me to peddle harder and faster than before. There’s something about knowing you can beat yourself that really pushes you. Or at least it did for me.

I ended up PR’ing every segment of the route on the way there. And since I’d never come back on the trail, I hit some new segments and got PRs from them (even though it was my first ride, it’s still a PR).

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And here’s my PRs from inside the ride:

The ones without the little PR icons are either because they’re new segments to me or because another Strava rider notified Strava that the segment was “hazardous”. Since they think the segment is potentially dangerous, they don’t show you numbers by default, so you’re not competing in a segment that could be harmful to you in some way. They try to not encourage you for those segments. But if you click into them and agree to their waivers, you can see your scores, which I did. You just can’t see them on the screen I’m showing above.

Strava Premium offers many other features, such as comparing times by age group, a live beacon so you can let people know where you are while you’re riding, in case you get hurt, personalized coaching and training plans, and better analysis and metrics on your rides. It comes with a price tag of $59.99 a year and is available at strava.com/premium

So far, I’m enjoying the extra push to beat my own scores. I know I’ll likely never be KOM for my segments, but beating myself is reward enough for me!

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