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.

 

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  • Thanks Cedric. The gist of my suggestion is to keep better track of improvements, by putting different types of performances into different buckets. But since I don't ride in groups a lot, I'd be happy with discarding my road alliance/group performances without hiding the whole ride. But truly, I'm sure many, who do ride in groups regularly, would enjoy improved functionality to check how their group is faring.

    Tell you the truth? some of those posts do sound like they're coming from fans of two different teams. Of course that's not the case, but the arguments being thrown around are just as unsubstantial as those you hear from football fans, on both sides I'm afraid.

    This is not a matter of whether you personally like leaderboards or how much value you attach to them: segment competition is clearly the one single feature that has made Strava so popular (and unpopular too). Leaderboard handling is something that can be improved on, and it would be myopic of Strava to just pretend everything's perfect.

    Oh, and one last thing: I keep reading that being the leader of a group is the same as going solo, where in fact, it is not; being followed actually provides a slight aero edge to the followee. We're talking a few percentage points here, nothing major, but the vast majority of aero upgrades are even more marginal.

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  • that, actually, would be a different feature request, which could be 'ability to opt out of a leaderboard'... useful feature, i would think. as pointed, "You know damn well if you benefited from drafting or not when you're out there riding."

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    Strava calculated power is reasonably accurate for this purpose, especially as we are looking at flat rides.  We don't need SRM level precision because the differences are so huge.  So lets forget Strava power ratings for a second and look at actual power meter readings for 2 riders from that 3.3 mile ride above.

    Both in same weight class. One in group, on solo.

    6. Dan S 125-149 lbs power meter 236 watts

    16. Marcus Smith, 125-149 lbs power meter  321 watts

    Marcus was 20 seconds slower than Dan, but is undoubtedly the faster rider.  Dan, producing 85 less watts, was 20 seconds faster.  Thats huge.  Imagine what the difference in watts would be if their times were equal.

    If I am in a group, I can go faster even though I produce less power. Whether I've run my Powertap wheel or just use Strava the wattage numbers show I go faster with less effort when in a group ride, and the bigger the group, the greater the advantage (provided they are strong riders).  AVG speeds are always higher for the same amount of effort.  

    I doubt Strava will change much here, as they seem to be interested in becoming the facebook of cycling, adding more picture links, maybe some chat, some games and other social fluff.

     

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  • "Here is a perfect example of the problem. 3.3 mile segment. http://www.strava.com/segments/866158 The KOM is held by someone on a group ride. But more interesting are the riders in 6th and 8th..." I agree that that's a perfect example, but not because of any weirdness in Strava's use of Magic 8-Ball when calculating power. I think the thing to notice is that EIGHT of the top eleven guys on the leaderboard got those spots all on the same ride. Of the remaining three, two of those were on the same ride. The one guy with a unique date (#10)... strava says he was on that ride with 10 others (they might be further down on the leaderboard). This is the rule, more than the exception, on flat segments. If you have a lot of friends who ride, and ride fast, then "welcome to the top of the leaderboard". Now, granted, I'm biased. I ride solo almost all the time, and its really discouraging to go balls-out on a segment and still only be, say, 132nd out of 300 people, and then to see that the first two pages are packed with group riders. It makes me really wonder how I'd stack up if we took out all of the drafters.
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  • Joe, I'm not trying to diminish you in any way.  You were wondering how you would stack up if you took out all the drafters?

    Just for fun, I looked up Dan S (#6 from above) on Strava.  164 mi/week (9 hr 20 min/week) average, 5,527 miles so far this year w/ 293,455 ft of elevation gain.  Dan rides a lot.

    I also looked up yours, again, not trying to diminish you in any way.  14 miles/week, 1 hr 2 min/week.  573 miles so far this year w/ 26,726 ft of elevation gain. Again not saying that's bad in any way, it's great you are getting out there, but not something I'd expect from someone worried about unfair advantages on KOMs.

    That 3.3 mile segment referenced only has 107 ft of elevation gain over 3.3 miles.  26.7mph is not a screaming fast time.  That is attainable for an individual rider who has the fitness.

