Silly Small Strava Segments

by bikeboy76   August 26, 2014  

So I have been Striving for a couple of weeks now. Not every single commute but a couple in the morning and if I took the long way home and at weekends. I have found it very useful to record the elevation gained on these routes. However I have found the proliferation of segments bewildering and sometimes just plain odd. After repeating a few routes I started to get PB updates on dozens and dozens of segments.

The other day I did a very familiar evening training route of 37km from Manchester out to Dunham Massey, all roads that I know and get good pace along but are rather suburban As and Bs. I find that I have gone through many, many segments ranging from 200m to 3.5km but mainly not more than 1.2km. Every single one of these has some sprint time 49kph as KoM. Not only am I not aware of these as I pass by, sprinting for them if I knew they were there would just disrupt my rhythm. Later I start to wonder why people make such small segments; is it just to grab themselves a KoM on their local roads, and what is the point if you are the only one going out sprint along there?

One of these sprints is particularly irksome, it is 200m and the KoM is 83kph; that is faster than Cav. I wonder if this is the sort of thing that should be flagged to ‘clean up’ Strava or should I just ignore it?

As I am more interested in how I faired over longer distances I tries creating some segments of my own. I started with my morning commute. I was aware that I couldn’t go door to door as this would just create an impossible segment I just took the main roads which were 7.3km. I was happy to see I had ‘given’ myself a KoM; but I quickly found out that Strava backfills the route and I dropped to 8/21. I actually think that is a good thing, though I wondered why someone hadn’t created a similar route before.

I had another go and used some of my training routes. I made a 15.6km segment which I was 11/37 (chuffed that other people were using it and I had a reasonable position) and a 4.8km which was 55/921 (very good, though again no top 10.) What was VERY interesting is that this weekend 3 guys have done my longer segment 15.6km down the Alderley Edge bypass and A64 and done it on the same day within 8 seconds of each other, two in the exact same time. This looks suspiciously like they have seen my new segment and set off together to do it. They pushed me down of course. I am glad to be inspiring riders (careful on those roundabouts fellas.)

I guess my long segments will give me something to push for though I may never get KoMs. In summary; why don’t more people make longer segments? I vow never to make a segment under 1km.

17 user comments

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"why don’t more people make longer segments?"
Because there are no restrictions, it's not curated or moderated and where there is no real community responsibility, people will do whatever they want with user generated content. In other words: tough, get over it.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [854 posts]
26th August 2014 - 17:07

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I know what you mean here fella. Somebody round here where I live near Leeds as created a segment that's 15m long, pan flat and named Chinese to Speed camera. What is the Point?? Segments are meant to be challenging, so I was lead to believe?
There's another pointless segment on the famous Holme Moss climb, Its something like Pub up to the Snow??? what about when its SUMMER??
A friend of mine and Myself have called for a Sxxt Segment Amnesty many times but nobody is listening because they want their unchallenging pan flat 15m segments so that they can achieve their phony KoM's.
I say grow some balls and legs and get out and try to just achieve the challenging longer Segments. Otherwise there's no point, stay at home on your turbo.

Joel.

Joel876's picture

posted by Joel876 [2 posts]
26th August 2014 - 17:52

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First up, you can hide sections in Strava, so if you don't like a section simply hit hide against the segment in the segment list for a ride and you won't see it again for any rides in the future (that's on the web version, not sure about the app).

I guess a lot of the shorter sections are sprints that people do regularly on their own or on club training rides, so they may not make a lot of sense viewed outside the context of the full ride.

I like the shorter sections though (although not silly short obviously), if you know there's a sprint section coming it gives you a bit of motivation to pick up the pace again.

And yes, if you create a long and very specific route there are definitely people who will target it as an easy KoM, the fact that it's so specific makes it an easy scalp for those who are that way inclined!

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posted by tom_w [104 posts]
26th August 2014 - 18:16

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On the subject of silly segments I want to know how a dead pan flat segment is a cat 4 segment on strava? Or someone managed to nibble it, it isn't even dangerous unless your not paying attention.

[URL=http://veloviewer.com/athlete/3303236/][/URL

posted by Nat Jas Moe [33 posts]
26th August 2014 - 19:24

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Not seen any silly short segments, but have seen a few that IMO are dangerous, there's one on my commute that is on an narrow gravel footpath with high fences on both sides and has a few blind corners. To encourage someone to do that stretch at speed is foolish, especially as I have passed families with pushchairs walking along there, the only way to do it safely would be to have someone sat at every corner to let the rider know the way ahead is safe, which I seriously doubt is how the KoM was recorded.

posted by dazwan [54 posts]
26th August 2014 - 23:16

1 Like

The short segments are probably often attempts at engineering KOMs to exploit GPS glitches that resulted in silly speeds, much like the 200m 87km/h example you cite.

Some people really are that sad. Personally I'd be happy if Strava dropped the custom segments entirely, and relied solely on the automatic 'in-house' ones, such as the official hill climb segments Strava auto-generates.

posted by giobox [302 posts]
27th August 2014 - 1:04

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Except that the auto-generated segments often arise when one person's GPS registers an altitude glitch and Strava thinks it's a climb when it isn't. Thus a silly short flat segment called "B1234 climb" or "Ivy Close Climb" is generated, and sometimes even categorised. They're really annoying and I've even seem some daft KOM battles erupt for a couple local to me.

posted by Bhachgen [92 posts]
27th August 2014 - 10:50

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dazwan wrote:
Not seen any silly short segments, but have seen a few that IMO are dangerous, there's one on my commute that is on an narrow gravel footpath with high fences on both sides and has a few blind corners. To encourage someone to do that stretch at speed is foolish, especially as I have passed families with pushchairs walking along there, the only way to do it safely would be to have someone sat at every corner to let the rider know the way ahead is safe, which I seriously doubt is how the KoM was recorded.

