The Ego That Strava Giveth, Strava Taketh Away

by Erin on March 20, 2014

The story of that one time I had a QOM, then didn’t.

It all started with a ride in January. Jimmy (my husband) and I started pedaling 10 minutes ahead of a local Saturday hammerfest known as the Donut Ride. The group leaves at 8 a.m. from a Starbucks in South Redondo Beach and they don’t like people with ‘90s helmet covers or lace-up SPD shoes. I learned that the hard way in ’06 when I showed up excited to go on a group ride in my new city. Glares and ostracism. That’s all I remember. It was like being the new nerd in high school. After maybe 10 minutes of riding and a never-ending barrage of “HOLD YOUR LINE!” shouts, the peloton took off up a hill without me. I maybe tried one more Donut Ride after that, with a new hard-shell helmet and shoes. I still stood out; I’m a girl.

The peloton caught up to me and Jimmy on a five-mile climb in Palos Verdes. If you’re paying attention, you can see Catalina Island as you go up four switchbacks. But no Donut rider is looking at the scenery. They’re all trying not to be last. (Photo below obviously not taken during the ride in this story.)

Jimmy and I fell in with some of the midpack guys. The climb finishes on a dead-end road with views of all of Los Angeles. After a sweeping left turn, you can see the end, maybe 400 meters away. I’ve ridden here a zillion times before. I felt rascally and stepped on it when we hit that curve. Then something amazing happened: I dropped everyone. I dominated that section of road. I thought of changing my name to Cavenerin for a minute. If I were any good at riding uphill without hands, I’d have held them up in triumph as I crossed the imaginary finish line, the part of the road where nicer asphalt meets crappy asphalt.

I immediately u-turned to begin the descent, knowing the Donuters would quickly overtake me. Jimmy and I did the rest of the ride that way, taking off a few steps ahead so we could finish the entire Donut Ride with the Donut Riders without ever really breaching their peloton. It was a good morning.

When I got home, I pulled my iPhone out of my back pocket and told Strava to upload my ride. Then something amazing happened again: I had a QOM. My one and only QOM. The section of road I sprinted turned out to be a Strava segment and I owned it. In fact, I was tied for first with the KOM. For a minute, I thought that couldn’t possibly be true. Then I figured I still had it; my sprinting genes were alive and well. Maybe I am good enough to do the real Donut Ride! I thought. My cycling ego grew three sizes that day.

Then a few weeks ago, I got an email from Strava. “Your Activity Was Flagged,” it said in the subject line. I clicked on the email. My QOM had been questioned, and it was clear who was doing the questioning. One woman rode my segment that morning. She would’ve won QOM if it weren’t for me. She was now the meanest woman I’d never met.

I filled out Strava’s form, hitting the pull-down option that says something like: This ride is legit, I swear! Then I sent an email to Strava:

Hi Strava,

Somebody flagged a totally legit ride I did in which I totally legitimately crushed a sprint and won QOM. I was riding in a huge group of people that day. The dudes I chicked would certainly remember that. Please unflag my rad ride! I’m super proud of that one! (And I know my iPhone GPS didn’t f-up that day. [Jimmy] rode with me and has almost identical stats from a Garmin 910, except for, you know, where I crushed him in the Crest final sprint.)

Thank you,

[My Strava pseudonym] aka Erin Beresini


The next day, I got an email back from Ashley at Strava.

Hi Erin,

It looks like you actually did have some GPS issues near that segment, which caused you to have a short segment match. I’ve adjusted the match so that it accurately depicts your effort for the entire segment.

I’ve included screenshots for reference.

Let me know if you have any questions.



Strava Support Team


With that, I dropped to #12 on the leaderboard for my beloved sprint.

Ego, crushed.

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