    This whole group ride pissing match is silly.  There's always going to be someone faster who puts in more miles, there's always going to be someone with better equipment and less life challenges to get in the way.  There's always going to be something that someone can pick on to call something unfair.  Holy sh*t a lot of energy has been wasted here that could have been better spent riding.

     

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  • Bob, Its strange you should mention Joe's stats when yours show ZERO in all categories?

    Sure, Dan rides a lot, but that doesn't mean he is fast or climbs well. He has 1 1/4 pages of KOMS on many segments with less than 20 competitors.  Quantity of miles and feet climbed don't equal speed..You can look up my riding but to save you the time,  I have 5 pages of KOMS and a veloviewer score of over 99.  So this discussion means something to me and I have a first hand knowledge of truly fast riders and "group" fast riders. "Group" fast riders are populating leaderboards of flattish segments of any length around here.

    That 3.3 mile segment is lumpy and often windy.  This is one of the reasons why the group draft is so effective as it removes the heavy burden of pushing that air.

    If 26.7mph is easily attainable for a fit individual rider on the 3.3 mile segment then 99.9 percent of the 1462 riders who ride this route don't have fitness. I doubt that.

    Sum it up-

    Marcus Smith in 16th - Was part of team specialized junior development team, 19 yrs old, raced and placed in Europe, now on Team Mikes Bikes. http://www.teammikesbikes.com/about/

    Dan S in 6th- Over 45 yrs old, Local club rider.

     

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  • I think the most relevant part of Bob's post is the final paragraph.

    To paraphrase: Stop taking Strava so seriously. You can analyse it all day long and come up with umpteen reasons that "this guy's KOM is unfair and will Strava please do something about it", but at the end of the day, KOMs are just a meaningless statistic. There'll always be someone else who's better than you, even if they haven't ridden that segment, or, God forbid, don't use Strava! Unless you're a pro, in which case you probably don't care about Strava anyway.

    If you really want to prove yourself where it matters, go and enter a race!

    That said, being able to manually add some extra details on a ride would be useful, if only for account-keeping purposes.  For example, a field that specifies whether a ride was solo, group, or bunch race, or time trial. That way, the "type" of ride could be displayed on leader boards. Yes, this could be abused, but Strava itself can be played very easily anyway: http://www.digitalepo.com/skata.php

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  • Unfortunately Paul, that does not sum it up.

    Too many unknowns about the day.  We don't know if there was exceptional wind on the day Marcus did it, we know nothing about what bike he was using (could have been a mountain bike that day for all we know) or it could have been raining with a big jacket on, and we don't know if he was even really trying.

    Granted the last one doesn't matter when sitting watt measurements side by side, but the first three surely do.

     

    By the way, I never said 26.7mph was "easily attainable", I said it was "attainable".  Our local cat 4/5s here usually average about 26mph over a 10 mile course with 400 ft of climbing in individual non-drafting time trials.  So you're right, I've never ridden that segment, but 7 less miles with 300 feet less of climbing makes me think it's attainable.  Of course, I'm just lying measurements side by side and making assumptions, which is what this thread has been about.

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  • By the way, my Veloviewer says "Maximum possible score: 98.34".

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  • Bob sais: "Joe, I'm not trying to diminish you in any way."...

    Good, as I do a pretty good job of that myself. :) But I have two comments to make about your post. First, I used to ride a *lot* more a couple of years ago. I think part of why I've fallen off of it, lately, is because I've got a bit of "What's the use?" thing going on... partly attributable to the fact that sociable pack-riding guys have a big advantage over solitary guys like myself. But secondly, and more-importantly, is the fact that, this shouldn't weigh upon the argument; a dude with an FTP of 25 watts, and is dead-last in the leaderboard, shouldn't be dismissed when he argues that group-riding gives a huge time advantage. So, any "Hey XYZ... looks like you don't ride as much as rider ABC..." comments aren't pertinent to the argument.

    He also said... "There's always going to be someone faster who puts in more miles".

