Strava has emerged as the most popular platform to catalog your rides and runs, from a group of others that offers parts of, or a different technological environment to analyse and document your training rides.
Strava meaning strive in Swedish and based in the western United States, tells me that the most active country in the world for Strava is the UK and the 2 most ridden segments are in Hyde Park and Richmond Park.
When we use the term segment in Strava speak we mean that using tools Strava provides somebody at some point has segmented the route and renamed and listed that segment on the public board. The segment will show data on the route, like time, distance, elevation and if the rider wore a HRM and or has a power meter, it will also add on that data too.
When the next rider rides through that segment, whether he planned to or not and he’s uploaded automatically from his Strava phone app or later at home the ride data from his Garmin, he will with his name and photo and this is important, whether he rode like a man or not appear either as Nº1 or Nº2 on that list.
As all cyclists are competitive either internally or externally, this is the crucial part of Strava’s success or unpopularity depending what camp you reside in.
Here on Gran Canaria, Strava has a very strong showing, because of the mountainous nature of the island, the climbing segments can sometimes have over 5000 cyclists, or one can have 13000 cyclists riding the same segment 3 or 4 times, which shows that cyclists come here year after year and do the same routes, and that’s down to the great weather, and the superior roads we have here.
I had a discussion with Strava a few years ago about becoming a Strava Ambassador, I thought at the time I could compliment Strava’s activities, but it became clear that I would be tasked with cleaning up the ridiculous segments that would appear, like a 100m section in the middle of a 10k climb or 9.9km segment set up in the middle of 10km segment. In other words cyclists were crafting very specific segments purely to get a KOM, that glorious golden Nº1 crown that we all secretly lust after at the top of segment list.
So in compiling this list, I have set a few parameters and what is purely is my opinion, is my idea of a credible segment, it usually goes from the bottom of a climb to the highest elevation, starts from a recognizable point or feature, like a road junction or village sign and finishes at a recognizable point or feature like a road junction or village sign! Keep it simple. The distance by default can only dictated by the difficulty of the section, a short climb can be harder than a long flat section, but nothing under a kilometre can be taken seriously.
The other rule is no descents, it’s just not worth it here where you can get up to 60kph so easily to be chasing a vital second, a second that could ultimately prove your undoing and for what? For those that decry the whole Strava segment thing, I say reasonably, just look at it as a personal ITT.
Soria Climb, The Official One.
Soria is great great ride, long flat and consistent climb on perfect roads. Lovely in the evenings when the peacocks come out in the orange groves on the way up. Advice to ride this?, stick it in your most comfortable gear and don’t change and concentrate on your breathing, there’s one 14%+ section to get through, but pain is temporary, gloria is forever!! Great restaurant at the top too, love it! This route is a regular on our tours too.
El Pajar Roundabout to Soria.
Proper effort needed to complete this, only flat for 14km then 6km uphill, it’s a real balance where you put the effort, and 40min even for the best is still a long effort. It’s real cardio effort so that’s where I’d focus my training and any good time on this will stay up for a long time, not many people have the focus for that length of time, not even me, I like my stop midway at the supermarket too much!
Maspalomas to Pico De Las Nieves.
Zero to Hero, pebbles to Pico, it’s a long long effort, I’ve done it so many times with clients and only rarely as a solo, but Pico is a special ride, it’s got so many different sections, that need to be ridden differently. And only one really hard section from Ayacata to Roquo Nublo, although it’s an epic ride, as a segment it only qualifies because if you can do it nonstop and break 3 hours, you’re definitely Hall of Fame material!
GoCart to Doctoral.
This segment along with the Soria flat is one of only 2 consistent flat sections that are long enough for a sustained effort. The FM guide Ronny leads the list here, it’s either with a massive head wind or massive tailwind.If you need to train for TT, this is the place and as you’ll be going up and down, you’ll meet the wind one way or the other, so any good time will stay up!
Long Hill (aka The Vott)
It’s really annoying that the someone has made a segment called VOTT Official and had it start halfway into the climb, what really is the point of that?! The VOTT starts at the roundabout in San Nicolas and finishes at the junction above Ayacata. This is quite credibly the hardest climb in Europe, you really need to be sure of yourself to take this on, it’s a long way to get there and a long way home to the south when you’ve completed, lots of quality food and drink before the start is paramount. Because there’s nothing along the entire VOTT route to spend your money on!
Serenity Climb Jct to Jct
Serenity Climb is the lady of climbs, a dazzling curvy temptress who’ll throw many temptations at you along the way to break your concentration and bust your time. Both the road and surrounding mountainscape is stunning, arriving up from Mogan, the wild west side of the island laid out before you take on Serenity. It’s a route too, that’s difficult to maintain the consistent tempo needed for this type of climb. The pitch changes frequently, but when you’re finished you’ll want to do it again and just stop and take photos at every corner!!
Hospital San Roque – El Pajar.
Why this is added is because it’s a perfect close to home, short explosive rolling route next to the sea the whole way, it’s short enough to give it your all and drink stops at both ends. There’s several climbs in both directions, the return way is hardest. It’s big ring all the way, anything less means you need to up your game!
GC-60 Fataga End of Village Sign Post to San Bart View Point.
This is my favorite segment, the one I really put a lot of effort into every time, yet I will never be able to find the 2 mins needed to take the KOM or even the 1min needed to get into the top ten.So I’ll sit forever at 31st out of 4026! It’s quite deceptive in that the flat from Fataga to the first left hand corner is really the climb and the climb after that is really easy enough! So I think a lot of people get busted before the fake climb and are mentally shot as they look up at the twisting road above them. Advice, it’s only 4km and about 15min typically so go at and surprise yourself and sneak a Coke or Expresso in Fataga and surprise everyone else!!
Lugar Tabaibales Climb aka The Secret Stage.
This is an amazing little climb that only came to a lot of people’s attention very recently, known now as the Secret Stage, it’s 8km of closed road, wide and with a perfect surface no public cars,but some private trucks that you should be mindful of as you’re blitzing along. The actual segment here is straight up into pretty much 10% ave the whole way, so it takes some focus to not let the lactate pain get to you, but it will be worth it!!
The Corniche Sprint segment was made by me and is a bit like northern France, in that it has been fought over, won and lost many times since it was started. You need a whole set of factors to be on your side before you can get even into the top ten, high on gel, fresh with your lungs fully working and a good south east wind, that works for you especially on the last climb, it’s big ring all the way too. But all those factors came together for me, and the Corniche is mine again!