Friday, July 26, 2013

The Leg Report

If I could make one suggestion for the good folks at Strava, it would be for a predictive performance report. It wouldn't be too hard for them to come up with a power profile based on one's cumulative workout history. That could then be used as base to compare against recent rides for some sort of predictive performance. It would be something not unlike how USAC does their pre-race place prediction.

The reason why I know this would be a very popular Strava feature is because my good buddy Shim already does this before every ride. He calls it "the leg report". Without fail, somewhere within five minutes of riding, Shim will sidle up next to you and tell you -- whether you care to hear about it or not -- how his legs are feeling on that particular day. It goes something like this:

"Hey Brady, my legs are feeling awesome today. I was a little worried at first because I rode a 158 miles to and from yesterday's RAGBRAI stage, but after a few minutes, they really opened up, and they feel great now. "

Some days he doesn't give you a leg report. But you know that it's good, because while you're trying to take an easy recovery ride, Shim's up front laying down a blistering pace and gutter-balling everyone in a brutal cross wind. This, while en route for tacos during a friendly lunch ride.

And then he'll tell you he was soft pedaling.

The funny thing about Shim is that if Strava did make such a report, they'd need only two leg report classifications: good and awesome. We all know what Shim's awesome leg report feels like. Good, however, is more loosely defined. It could mean both good or bad. Like, in the example above, he'd prolly say that his leg report was good, despite having having taken two local KOMs while riding the 158 miles RAGBRAI miles the day before. For anyone else, their legs would be thrashed. That's a good leg report for Shim.

Still, there are some curious outliers in Shim's profile that may need to be filtered out by Strava. Yesterday was one such example. About 20 minutes into our taco ride, Shim was nowhere to be found. I finally found him behind me, which is very rare. I drifted back to check on him.

"Can you be my soigneur?" He says

"Sure. What do you need?"

"Hold this for me."

We were riding on a crappy road filled with deep cracks and potholes that required all of one's focus to keep it upright. While looking forward and keeping one hand on the bar, I blindly reach out towards him, expecting to get a water bottle in my hand. What I got instead felt something like a shoe. A shoe? Nah, it had to be water bottle. But when I looked down, it was indeed his shoe.

"Why are you giving me your shoe?"

"Bad leg report," he says.

"What does your shoe have to do with your leg report?"

"Nothing. It's my sock. It's inside out and driving me nuts."

He then precedes to take his sock off, turns it right side in and puts it back on, all the while clipped in and pedaling with his other good leg and navigating the quagmire of potholes.

"That's better," he says when he's got his sock on correctly. "Can I have my shoe back now?"

I give him back his shoe.

"Thanks. Now be a good domestique and pull me back up to the group."

For the remainder of the ride, Shim had an awesome leg report.


  1. That's almost as impressive as being able to dress yourself. Almost.

  2. I'm significantly more impressed that Brady could take a pic of Shim changing while holding a shoe, a bar and pedal, while carefully navigating said sketchy terrain.

    And what's in Shim's bag? Bricks to weigh himself down?

  3. Kevin, he carries his awesomeness in his's a small bag.

  4. Shim hand-picks his soigneurs. They must be capable of not only holding his shoes and taking photos while riding through sketchiness, but they also must be able to document his awesomeness on a blog afterward.

    Sadly, such talent rarely gets noticed and given its due credit. Thanks for your observations and comments, Kevin.

    A couple other things to note:

    1) I can't be certain, but I believe Leah came up with the term "the leg report" one day when she asked me if I had ever noticed that Shim almost never fails to mention how his legs feel at the beginning of the ride. Since then, without fail, I get a leg report. Is there a way I can turn Shim's push notifications off?

    B) Yesterday was also the first time my MWCC teammate, Flanders, joined us for the Taco ride. Good riding with you, buddy.

  5. "Nothing. It's my sock. It's inside out and driving me nuts."

    I just laughed for 3 minutes.