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

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.




373 commenti
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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"



  • 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. 


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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

  • 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. 

  • 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!


  • @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. 

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • @ 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.
  • 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!

  • @ 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.

  • A well trained cat 5 pure sprinter is an oxymoron.

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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • "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....

  • 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.

  • 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. 

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