Thursday, April 12, 2012

Me and my OCD

As long as I can remember, I have been addicted to video games.  In junior high and high school, I often locked myself in my bedroom to play Mario or Zelda for days at a time.  My college roommate famously still cites a school day where he woke up for 8am class and I was already playing an RPG, only to have him return at about 5pm to find me in the same spot on the couch, still playing, having consumed an entire Halloween size bag of Rolos.  More recently, I was introduced to Mafia Wars, Mob Wars and other free social video games online.  For those of you that have never played these games, the strategy is basically to acquire things (weapons, real estate, crops - for the Farmville folks) which lead to further acquisition of other things.  And endless loop of acquiring worthless stuff.  All the while, you are gaining experience and levels and comparing yourself to other players in the game.

I now have a healthier way to tame this addiction.  In addition to the standard benefits of riding - exercise, fresh air, social aspect, etc. - coupling cycling with Strava (which is basically an online video game) has created my perfect monster.  Now, rather than collect virtual swords and flame throwers, I collect rides, segments, miles and feet of elevation.  With Strava, I can virtually compete with others in a multitude of categories.  Take, for example, my new buddy Strava Mo.  As of today, he has a total of 3,753 All Time miles logged into Strava compared to my 2,756 miles.  I won't hedge and say that his miles have been accumulated since 4/1/2011 where mine are only from 10/23/2011 (OK, I just did).  But in the back of my head (or maybe the front) I NEEEEEEED to catch him.  I'll pass him soon.  Although, with the good weather coming, I have a feeling he will be commuting more and doing his damnedest to stay ahead of me. 

This also reminds me of a ride that I took with the Fog Dwellers a few months ago.  We did the standard 40 mile Sunday ride from the Java Hut around Stafford Lake in Novato.  However, on the descent from Whites Hill, only a few miles into the ride, I hit a cell phone in the bike lane and it bounced and knocked my Garmin out of commission.  This bummed me out because a) I did not get credit for my miles and b) I was not able to chart my route and participate in the many Strava segments that we passed through.  All things taken into consideration, this was not a major tragedy.  But several times on the ride, I caught myself thinking that I was digitally missing out on a sweet set of data.

The genesis of this post was a set of emails by Strava Mo where he shared his Waves to Wine (a two-day 175+ mile ride) stories.  I asked if he had the data on Strava and he reported that he did not.  I then claimed that if the ride data was not posted online, then the ride did not exist.  Strava Mo, being indefinitely more technologically savvy than me, figured out a way to export some old Garmin Connect data into a format where it could be uploaded to Strava.  Problem solved.  He actually did make the Waves to Wine ride.

Now for my new OCD issue ... I bought my Garmin in August of 2011.  I have Garmin data online for August-October 2011 that is not yet loaded onto Strava. It takes probably 4-5 minutes per ride to convert each Garmin file into data that is functional with Strava.  That's about 80 rides that could be converted ... maybe 1,200 miles ... but it will take me 4-6 hours to get that data into Strava.  Like I said, I really, really, really want to catch Mo in total miles on Strava.  Should I invest the time uploading data?  Or should I just go ride for 6 hours?  Dilemma.

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