Question(ing) - Strava Segment Leaderboards

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12/9/2019 2:43 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/9/2019 2:44 PM

Just curious but has anyone noticed the top of some Strava segment leaderboards boasting times that seem physically impossible? I clocked a personal best on a segment today of 2:05. Not blazing by pro standards but fast for me. The top of that board is :45 and I can't see any way that could be achieved. Not meaning to be a sore loser, but something seems awry.

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12/9/2019 4:05 PM

I've learned you can't take Strava seriously. I've seen climbs taken on e-bikes or in cars. There is also a local fast masters racer that uploaded his rides to his wife's account. She took all the ladies QOMs with his data. These incidents were all reported to Strava but nothing was done about it.

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12/9/2019 4:51 PM

Reagan Jones wrote:

Just curious but has anyone noticed the top of some Strava segment leaderboards boasting times that seem physically impossible? I clocked a personal best on a segment today of 2:05. Not blazing by pro standards but fast for me. The top of that board is :45 and I can't see any way that could be achieved. Not meaning to be a sore loser, but something seems awry.

There's plenty of opportunity to cut across trail and not have Strava GPS these movements. Just pace yourself and the AADD Sufferers on Strava will reveal themselves.

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12/10/2019 5:32 AM

where I live in Pennsylvania, we often do not have the best GPS reception. There is a short and very steep DH segment (60% grade) down a ridgeline that takes most people 30-45 seconds. One day someone showed up with an 18 second. if someone like that shows up on your strata feed, click on their activity and see how accurate their GPS file is. In my case, said person had a very spotty GPS signal and had many straight lines on his ride where the only way to go is around switchbacks and tight turns.
Moral of the story, Dont take it too seriously, and find your segment to defend!
Happy Trails!
-Matt

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Snoopin around lookin for the best trails and sketchiest lines

12/10/2019 5:59 AM

Broken_spoke.photo wrote:

where I live in Pennsylvania, we often do not have the best GPS reception. There is a short and very steep DH segment (60% grade) down a ridgeline that takes most people 30-45 seconds. One day someone showed up with an 18 second. if someone like that shows up on your strata feed, click on their activity and see how accurate their GPS file is. In my case, said person had a very spotty GPS signal and had many straight lines on his ride where the only way to go is around switchbacks and tight turns.
Moral of the story, Dont take it too seriously, and find your segment to defend!
Happy Trails!
-Matt

This brings up another issue with Strava, GPS accuracy. I've seen different riders finish a road climb with relatively close times yet Strava reports a large time gap. Usually the difference will be in a rider using a dedicated bike computer like a Garmin vs another using an app on their phone. Generally I've seen phones will report a faster time in a segment. So to repeat what has been said, don't take Strava too seriously. Use it more to gauge your performance and your fitness gains rather than compare yourself to others.

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12/10/2019 6:48 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/10/2019 6:54 AM

There are several apps/web/ that gather your friend's times and you can do a small contest between each other, much more fun than trying to beat other flawed gps rides/ebikes/etc. Most of the trails around here are full of impossible KOMs to beat because of that, I flag them every now and then but it's kinda frustrating - it's an impossible task. So my best bet is to keep it to your mates.

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12/10/2019 7:16 AM

hey I appreciate all the feedback here, thank you. I agree... better to use Strava to gauge my own progress than against phantoms on a leaderboard.

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12/10/2019 10:13 AM

t-stoff wrote:

There are several apps/web/ that gather your friend's times and you can do a small contest between each other, much more fun than trying to beat other flawed gps rides/ebikes/etc. Most of the trails around here are full of impossible KOMs to beat because of that, I flag them every now and then but it's kinda frustrating - it's an impossible task. So my best bet is to keep it to your mates.

Do you have any links to any working apps/websites that do that? I was using Mates Race before but that stopped working with an API update last year and I haven't found anything else since.

OP - Most of the DH segments on the trails I ride regularly are under a minute long due to how flat it is around here. GPS glitches play a large part in who is at the top of the leader board as well as what devices people are using. I often ride with a buddy who uses Strava on his phone (I use a Garmin) and while I consistently finish trails/segments a few seconds faster than he does (which I know because we ride the trail at the same time), he often records times that are the same as mine. We're pretty anal about starting early enough and riding far enough out the end of segments to know that we're not stopping within them too. A few local riders have even done side by side tests using GPS devices and phones at the same time and the phones consistently came out as registering faster times during the ride.

As long as I'm somewhere near where I think I should be on the DH segments I'm usually happy but otherwise I don't put too much weight behind the shorter segment leader boards. When an odd, super fast time on a shorter segment is registered by someone who is nowhere near the top of any other segments in the area you can generally discount it as a GPS glitch.

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12/10/2019 10:27 AM

Agree, there's a fast steep long switch back that takes about 15 seconds near my place. The top 10 are all 5-7 seconds because of the above reasons.

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12/10/2019 10:29 AM

Ohhhhhh, right! I'm sorry I completely forgot that Strava killed it and the last cup we we're using a separate strava club/group and register with an excel spreadsheet by sorting each segment with the club's name.

RANT ON: Strava is a superb piece of social/media sports tracker, with minimal advertisement, the free account is hard to point a finger. But (there's always a but) it sucks in delivering small and simple stuff to the users (there are a ridiculous number of complains that are simply ignored), and kills apps that give users what strava fails to do; (Relive, Mates Race, etc)

And yes I'm with you, some of my friends did ridiculous times with phones and some dodgy gps devices (one even registered a downhill as an uphill!).

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12/11/2019 11:37 AM

I have the same problem. I'm not trying to be KOM of any segment, but I often find that my fastest time in a relatively short segment is way behind. Either there are some super-human people who can pedal their bikes to 60MPH, or there have been inaccuracies.
I've also had my phone record a strange GPS inaccuracy that indicated I rode in a straight line to a city 30 miles away and straight back within 3 minutes. That really helped my average speed, let me tell you!
Overall, like others have said I really only use Strava to record my total mileage for the year and to track my improvement, rather than gauge my speed against other riders.

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12/11/2019 3:50 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/11/2019 3:52 PM

When you create a new segment in Strava, it recommends that you not create segments shorter than a minute. The GPS data is accurate enough to give a good time estimate for longer times and distances, but below a minute and it's not accurate. I notice that almost all the complaints in this thread are for segments under a minute, so maybe the Strava people are right.

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12/11/2019 6:33 PM

TEAMROBOT wrote:

When you create a new segment in Strava, it recommends that you not create segments shorter than a minute. The GPS data is accurate enough to give a good time estimate for longer times and distances, but below a minute and it's not accurate. I notice that almost all the complaints in this thread are for segments under a minute, so maybe the Strava people are right.

Whaat? YOU read the Fine Print?

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12/12/2019 4:36 AM

TEAMROBOT wrote:

When you create a new segment in Strava, it recommends that you not create segments shorter than a minute. The GPS data is accurate enough to give a good time estimate for longer times and distances, but below a minute and it's not accurate. I notice that almost all the complaints in this thread are for segments under a minute, so maybe the Strava people are right.

Strava kicks out segments having length below minimums; time is irrelevant. Garmin has had a standing upload issue, a problem to be corrected from their end. Cutting out sections of trail can and will retain GPS plotting for that nano-second KOM/QOM Glory, everything becoming a racetrack. Self Control and the lack thereof.
Strava as self-improvement, pacing your own training is key. Your wife in the Durango leading you out on your Road Bike, skipping switchbacks on the Trails, packing heads into a pervy a-perfect Tesla Van and, calling it a group ride up the mountain road all are not.

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