This is something you hear all the time. There’s a lot of people out there that will tell you they only cycle for fun, or they’re just trying to get a bit fitter. They’re lying. As soon as they pull on their lycra or favourite jogging bottoms strap on that helmet and their arse touches the saddle that’s it. Competition time…….
In fairness, it’s not necessarily a conscious effort, and without modern Tech, this might not be the case, but with a smartwatch, or smartphone to hand the game is on. Whether you’re trying to improve you’re heart-rate recovery time, or shave a couple of seconds from your favourite segment you’re in competition mode from the off. Just this Saturday, I rode a path I’d not done before at a fairly leisurely pace, just enjoying the ride. Strava informs me that this is actually a segment, and I’m currently the 643rd fasted person to complete it (67th if I filter my age group). So now, I feel like I have to ride that route again, and ride it harder, just to increase my rankings.
Ironically, (or amazingly) the top 50 or so riders on this short stretch are all clocking speeds of 34mph plus to complete it in less than 1 minute. On an intellectual level (and a Mountain bike with knobbly tyres) I know that I’m not now (or ever) likely to peak at that speed let alone maintain it, yet still I feel compelled to at least give it a go. It wouldn’t be so bad if this segment led from or to anywhere particularly worthwhile, but alas, it’s just a path around the back of an industrial estate incorporating a half mile stretch of Canvey Island’s ‘road to no-where’ (yes, that is actually a thing).
Don’t even get me started on FitBit data, I’m currently enjoying a personal battle with my resting heart-rate. I know it’s not just me, which is why these apps, and hardware are all in such demand, no-one is competitive, in the same way that children never show off in front of their peers…………….