There are some amazing third party sites that help you get more out of your Strava data. And then there’s digital epo…
I became aware of the site a few months ago but deliberately didn’t blog about it because I didn’t want to promote it. Just recently there have been articles popping up on most of the popular bike sites, and twitter and the various bike forums are all talking about it, so the cat’s out of the bag, I guess.
The site is set up partly as a spoof of Strava, but more perniciously, it offers a tool to modify gpx/tcx files in order to make the rider appear faster than they really were.
Want to impress your friends with faster Strava times ? Then you need Digital EPO ! Are you just cheating yourself ?http://t.co/RiBWvHU31H
— Ultra168 (@Ultra168) June 11, 2013
— Sam Robson (@stupid_runner) June 11, 2013
Yes – blatant, shameless cheating.
I had to wonder what the author’s motives were in creating it. Obviously it requires a specific set of skills to craft a website with this kind of functionality, but why not do something constructive, like the incredible Veloviewer
Just seen http://t.co/ICOOSMzipu – are people really that sad to cheat at Strava?! Beggars belief!
— Alastair Canaway (@captain_canaway) June 11, 2013
There’s a strong impression that the authors of digital epo are deliberately trying to damage Strava. The site makes reference to Strava “suing the family of a member who died while using their product”, referring to the Flint case, which was dismissed. I’ve no idea if there’s any connection here, but it would appear that the site is motivated by something deeper than a coder showing off their talents to get attention and kudos.
Either way, Digital Epo is a cleverly engineered virus in the Strava community. It’s effect, at best, is to irritate and annoy ordinary Strava users. Most people will just raise an eyebrow at the site and question the intelligence of anybody who would seek to use it to gain an advantage on a Strava leaderboard. At its worst however, it could seriously undermine the credibility of segment leaderboards, which are the backbone of Strava’s success.
Just a joke?
It’s a big world, with lots of people and we’re not all the same. There will be some, too immature to know any better, who will use the site to create artificially inflated performance times. Others will say that Strava can’t be taken seriously anyway, and the only way to really prove anything is to pin a number on your back and race for real.
The fact remains that tens of thousands of cyclists worldwide have an affinity with Strava that’s due to the motivation that it helps provide to keep training, to get fitter and faster. Part of that motivation comes from measuring improvements in your own performance, and equally, or possibly more so for some people, comes from the competitive aspect of being at the top of the segment leaderboards. Whilst digital epo cannot affect the former aspect, it can seriously ruin the latter.
First the nasty selfish people will do it, then the people who don’t care and then finally those who were originally against it. #digitalEPO
— David Mclean (@DavidMcleanCycl) June 9, 2013
— Steve Dodds (@SDDG7TFL) June 10, 2013
— kelmack72 (@adriankelmackie) June 10, 2013
What’s your view?
UPDATE: Thanks to Darren W for pointing out that there is a way to tell if files were juiced with digital epo. Read How to tell if someone used Digital Epo to cheat on Strava.
For the most complete list of Strava sites, be sure to check out the Ultimate List, hosted right here on ScarletFire.