    Yeah, people have used this argument before, and I don't buy it. If that were the way to run things, then don't give trophies to local little-league baseball teams, because there's some other team, somewhere, that's better. Trophies only to those who win the LL World Series. Oh, and let's just have the Olympic 100m dash be between Usain Bolt and the one guy who might beat him; the rest of those sprinters should just stay home and watch TV. But, it turns out that, even though they have no hope of winning, those sprinters want the world to see that they're the best from their country. Turns out that, if you can't be recognized as having world-wide excellence, then even regional excellence will sometimes suffice.

    So, no... I don't buy the "There's always someone faster" argument (at least as an argument that solo riders should be measured against pack riders). True, there will always be someone faster. What I train for is so that there will be fewer. I realize that I'll never get to the point where there's nobody faster... I just want fewer faster.

    And Will said: "Stop taking Strava so seriously"

    Athletes (and wannabe athletes) draw their motivation from wherever they can. Our bodies give us lots of reasons to not put them through what we do. Whether it's vanity, arrogance, habit, high-cholesterol...  I don't begrudge where anybody finds their motivation to get out there and suffer. And, for some, the thing that makes them go out and hammer is the hope that, when they get back home, they'll upload their ride and find out that they've managed to crack the top-10 on a Strava segment. Good for them, I say.

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  • Joe, if you stopped riding because you feel "what's the use" about getting on the Strava leaderboards, that's just sad.

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  • So, no... I don't buy the "There's always someone faster" argument (at least as an argument that solo riders should be measured against pack riders). True, there will always be someone faster. What I train for is so that there will be fewer. I realize that I'll never get to the point where there's nobody faster... I just want fewer faster.


    ...And Strava is how you judge worth? Strava is just a clever but fallible way of analysing data collected by a device that you carry with you on your bike. It can never tell you objectively how good you are as a cyclist, no matter how sophisticated you make your algorithms. All it will ever do is show you a small cross section of reality, and will always have its shortcomings.

    Yes, you can make it ever more sophisticated, but ultimately, the more contrived you make it, the less fun and more laborious it becomes.

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  • Yes. It's sad whenever anybody loses their motivation to keep striving.

    Like I said, people draw their motivation from various sources. Maybe they're narcissists. Maybe they think it will get them laid. Maybe their spouse is a shrew and they'll take any excuse to get out of the house. Regardless, I don't pass judgement on where anybody finds their motivation.

    (And I'm also hoping that this thread doesn't veer off into a referendum on why I ride, or don't ride, as that's immaterial to the main discussion).

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  • Paul, 125-149 is not "the same weight class" no matter what Strava says. I weigh around 135 and even compared to people who weigh 145, the differences in power are ridiculous. You can't look at two random people on a leaderboard and say you need x more power to go that speed. There are just too many variables you aren't controlling for.

     

    This is all well and good but the bottom line is that no matter what some of you guys think is "fair" there is no REQUIREMENT in Strava that leaderboards are limited to solo efforts, and even if we all agreed that it should only be for solo efforts, there is no reasonable way to track or enforce it. There are just too many situations where the system would think it was a group but it was "legitimate" or it would be a burden to have to constantly be going to each segment and deciding or indicating group or solo. You can't do it at a ride level because rides can have group and solo. Here are some examples of my own:

     

    http://www.strava.com/segments/685382 I was off the front of a large group (not many people had Strava yet)

    http://www.strava.com/activities/51033763#910020674 I did by myself after riding with a large group.

     

    I do like the idea of people able to voluntarily remove a segment match from a ride so that it doesn't count, without affecting the rest of the segments. People could use this if they got a KOM in a group and didn't think that was fair or for some other purpose like bad data or a bad match. I know I've wished for that in the past. There are a few segments that are poorly constructed (they loop back on themselves) where I have the KOM as a result and I would like to remove myself without invalidating the rest of the ride. Also recently some a-hole flagged a ride of mine where I had a KOM on a dirt trail that paralleled the road (it's start and end points were on the road), which of course removes everything about the ride.

