Digital EPO allows people to alter their GPS data to make their ride appear faster than it actually was. But how can you tell if someone has actually used it or not? Are there any telltale signs? It appears that there are…
It’s hard to believe that anyone would actually use Digital EPO. They’re only kidding themselves, right?
But, the human race being what it is, there will always be some folks who will use it to cheat.
Of course, I must point out that for the purposes of creating this post, I created some files using Digital EPO and uploaded them to Strava as “private”, then deleted them afterwards.
How to tell
Here’s a way to tell if a ride has been doctored by digital epo, by looking at the performance charts in Strava.
Looking at the full ride, it’s difficult to tell the difference, if any. The first pic is the clean data. the second pic is for a file processed by Digital EPO, to speed up the total ride by 5%
You can see that it’s hard to tell the difference between the two images above.
We need to zoom in to see the detail.
Look out for speedbumps
Once you zoom in, the differences become very apparent. Notice how the speed line (blue) is smooth and fluid on the clean ride, but the cheat file clearly shows regular bumps in the data. You can’t miss ‘em.
If you see bumps like this in the performance graphs of someone who just took your KOM, you can safely flag that ride, because they are a cheating scumbag!
What if people juice their rides by even more – do the spikes look different?
Yes, here’s the same file juiced by 20%
Finally, what if someone juices their ride by just 1%? Can you still tell?
Yes, but it’s a little more tricky to spot.
You need to zoom in on a section of between a half a mile and one mile, and you’ll see one or two clear little bumps, like this:
These little speedbumps give the game away.
Flag the ride and say goodbye.
Thanks to Darren W for the heads up with this method of detecting Strava cheats.
Please share this post with your Strava buddies so that we can wipe out cheaters.
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