I don’t normally geek out too much on Strava stats, preferring just to ride and not worry about numbers, power meters, segment times and so on.
But the cobbled sections of Paris-Roubaix changed that. Not only can you see how you line-up against all of the other participants in the sportives, but with more pros getting onto Strava, including race winner Niki Terpstra (see his Strava profile here), it gives a truly unique insight into what it really takes to ride the cobbled sections at full-gas in the race.
To give you an example I was pretty chuffed to see my time through the Trouee d’Arenberg ranked 41st out of everyone who’s attempted it on Strava – just behind Ted King but still one minute and 14 seconds slower than Terpstra in the 2013 edition of the race.
I might like to think of myself as a bit of an amateur cobbled section hustler but you still got brought back down to Earth with a bump when you see the speed at which the pros hit the same cobbles with more kilometres of hard racing in their legs.
The other point to note is that while my times got progressively slower over the cobbles as my legs tired, the pros are hitting the final sections even faster as the racing hots up. I still can’t think of many other sports, except, perhaps, for the London Marathon (which took place on the same day) where you get to compare yourself so dramatically with the best in the world over exactly the same terrain.