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STRAVA-LIKE COMMUNITY – Mar. 24

March 24, 2014

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

I have entered the world of Strava.   Strava is an app that tracks your running and cycling activity. It maps your route and calculates your average speed / pace and elevation gain.  You can post those results to Strava and compare your activity to other athletes.

Image representing Strava as depicted in Crunc...

Strava

Strava (Photo credit: Patrick’s Velolog)

Upon joining this community, I have discovered that I am slower than I had thought.  I have reviewed the top performers, the segment kings, of my cycling routes and marvel at some of the times posted.  There are individuals out there performing at a whole other level than I am.

I ride these routes in my little individual world and feel really good about my fitness.  My imagination conjures up fantasies of crossing finish lines and standing on podiums as I pedal away in solitude.  It is easy to become over-confident in one’s abilities when you only perform in solitude.

My confidence was rattled a bit  this weekend.  I am planning, Lord willing, to compete in the Tour of Ontario cycling race next weekend.  This weekend they had a pre-ride to allow local competitors to get familiar with the course.  I tried to hang onto the lead group but got dropped on a corner about two miles into the road race course.  I slowed a little too much through the corner and then did not have the legs to close the gap as the group accelerated away.  Once a gap formed, the slight head wind made it impossible for me to catch them.

Philippines - Hitch

I hate getting dropped.  I had an equal earnestness of wanting to catch the lead group and not wanting to be caught by the chase group.  So, I tried to stay as aerodynamic as one rider can be and pedaled on.  I ended up making the rest of the ride solo since I stayed in no-man’s land between the two groups.

When I finally finished the ride, I stopped the Strava app and was immediately prompted as to whether I wanted to record or discard the ride.  I was tempted to hit discard due to my lackluster performance.  I think of myself as a 20 mph average rider (I rarely hit that number so I don’t know why I have that expectation) but I had only averaged only 17.4 mph over the 32 mile route and had been dropped on top of that.

However, I sucked up my pride and hit record.

Later that day, I noticed several others from the pre-ride had posted their rides on Strava.  They were from the lead group that I could not catch.  I was surprised by the fact that none of them had average speeds over 20 mph.  They had smoked me, but not by the degree I had thought.  They had ridden in a group and I had gone solo.  Maybe, I had not done as bad as I had thought.

I could never have put my ride into perspective if I had not been willing to suck it up and actually be part of a community.  Being part of a community means that sometimes we will be embarrassed by our performance, but it also means that we can put our performance into perspective and be encouraged to push farther than we thought possible.  It means that we are challenged by those who are stronger and we can encourage those who are weaker.

I know many folks live their Christian lives like a solo ride.  They enjoy their spiritual experience but they don’t really share their personal relationship with God with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  They keep their spiritual lives very private.

The problem with going solo is that we can convince ourselves that we are doing much better than we actually are.  We can become over-confident and unchallenged to go deeper in our faith and we can never stir up our brothers and sisters in Christ to love and good works.

True Christian community means that we meet together and are transparent with those we can trust about all of our activity – the good and the bad – the embarrassing and the triumphant.  It means that we are challenged by those who are following Christ to pursue greater love and good works and we encourage others to continue.

I know that there are times when we find ourselves in a spiritual no-man’s land and our path lead us through very solo stretches.  I am currently on one of those stretches.  However, that does not mean we accept the solitary Christian life as the norm; the norm should be community.  We should not neglect meeting together in real, honest community.  We should earnestly desire to be a part of real Christian community and not to be caught by the lackluster activities of former times.

We should appreciate it when we’re in it and seek it when we aren’t – you just might find it in very unexpected places.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for giving us community. Forgive me for having taken it for granted.  Forgive me for not seeking it like I should.  Lord, give me an earnestness to be a part of a Christian community that I don’t really feel at this time.  I know that it is important.  Sustain me through this period of solitude.  Father, give me a community where I will be challenged and encouraged and where I can do the same for others.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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One comment

  1. […] outclassed. I had done the pre-race ride and knew what a day on the road race course would be like.(Strava-Like Community)   A few friends encouraged me to continue and consider the road race as an opportunity to train […]



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