You still can’t trust Strava
Published by marco on
People put so much stock in the records and trophies and numbers available on Strava, but it just seems so unreliable.
For example, I’d done a long ride a couple of weeks ago: about 140km with 2350m of climbing in just under six hours. Strava “estimated” my average wattage at about 144w. A buddy of mine saw this and went out for one of his own a couple of days later, putting up about 150km with 2350m in about 6:15. My buddy went faster and farther, weighs at least 6-8 kilos more than me and Strava still “estimated” his average wattage at 131w.
I thought this was wrong enough that I scrolled through the segments on his ride, which looked mostly normal (I honestly haven’t tried to figure out how Strava averages the estimated watts), until I came across this segment:
I’ve seen segments before where Strava has literally no problem with a 1km segment marked at 11% average incline but that I’ve managed at a cool 30km/h—about 3x faster than I would be able to climb something like that, Strava chirpily informs me that I put up 2900+ VAM at I don’t even remember how many hundreds of watts. This feat is flatly impossible for almost any rider, but the segment somehow spends years in Strava’s database without being flagged.
Still, this is the first time I’ve seen Strava estimate 805w on a descent, which my friend managed with absolute aplomb at a cool and calm 106bpm heart-rate. Not bad for an old guy. :-)