Every so often I stumble on a Strava activity like the screenshot above, and by stumble on, I really mean someone I know puts it out there in a “WHOA! LOOK AT WHAT THIS PERSON DID!” kinda way. I get it, that’s part of Strava’s function; to get recognition for the cool fitness related stuff that we do. I also understand that like every other social media platforms, truth only gets in the way of a good story. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, agree with it, or pretend it’s not fake.
Just in case it’s not obvious what’s going there, and why I’m climbing this hill. That’s a series of rides that took place over three days with almost 21 hours of downtime, presented as a single 52 hour activity. It’s not a 52 hour ride, it’s probably three 17.3 hour activities stitched together to create a EPIC narrative. That’s not to say that three 17.3 rides over three days isn’t a laudable achievement. It totally is. But, that this person presented their three day bike packing trip as a single massive achievement just feels wrong to me.
Personally, and I totally understand that there’s room for a diversity of opinion on this topic, I see it as dishonest and done specifically for social media recognition. To generate kudos, follows, ooos and ahhs, etc. Maybe this is a “get off my lawn” moment for me, but I also feel that it diminishes the efforts of the people who legitimately hate themselves enough to do ultras. That’s a level of EPIC self-loathing that I don’t understand, but it’s real, honest, and worth celebrating. Also possible that it’s a motivation thing, maybe I don’t understand the relationship between a false narrative and sustaining the mental fortitude it takes to punish yourself. I like getting kudos on Strava, but I don’t climb on the trainer almost every day for a collection of👍. I do it because it keeps me sane, fit, and makes it possible for me to express my own [relatively lower level] masochistic tendencies when I can.
Feel free to tell me all the ways I’m wrong here. Maybe I’m missing something.