You can flag segments as dangerous if you have ridden them yourself.

Personally I quite like segments that are pretty short - about 1minute, as that's a duration that I can put out quite a decent power relative to other riders I know. Yes, GPS errors will have an impact, but it's just a bit of fun! Smile

DaveE128's picture

posted by DaveE128 [69 posts]
27th August 2014 - 11:33

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I've been told that GPS errors are around +/- 2 seconds between points, which obviously makes a short segment an absolute nonsense - if a segment takes 20 seconds and there's a 4 second error potential, what's the purpose? Obviously it doesn't stop me going for them, because I am an idiot and I like sprinting.

posted by bashthebox [646 posts]
27th August 2014 - 12:16

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giobox wrote:
Some people really are that sad.

Unfortunately, this. A few recent Strava-related threads on here have been something of an eye-opener as to how seriously some people take it, such that every ride becomes some virtual time trial.

The thing that frustrates me is when you get several segments over the same climb, just with subtly different start or finish points. What's the point? I can only assume they're deliberately created by segment whores to enable them to claim multiple KOMs together rather than just one, but it would seem something of a hollow "victory" to me.

posted by parksey [258 posts]
27th August 2014 - 14:17

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parksey wrote:
The thing that frustrates me is when you get several segments over the same climb, just with subtly different start or finish points. What's the point? I can only assume they're deliberately created by segment whores to enable them to claim multiple KOMs together rather than just one, but it would seem something of a hollow "victory" to me.

This... this drives me nuts. Although should you go up one of these climbs fastest, you end up with loads of KOM's not just one!

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [303 posts]
27th August 2014 - 15:32

1 Like

Nat Jas Moe wrote:
On the subject of silly segments I want to know how a dead pan flat segment is a cat 4 segment on strava? Or someone managed to nibble it, it isn't even dangerous unless your not paying attention.

I've seen a couple of these recently, one near Ypres and one near Weaverham (Cheshire). I imagine the originators of the segments attached their Garmin to a kite.

Crosshouses's picture

posted by Crosshouses [201 posts]
27th August 2014 - 17:19

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Crosshouses wrote:
Nat Jas Moe wrote:
On the subject of silly segments I want to know how a dead pan flat segment is a cat 4 segment on strava? Or someone managed to nibble it, it isn't even dangerous unless your not paying attention.

I've seen a couple of these recently, one near Ypres and one near Weaverham (Cheshire). I imagine the originators of the segments attached their Garmin to a kite.

The most likely cause is bad GPS data from a smart phone rather than a Garmin. I have seen an iphone give a 3000ft elevation difference for the same ride recorded on an Edge 500.

I can't see how Strava would eradicate these segments, apart from only letting rides logged with GPS devices be used for segment creation. But the horse has bolted now as there are so many dodgy segments out there.

posted by Martyn_K [44 posts]
27th August 2014 - 17:48

3 Likes

I don't see why a sprint is not challenging? Surely there is room for sprinters as well as climbers, even the pro tour makes room for both

HMCC

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posted by Beefy [119 posts]
27th August 2014 - 22:44

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It's sad to say, but I'm becoming more and more obsessed with Strava after learning about all this segment business (prior to this I had never used Strava as I already used other trackers).

I don't go out of my way to beat segments, but it's nice to see how I stack up against others and to get a PB on a segment is good. Then there's the challenges, even though I don't have the cash for the limited edition kit, my aim is to work up to at least being able to get the monthly challenge badges.

posted by dazwan [54 posts]
27th August 2014 - 22:47

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I have now hidden the offending segment (thanks Tom) though it is still there. Seems like a lot of you think there should be a clean up.



Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1341 posts]
27th August 2014 - 22:47

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bikeboy76 wrote:
I have now hidden the offending segment (thanks Tom) though it is still there. Seems like a lot of you think there should be a clean up.

Ok a couple of questions: how could a clean up be accomplished? How much would you be prepared to pay for it? I think you have to recognise strava for what it is and accept its limitations - and also consider that is probably not going to get better over time without some kind of radical change.

The deal you make with strava is that in return for the free service it provides to users, a proportion of those users will actively generate content (segments) for the service and everyone who rides them contributes more passively to the body of data that lends the service it's 'weight' or credibility. Strava then uses all this content and data and combines it with some extra features to sell subscriptions, which along with the merchandise and sponsored challenges is presumably where it makes it's money from - if indeed it makes any money. I'd hazard a guess that less than 1 in 10 users subscribe.

So what you're getting is something that, at the moment, is just about good enough for people to go on creating free content for strava to sell. However it's unlikely to be cost effective for them to do any more rigorous quality control over the data than they do now, and beyond adding some more filtering options or a rating system, probably not much they can do to make any informed decisions about whether a segment is good or bad.

The service is probably at its peak right now but it will be interesting to see how they go forward from here, whether they need to start charging more people for levels of access, or restrict content creation rights and what that might do to the user base. I enjoy using it but i wouldn't pay for it and the world would not end if they dropped free access.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [854 posts]
28th August 2014 - 0:14

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