untitled-2Cyclists are competitive by nature and Strava added fuel to the fire in a big way. For those who don’t know what Strava is, don’t let anybody ever find out you didn’t know. But here is the rundown, Strava is the Swedish word for “strive” and is a social network of runners and cyclists to compete virtually, on any road anywhere in the world. Consider Strava a digital overlay to your physical workout. 

Cyclists can race each other on GPS marked segments, upload their rides to the Strava site and compare times and speed. The great part is that you don’t have to ride together to get recognition as your buddies can give you kudos on the Strava site and via the mobile app. Even better, when you are the fastest over a specific segment, you get the coveted King of the Mountain crown, also earning you the title of alpha male or female among your group of friends. The thing is, knowing where all these Strava segments are, can be quite an effort. Fortunately, the latest series of Garmin Edge devices comes with Strava Live Segments, a feature that will alert you of nearby Strava Srava Segments as you ride. The current list of Edge compatible devices include the Edge 510, 520, 810, 820 and 1000. At the time of publishing this article, the Forerunner 735XT is the only wearable device that offers Strava Live support. Now you can chase those KOMs with surgical precision.

Sound great right? Here’s how you set it up.
For starters, you’ll need to be a Strava Premium member, which comes at a monthly fee of R115 per month. Sadly the free version does not allow Strava Live. But for the price of a pizza per month, you’ll also get other features like customised training plans that are great to get you race fit. 

You’ll also need to have your Garmin account connected to Strava. You can do that with one click on “social connections” in your Garmin Connect account. Simply select the Segments menu item and select Strava segments.  

Once you are a Strava member, you can lie on your couch and star all the sections you want chase. Then you sync your Edge with your Garmin account and all your segments will be waiting for you on your device when you ride. Your goals will also show up and Strava will identify some of the most popular segments in your area and load them as defaults. For instance, if you live in Cape Town, “Suikerbossie” will be there, courtesy of “The Argus”. You can just delete them if you don’t like them. 

strava-segment

Strava live segments will bring out the competitor in you…guarenteed.

How does it work?
As you approach a segment, your Edge will alert you and give you a countdown in terms of distance to when the segment starts. The start of the segment will be indicated with a very big and bold GO on your screen, while your screen switches to a map of the segment. The tracking starts automatically. You don not press anything to start the process. Getting that countdown allows you to get up to speed, fire up the adrenaline and then it is all about gauging your pace to achieve your goal. As you ride, the remaining distance of the segment gets displayed, plus how far ahead or behind you are in relation to your own PB, the KOM or your fastest Strava buddy. When you finish the segment, you will be informed whether you beat any of these rivals, including your personal best time.

520

The Garmin Edge 520 is one of the models with built-in Strava segments.

What if you want to do a chilled ride without Strava segment alerts?
There are two ways of handling this. Simply go to segments on your device and choose “disable all”, or allow the alerts, but select not to do them by canceling them as they come up. You get that option. If you started chasing a segment, you can also opt out of it mid-ride by canceling the segment. It spares you the display of demoralizing stats at the end of the segment. After all, the legs can’t be up to it all the time.

It’s all about the segments
Coaches want their athletes to “hit the numbers” – like breaking that magical 300 watts average FTP(functional threshold power) test, or staying in a heart rate zone for a given time. The lab rat effect of that approach has a very low fun factor. Chasing Strava segments can be as effective for interval training with a much higher fun factor. It happens in real life, you can vary your segments all the time, and as mentioned, you get kudos from buddies for being out there. With your Garmin Edge pointing out the Strava segments with precision, you can chase long segments, short segments, hilly stuff, whatever kind of segment that would add value or fun to your cycling. – (c) 2016 NavWorld

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