What’s in a Name?

Let me talk about Strava.  So for those who aren’t in the know, Strava is like Facebook, but for runners and cyclists.  You can record a ride or run on your GPS thing-a-me bob, smart phones or other gizmo, then when you get home upload your efforts and share your sufferring with a certain sense of smugness over everyone else who hasn’t suffered as much as you have.  This lasts until someone uploads a bigger faster ride and your efforts are swept under the proverbial carpet.  All of this is then shared on Facebook anyway.

The rather neat feature of Strava is that certain sections of road e.g. a particular climb or fast flat section are isolated as a ‘Strava Segments’, each segment has it’s own league table for everyone who rides it and these segments are created by us the people riding them.  Your time/speed/suffering are calculated for this segment and you can see how you fair against other athletes.  You get recognition for being the fastest (King (or Queen) of the Mountain) plus it compares you effort to past efforts giving you a nod for personal bests.  There’s even a ‘Suffer Score’ that tells you how much suffering you have endured, although it’s beyond me why you need a computer to tell you how hard that ride you just did was! Besides living in the mountains as I do, it seems I’ve only to ride to the shops for a paper and I acquire a suffer score of ‘EPIC’ anyway! But it’s all a bit of fun and encourages you to get out and ride and put a bit of effort in, unless you’re the sort of person who is easily intimidated by the efforts of others in which case you throw your bike away and go down the pub or eat a pie or both.

D32 Decent...or...Satan's Switchbacks? I know what I'd rather ride down.

D32 Decent…or…Satan’s Switchbacks? I know what I’d rather ride down.

It’s not just road cyclists, mountain bikers can play too.  As a man who occasionally strays to the ‘muddy side of the force’ here’s where I need to draw a comparison between Roadies and MTB’ers.  You see when you decide on a section of road or trail that you intend to use to create your segment, you define the start and end points and then you get to choose a name. Well I’m sorry but Roadies are picking the most dull names, so dull that I almost want to hang up my tyres and take up knitting.  UK side there’s the ever exciting ‘New Road’, the hair raising ‘A286 Decent’ and who can forget the…erm…err….no it’s gone!  They don’t get any better out here in the French Alps with the terrifying ‘Montriond Hill’, the exhausting ‘D328 Climb’ and it was about this time I fell asleep into my keyboard!  By contrast the Mountain bike trails get names like ‘Dead Mans Rise’, ‘Pile Driver’, ‘Corkscrew’ and ‘Crab Tree Dash’.  Now come on, what sounds more exciting?

Guys…If you came home after a days cycling with talk about your sprint with Lanky Pete along ‘New Road’ or that bit where Barry nearly beat you to the top of the ‘D328 Climb’ then your beloved is likely to suffer an immediate heart failiure.  But regale them with tales of you terrifying descent down the ‘Corkscrew’ and how you fought you way up ‘Dead Mans Rise’ and…well, okay they may still suffer a wee bout of narcolepsy but at least you won’t be reaching for the defibrillator.  So come on Roadies, let’s get a bit more creative with our naming conventions, I’d much rather be riding up the ‘Leg Smasher’, fighting for air on the ‘Exploding Lung’ or descending down ’21 Bends to Hell’…just some ideas.

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