Lifelong worshipper of road cycling. Now dabbling elsewhere with lots of enthusiasm & mixed success.
The Scourge of Selfies
June 10, 2013
- Dear Strava –
I’m too cheap to pay for a Premium subscription, but I’ll offer you a handsome sum to intern with you. I feel like I have a lot to offer the company. Although this season has been a weak sequel to 2012 for me in terms of fitness, I feel more keenly connected to Strava than ever before. During the bonus time I’ve gotten with every climb this year my mind has gone electric with ways to make your site more awesome. Consider these suggestions my intern application –
1. Rip off the Yahoo Weather/Flickr integration. I’m one of a bazillion people who dig how Yahoo put a beating on the Weather Channel by mating reasonably detailed forecasts with gorgeous photos. Why not do the same with the desktop Strava experience? Would anything be better than seeing a ride come to life with ride segments paired with random, beautiful photos of the places we rode? Don’t more and more cameras geo-locate their photos? The key, of course, is working with Flickr (or Instagram or whomever) to suppress wedding photos and the scourge of selfies.
2. Speaking of weather… Perhaps as many races have been won and lost due to wind as climbs. But Strava is speed-and-altitude focused, while completely disregarding the devious impact of the wind. To what extent does NOAA or the FAA or somebody else archive the granular nitty-gritty of wind directions and speeds? Strava, can’t you integrate this data? When I drop out of the top-10 on a segment because I didn’t get the bonus of a 25mph tailwind, it makes Strava seem dubious as a comparative tool.
Weather, Strava. Don’t disregard the soul-sucking forces of nature…
“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our teeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurour and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
While Strava allows users to hide segments, the function is difficult to find and it doesn’t achieve the higher good of giving added weight to the segments that most deserve recognition . Here’s my suggestion: Next to every segment on every ride remove the mouseover “Hide” button, and instead put small, permanent Like and Dislike buttons. This will allow democracy to prevail. Users could vote up or down the value and relevancy of any given segment. Give each rider one vote per segment per ride. Give power to the people!
Once a week it happens. I awake in a terror, mummified in sweat-sodden sheets. One of life’s great existential questions haunts me: What in the hell were you thinking when you went on Oprah? What in the world is this banter between you and JV on Twitter? Is anyone buying into the new cuddly, approachable Lance?
Mine was an all-boys Catholic high school. Marine JROTC. State championship-caliber football. Clergy. Neckties. The most memorable piece of advice came from the cigar-chomping Monsignor who ran the place, and was given to my 12th grade English class 30-strong:
If, by chance, you happen to cheat on your wife later in life, do not confess to her to make yourself feel better. It never works as intended.
I never lacked for father figures. In the 12th grade I watched “The Great Santini.” There was fatherly advice everywhere I looked. Its universal theme went something like this: The older you get, what you want matters less and less.
I’ve gotten advice, but I’m not giving it. Instead, Lance, an observation: Finding redemption through the world of bikes seems like a dead end for you. I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again: Bail on Lance-as-cyclist. Bail on Lance-as-bike-celebrity. Commit to a new direction altogether.
You are driven. You have a track record for success. Take that tenacity and apply it elsewhere. Cancer savior? Maybe that should be it. Take inspiration from the amazing path of your onetime domestique, Dylan Casey. He repurposed his PRO drive in Silicon Valley and he’s prepping to bust through Lance Rich to become L’il Wayne Rich. Yes, Lance, there can be an Act II.
Another example comes in the form of a domestic pro you possibly raced against back in your salad days with Subaru-Montgomery. Bobby Stuckey slaved on the Shaklee team for awhile before bailing on the bike to get serious about food and wine. He opened up Pearl Street’s, Boulder’s, Colorado’s, the Mountain Time Zone’s best restaurant, Frasca. And his food career fully eclipsed his pro bike racer career with his recent James Beard Award. And, damn, Bobby dresses like every day is a GQ cover shoot. Lance, you can find meaning, create happiness, and look damn good doing it far, far away from your bike and your Nikes.