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  • Joe, yes it is sad if you derive your self-worth out of an internet riding pissing contest.

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  • Steve said: "Joe, yes it is sad if you derive your self-worth out of an internet riding pissing contest."

    Actually, I don't derive my self-worth from it. My self-worth, I derive from the fact that I know about a dozen programming languages, and that I know what a pre-multiplied alpha-key is, and I know ways to convert HDMI into SDI, or to de-interleave striped hard-drive arrays into a single drive. For me, self-worth comes from a completely different aspect of life. Standing on a podium in a yellow jersey isn't what I view myself as contributing to the world.

    However... if we're going to set aside "self-worth" and talk, instead, about "motivation"...  then, yes... Strava standings are one of the things I use to help me gauge if my training is having any effect. As far as arduous tasks (like fitness training) are concerned, I try to only engage in those which pay some dividend, so, yeah...  if Strava tells me that my cycling is not having much effect, then... yeah... I start to ask "What's the point"?

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  • Isn't that what PRs are for in Strava though Joe?  I understand wanting to do good on segments, but you can also compare your own performances to see if it's making a difference.  As I ride more I fall across more PRs and go up in the ranks on segments by proxy.

    If I got demotivated anytime I did bad on a segment I would have quit riding long ago.  I rarely ever look where I fall compared to others, I'm more concerned about my time vs my past rides.

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  • Steve, 125-149 is Strava's weight class and likely too broad. Sure someone could be 149 compared to someone 125 and be in the same weight class.  But the likelihood that a junior elite rider is on the heavy side of the class compared to a 45+ year old is beyond unrealistic.  Do you really think Marcus is close to 150lbs? (guy on right below and no, he isn't any bigger now than then)

    https://secure.flickr.com/photos/garrettlau/4856961859/in/photolist-8pccxH-ezASwF-ezE2N5-dx6Qgq-ddyjVc-bZj4QC-bZiNuj-bZiUe9-bZiWVG-bZiHQG-bZj6eW-bZjdry-bZj7n7-bZiADW-bZiFjW-bZjeVY-bZjaG7-bZj3nf-7uymQT-8iXQnR-5ox2fj-6bTnAJ-cegchq-34uUuj-evCJ6c-6yK2em-8oNfgT-6yEQfa-bZjesS-bZj1So-bZiLgC-bZjgPu-bZjiEj-bZiQBJ-bZj8Xf-bZiZif-bZiCuf-4vM3fR-4vR8tE-9GTcBJ-9MsSte-9wYk9u-9tffR9-dwLxwt-61a6Qd-b3nYn6-61a6PQ-4YVDif-aiYTAx-aiYTet-aiYTnX/

      He is tops 135.  There is a very low probability that Dan S. is lighter, so instead of focusing on the least likely event why not focus on what is most likely?.  That the more powerful, younger, lighter rider is slower over the 3.3 mile segment than lesser riders because he has no aero benefit from a group pushing his air. 

    In your example:

    http://www.strava.com/segments/685382 "I was off the front of a large group (not many people had Strava yet)"

    You rode with others one of whom only finished 5 seconds behind you. Of the 1.8 mile segment, you and Jon Slover rode together for 1.3 miles (the comparison tool shows this).  After that, you pulled away on the climb.  How can you claim it was totally solo?  You were solo for only .5 miles. 

    Your second example is a good one showing an individual effort after what appears to be a group ride.  But the leaderboard clearly indicates that your weren't with others.

    In my example

    http://app.strava.com/segments/866158

    16th place Marcus Smiths weighted average power for his full ride was 260w.  Dan S., in 6th was 181w.  Again, who is the stronger rider?

    Unfortunately I am back in 40th, but when I did that ride I was initially classified 5th.  24 riders are between me and Marcus and only one is solo.  The time gap over nearly 8 minutes of riding between Marcus and I - 6 seconds.  Since groupers finish in packs many can fill these very small gaps.  So am I 40th or 3rd?  I don't want to drill down through 2 or 3 pages of riders to find out where I stand with my fellow solo riders.

