January 5, 2018
We live in a world obsessed by data. We want to measure everything. How many likes did I get on my latest Instagram picture? how many steps did I take today? How many calories did I burn? In cycling, this obsession has a name and it’s Strava. We all know it: if it’s not on Strava, it did not happen…
I love Strava. It allows me to keep track of what I’m doing. It helps me kick my ass to get better and improve that PR. And with a year that has just come to an end, everyone is sharing a nifty video that shows how many days you were active in 2017, how many kilometers you rode, what was your longest ride and many other metrics. It’s a giant contest, a variation of the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ theme that is running our society.
So what does Strava have to say about my 2017 cycling year?
- I rode just short of 10’000km, 9’689 to be precise. If I had not been lazy on a few occasions and stayed home to drink coffee instead of getting out on my bike, I would have hit the magical 10K. And I would be bragging about it.
- I climbed 170’000m. If you live in Holland or Florida you must be jealous but this is not quite like the 196’000m I did in 2015, the year I rode the Transcontinental Race.
- I’m getting older and I lose more KOMs than I take these days. Oh well.
Looking at this data, it would be easy to conclude that it was an average year for me. But no. It felt like a badass year, and I’m super stoked about it. Why? I went to many, many cool places. And does Strava fail to capture this badasseness? Not if you look a bit further and check this nerdy website that uses Strava data to create a map showing where you rode in a given period of time.
If I look at where I have ridden in Switzerland in 2017, I see that I have been to 22 of the 26 cantons of the country. Yes, Switzerland is tiny and has 26 provinces… I only missed Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Zug and Basel Stadt. That’s more than I have ever ridden my homeland before, and it makes me happy.
Here are some highlights:
- taking old and new friends on my home roads of the Alpes Vaudoises. They each documented their ride in their own style: Dan Patitucci with pictures, Mike Cotty with a video and Mike Blewitt with an article in a magazine. How cool is that?
- two bikepacking trips across the north of the country to check the routes of trips for Grand Tours Project. In March from Zurich to Luzern and in July from the Bodensee to Lausanne. Switzerland is not just about the mountains, the lower parts of the country are covered with a tight network of quiet farm roads that are fun to ride.
- 17 days on the road between July and October with my friend Luca to shoot pictures for Switzerland Tourism. Expect more stories on this project here and on ALPSinsight soon.
- supporting Grand Tours Project guests on the best climbs in Switzerland: Grosse Scheidegg, Tremola, Albula, Sanetsch, Grimsel… A year where I climbed the Grosse Scheidegg and the Tremola twice can’t be a bad year.
Data is great, but it’s only useful if it relates to a purpose. When checking your Strava stats, think of which ones are meaningful for you. Don’t just count the kilometers… It’s all about the experiences you have on your bike. Because experiences are what makes us happy.
Have a badass 2018
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My Strava is bigger than yours06/01/2018
2016: Rediscovering Switzerland01/01/2017