My fixie has been in for a service, for what seems like an eternity now. I go quite literally everywhere on my trusty steed, so not having it for a day or more makes getting around a little tricky, as public transport doesn't always take me where I want to go, when I need to get there.
In the interim, I've taken to cycling my usual commuter mileage in the evenings, doing laps of Victoria Park (west). It started off innocently until I returned from cycling and did something I don't usually do. I checked Strava.
I noticed I crossed several segments but there was one which caught my interest, the Victoria Park Inner Lake Loop. I placed 65th, which I thought was pretty decent, with a lap time of 3:14 or 30.4km/h. Then something happened, I wondered how I can improve on that time and climb the leaderboard. Looking at the KOM, Buster, I then contemplated what it would take to cycle the lap at 42km/h. Not impossible, however, between runners, walkers and dogs, not something I'd think easily achieveable. Possibly I could go when the park was opening or something...?
News must have travelled fast because by Thursday there was a post on Facebook from Simon Freeman, of Like the Wind magazine (a superb publication), about an article published in the Guardian titled Dope and glory: the rise of cheating in amateur sport. Not something you generally think about when you get up at 05:15 to make that first shot of espresso before finally waking up and going for a run but it does get you thinking.
Would you do what it takes to be KOM? To push the boundaries at any cost and become a super-mamil?
These are things which never cross my mind but then I think that's because I got into sport for personal reasons and have never really been that competitively motivated, other than to better my own PB. Maybe it's the rise in the popularity of Strava which makes people chase segments. It was the first function I turned off on my Garmin Edge 520 when I got it and I'd be loathed if similar functionality came to my Forerunner 735xt. It's far too distracting.
It seems that whilst the governing bodies are trying to clean up professional sport when it comes to doping, it's drifted into the amateur arena, possibly a little harder to manage, due to the sheer number of people, however it's definitely something which needs to be nipped in the bud.
In the meantime, I'll keep going to Victoria Park from time to time and thrash out a few laps in the hope of climbing the leaderboard. I have managed to climb to 28th place with a time of 3:02 or 32.4km/h in a space of a few days. Who knows, I could be in the top 10 by the end of summer!