    My friend, who often rides solo, recently did a 27 mile loop in a small group and set his best time (3rd overall).  Afterwards he said "feels like cheating...".  Of course it isn't cheating, but it is a different type of ride.

    As a paying user of Strava I think it is reasonable to request them to add some simple clarity to performances.

    Certainly excluding people from leaderboards who ride in groups would be wrong, but including them with solo riders is also wrong.  There is no need for top down enforcement, just a user selectable edit of your ride (group or solo) that is filterable like any other characteristic.

    Bob- Veloviewer maximum scores depend on the competitiveness of the segments you do.  My max is 99.56.  My score is 99.09 from 100 of 497 segments.  Your max may be different. Generally the higher your max  reflects the number of other riders on your ridden segments.

     

     

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  • I can't believe I'm joining this debate again. The other day it was raining cats and dogs and only two other guys showed up for our shop ride. Two of us sat side by side with the other rider behind us. When we got to the only real climb of the day (3km at 8.5%) I took off solo about a kilometre in and set myself a new PR. I then went back down and rode the last half of the hill with the slowest member of our trio before sitting at the front the rest of the ride. So the question is, was my PR a solo or group time? Strava clearly shows that I was riding with someone, yet I know I gained no benefit from the other two. And yes, this isn't just academic because if the Solo table is just a table determined by people just arbitrarily choosing whether or not they were solo or not, will it mean anything at all?

    As far as I can tell this feature suggestion won't work because it'll either be auto set and therefore full of nonsense generated by people riding past other people on popular routes and by people riding with non-Strava users; or it will be a leaderboard that instead of showing the fastest ITT effort on a segment will actually show the fastest ITT on segment that someone decided to spend the effort going back and marking as an ITT. Either way the result will be meaningless nonsense. 

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  • Wow this one seems to causing some fierce debate so I will just add my view

    I have noticed group rides quite a lot recently, on some segments 5-6 of the top ten spots are all ridden as a group which Strava has tagged as group rides. The times are all within a few seconds of each other so I doubt these riders are stopping and riding the segments on there own.

    I think that as this information is already known it should be displayed in the leader board and a filter added. I also think it would be easer to have a Group KOM/QOM (GKOM or GQOM) maybe with three smaller crowns as an icon ;-). Leaving the KOM for solo efforts, then if you are that way inclined and fast enough you could win both. This would mean no one has the KOM/QOM taken away its just turns into different achievement.

    You could have a honesty flag where you could flag your ride as a group ride if Strava didn't work it out for itself or you ride with others who do not use Strava (stunned silence.. they do exist!) or vice versa when it flags you by mistake.

    Group rides and solo rides are different things that is why they have there own world titles one is call Time Trailing the other Road Racing, so lets mirror the real world and have the same in Strava.

     

     

     

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  • Totally agree that there needs to be something on the leaderboards that differentiates between group ride vs. solo ride.  It shouldn't be a box that each person checks either.  Strava should automatically calculate that info.  Say 3 people ride the same segment during the same time of the day, they all would go on the group ride side of the leaderboard.  My only issue that I have with this would be that I currently ride with 2 other guys.  We are all the same cycling fitness level and are all very competitive.  There are many segments in our area where we are not all drafting off of each other to get the KOM.  Like I said we sort of treat it like a mini race and race each other side by side to the finish.  We do these sorts of segments a lot on our local rail trail.  We make it a general rule that you CANNOT draft each other.  I wouldn't want those segments being categorized as a group ride...because they were not.  How would Strava make sure that this doesn't happen...Just a thought...Thanks for reading..

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  • We banter like Strava is actually listening.

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  • "We banter like Strava is actually listening."

    Exactly! Even though they might be listening, I doubt they'd touch this with a 10-foot pole. There are enough people who are vehemently opposed to it, that I doubt Strava would risk alienating them. Their mental calculus of it is probably: "If we did this, then there's no reason to expect we'd *gain* any new users to offset the ones who are going to leave in protest".

    The issue is far too divisive to expect Strava to take a stand.

