Get Fired Up
The built-in benchmarks and sharing options on apps like Ride with GPS, Map My Ride, and Strava create incentive to improve your riding. Like many cyclists, Chad Haga, of Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, dreads doing interval workouts. For motivation, he strings together a series of King of the Mountain segments he wants to claim that resemble the time-trial repeats his coach prescribes.
Access intel for an event you've never done by downloading user-created maps and course profiles (try the 4 Mapping Apps Every Cyclist Should Try). You can even see the power required to match the best times on the toughest sections. "I send athletes a link to a course," along with workouts on similar segments, says California-based coach Peter Nicholson.
ID Weak Spots
Go to Raceshape.com and plug in a ride segment from your preferred source. Then compare your performance with that of riders who have done the same route. "You can see the exact areas where you lost time to another rider, like a climb or descent," says mathematician and site founder Paul Mach, PhD, who is also a pro cyclist.
Raise the Stakes
Most sites organize contests to encourage users to ride longer and harder, complete with prizes for participants. Look for Strava's Base Mile Blast.
- Be safe. The laws of physics apply to any ride.
- Practice self-control. If you have a training goal, stick to your plan.
- Unplug now and then. Sometimes ride just for the sake of riding.
- Turn friendly group rides into KOM battles.
- Yell "Strava!" on a descent and expect other cyclists to move out of your way.
- Half-wheel a friend for an entire ride, then brag about your Suffer Score.
STRAVADDICTION \ n. \ a state of aggravated, Strava-induced irrationality so extreme that it can cause coffee-shop rides to degrade into slugfests.Search for a cycling event.