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Tuesday Chat with Team Strava: History of Strava - Week 2

Soren
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Who invented Segments? 🤔

Long before Strava existed, cyclists were talking about their fastest times up iconic climbs. We all know “if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen”, so how did segments originate? They were invented by one of Strava’s co-founders, Davis Kitchel, inspired by a Wednesday night group ride in the late 90s.

“There were notable, locally named climbs with well understood start and finish lines during which the ride turned into a race to the top with the prize being stature and bragging rights. Not everybody could make it to each Wednesday ride, which often led to comments with no proof like ‘Oh, I rode that climb last week and was at least 30 seconds faster than we rode today.’”

With nothing to back these claims and verify them, Davis, a software engineer, set out to obtain better data and keep track of efforts.

Visual of a Strava SegmentVisual of a Strava Segment

Here’s your Tuesday trivia question:

How did Davis Kitchel originally document cycling climbing times in the pre-Strava segment era?

  1. He set up clipboards and pens at the tops of popular climbs 
  2. A member in the group would wait at the end of the climb segment with a stopwatch and communicate via walkie-talkie
  3. He would write his times down on strips of paper

Leave your answer as a reply to this post and let us know what kind of segments are your favorite and if you've created any yourself!

Be sure to check back next week when we share the correct answer and be sure to subscribe to Tuesday Chat with Team Strava to get notified on our next post!!


Soren
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Soren
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks everyone for participating @mercerkg @BryanC @Silentvoyager @MattS_bsb!
The correct answer is: Davis Kitchel reports that he started recording his times on strips of paper he’d carry around in his jersey pockets.

“Every time I got a new PR to the top, or to a waypoint along the climb, I'd update the data before the next time. I had dozens of these strips of paper which were often sweat damaged and crumpled. They served as my first basic concept of segments in single player mode.”

 

kitchel.jpeg


Pretty wild, don't you think? 
Join us for this week's Tuesday Chat with Team Strava to learn more about Strava history and participate in the trivia!


Soren
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

View solution in original post

7 REPLIES 7

Soren
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks everyone for participating @mercerkg @BryanC @Silentvoyager @MattS_bsb!
The correct answer is: Davis Kitchel reports that he started recording his times on strips of paper he’d carry around in his jersey pockets.

“Every time I got a new PR to the top, or to a waypoint along the climb, I'd update the data before the next time. I had dozens of these strips of paper which were often sweat damaged and crumpled. They served as my first basic concept of segments in single player mode.”

 

kitchel.jpeg


Pretty wild, don't you think? 
Join us for this week's Tuesday Chat with Team Strava to learn more about Strava history and participate in the trivia!


Soren
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

Silentvoyager
Elbrus

I'll go with (A) as well.

The first time I've heard of Strava is when a local race director mentioned segments as a cool way to compete on well known hill climbs. That was in a context of trail running. As I am a competitive person, I found the Segments feature to be super interesting and engaging. I started uploading my runs to Strava manually from a computer. At the time there wasn't an automatic sync yet and Strava app didn't even exist.

My favorite segments are fairly long well known routes, like entire climbs from a trailhead to a summit or long loop routes, or FKTs. It has to be at least 40 minutes worth of a hard effort for me to like a segment, and there are some that I've done that require 3+ hours to finish. The longer segment is the better I tend to do. Unfortunately, discovering long segments is next to impossible.

One thing that I really wish is that Garmin's implementation of Live Segments was better. I find it super unreliable when used for twisty trail running segments. Basically, despite being super accurate, my latest generation Garmin watch can't finish a single long mountain running segment successfully - when tracking it live it always ends up dropping off, but afterwards Strava has no issue matching that segment. Perhaps Strava should work with Garmin to make this feature more reliable. Also, hardly any Garmin users know about Strava Live Segments. When I mention Strava Live Segment issues on Garmin Forums I get almost no responses. That is something that Strava should definitely refine and popularize more because it is such a unique feature! 

BryanC
Pico de Orizaba

With tongue firmly in cheek 

my favourite segments are, of , orange segments.  Big fat juicy ones 🤣🤣🤣

But more seriously, no I’ve not created any, but do look at the ORs etc to see how my performance tracks. 

mercerkg
Pico de Orizaba

My guess is (c); I can imagine the strips of paper transforming into the leaderboard concept.

I try to use lots of different run routes so segments are a great way of assessing progress without having to run the same route every time for comparison purposes. Longer ones seem most useful for this rather than focusing on planning a run around trying hard on one section and hardly ever aware of when I'm on a segment.

If I follow a route and there aren't many segments I sometimes create one and try to make applicable to to as many people as possible (junction to junction). I created one that I think is the easiest way up a local hill with lots of paths on the side, following the least steep gradient paths that join to reach the top; it hasn't caught on and is the only segment I have the course record for!

Soren
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks for participating and for sharing your experience with segments. I agree that segments are such a fun way to measure your own progress without having to carry out the exact same route. The fact that you have such an inclusive mindset when it comes to creating your own local segments is precisely what Strava is all about! The more accessible, safe and intuitive a segment is, the more people will want to try it out. Congrats on holding the CR 👑 !


Soren
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

MattS_bsb
Pico de Orizaba

I'm going with (A).  Depending on the length of the segment, walkie-talkies might not have the range to communicate, especially with 90's tech.  Writing on strips of paper just seems too haphazard for an engineer.

Regarding segment creation, current count for those I've created is at 25 (all running segments).  Some are in my own neighborhood, almost all are within the city I live in.  One in particular is hotly contested amongst our regular Thursday morning crew, and raced almost weekly with major bragging rights for anyone who can even squeeze into the top 5.  A "changing of the crown" (new segment record) gets a post on the club's social media page.

Soren
Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

That sounds like some really fun, friendly competition on the popular segment you created -- I'm curious whether it's uphill, a short sprint, or a longer effort?


Soren
STRAVA | Community Hub Team