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  • Definitly a good idea... if more than one person uploads the ride to Strava, could Strava do the differentiation between solo and group rides automatically? Otherwise I imagine there might be some unscrupulous users who would hide the fact that they've ridden in a group by selecting the solo option.... 

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  • I think the general consensus is to not have Strava auto-detect group segment attempts and to just trust each user to be honest, for the following reasons:

    • Strava's ride-matching algorithm is lousy. If you ride some loop, and another guy rides about a minute behind you, on just a part of your loop, Strava thinks you two rode together.
    • You can ride in a pack yet you could attempt a segment when at the front (ie, without ever benefiting from drafting).
    • If a user is unscrupulous, there are many more ways to cheat (drafting off a car... or getting into a car... tweaking your ride data with DigitalEpo... ), so denying them the ability to self-edit their group/solo status isn't stopping them from messing up the data.

    In the end, what it really comes down to isn't "Were you in a group or not?"... it's "Did you benefit from drafting?"... and only the individual rider knows that.

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  • Joe- very true, If Strava implemented top down classification of group/solo through their auto detect system, there would likely be many upset riders.  I think your statement about only the individual rider knows if he benefited is not quite right.  If I am in a group taking turns pulling then I know for certain that those around me benefited.  The only case where this would not be true is the rider in the group who always leads and doesn't let others take turns.  This is very uncommon. Group riders are far more likely to benefit from some draft than solo riders.  Although many group riders like to think that they did not benefit from the group, they invariably did.  How many riders actually lead the group ride from start to end?   Average wattage on group rides is always lower than the same ride solo, given equal speed.  Group rides = free speed.

    But the idea that group riders would object to classifying  their rides as group or solo, by filterable check box, dumbfounds me.   Another illustration of how ridiculous leaderboards are becoming is this segment, often rode in groups.  The "bakery ride" is a common ride for both groups and solo and many cat2/3/4 participate.  But try to find the best solo effort? 

    http://app.strava.com/segments/775754

    The leaderboard looks exactly like a typical team time trial leaderboard, with competitors separated by 1 second as they are all grouped together.   I guess some people don't see a problem with this leaderboard, but what meaning does it have if everyone is in drafts of differing sizes (rider count)?

    You may notice some riders name their ride "Bakery" indicating the popular group ride.  It seems most people are honest.  The argument that the simple feature shouldn't be implemented because there are group riders that will lie is weak.  Why would you choose not to be honest because others may cheat and get ahead?  There are always cheaters and liars, but at some point you have to go with the majority who are honest instead of focusing on the negative minority.

    I don't think Strava has followed this conversation for a long time, but everyone's opinion here is worth reading.  Maybe they will tune in sometime.

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  • Guys...

    This thread has been going on for far too long.  Please, get out and RIDE, and use Strava's segment system to show YOU how much YOU have improved over the past year.

    If you want to use the leaderboards to get some idea of where your time fits in compared to your age group, or your weight, of your club - then fine.

    Enough people have explained how there are so many variables in a ride, solo/group is just one of them.  If you've ridden a segment and you're 400th out of 450, then you know you've got some training to do...

    Simples.

    imho, it would be far better for Strava to show me a graph of my own times over the last year or two - so that I can see how I've improved, or not.  I try to provide meaningful titles and detailed comments if conditions were windy, or I was riding solo or in a group.   Look at the vast majority of people who ride a sportive, for instance, and the title is just the date. Useless.

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  • ok George, but you've got to admit that it can be disheartening when you've worked hard in a segment, eventually pinched the KOM, then some day some twatwaffle takes the KOM from you just because he was in the middle of a bunch...

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  • No, not really.

    The KOM is a simple leaderboard of Strava times. I know that there's loads of people who are much faster than me, but who don't upload to Strava.

    Anyway, KOMs on *real hills* aren't really affected by group or solo. It's only flat segments that are - and, by definition, they cannot be *mountains"

    Treat Strava KOMs as a bit of fun. Because it's nothing more than that.  It happens that Strava is very good at recording your own performance - and that's what is most important. If you value your training.

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