Friday, 24 August 2012

Hobby attacks BHM & Snipe return

I didn't see the Hobby as I was at the wrong part of the marsh and my attention was being monopolised by a couple of Snipe, but I did see the resultant terror of some of the other birds caused by the attack. I was reliably informed by a well respected birder that it was a Hobby so I'll go along with that ID. Hobbies have been an abnormally regular sight in Colyton, Seaton and Colyford over the last 4 months. I did get some shots of the Snipe; I wasn't that close to them, but as Snipe viewings go, this one was pretty darned good!

This next part is not wildlife related, so look away now if that's what you're here for!
Now back to cycling. A recent read of a fairly clever but flawed piece of writing got me thinking... true devotion to a hobby certainly is dependent on ones motivation and to an extent, discipline. The Strava app, which can be used to track yourself whilst out for a run or bike ride is increasing in popularity, and at a steadily increasing rate. After all, competition is one of the most potent motivators for anything, especially physical activity, and one of the main marketing points of this app is that it is specifically intended to compare people on a competitive basis (hence the 'Compete' section, and being rewarded with virtual medals for achieving a top 3 finish in a particular segment). Whilst aiming for and achieving your own personal goals can be very rewarding, many people relish the opportunity to try and prove themselves in relation to others. After all, if you aren't in it for the competition (or are a sore loser), there are other popular apps such as Endomondo which allow you to enable or disable the 'competitive' side as you can choose whether you want segments to be timed or not. A vast proportion (but certainly not all) of the riders using Strava use it primarily for the competitive aspect of cycling. This statement is one based from knowledge as opposed to assumption. I'm a competitive person, but not over-competitive. I recently made an observation about environmental influence aiding people with regards to a certain sprint section between Seaton and Axmouth. It seems a lot of people using Strava are significantly more concerned about this issue than I am; the evidence is for all to see on the Strava website, with people complaining in a snide manner to others about taking advantage of favourable winds. I take the hobby fairly seriously but I don't take it to the same sort of extreme as such people, but then again, I ride as my own unit; a lot of the people with half decent performances ride with fierce rivalry in mind, sometimes between friends or family (this is actually a very effective way of motivating yourself to improve and advance). Again, this is a comment based upon knowledge as opposed to assumption. After all, a statement made from initial personal opinion and supported with publicly-available evidence is significantly stronger than a statement in the form of a sweeping generalisation which can be proven incorrect with little tribulation.
Strava revolves (not quite in its entirety) around trying to beat others, not just yourself. To add to the motivation, if someone has managed to post the fastest time for a segment, and proven him/herself to be the fastest, then they are heralded as the King of the Mountain. To further increase motivation, Strava has a KOM (King of the Mountain) count on the main homepage, and it compares one persons KOM count to another's. It is fully intended as a direct competition. After all, professional athletes don't go to the Olympics specifically to improve their PB. Yes, doing so can be very satisfactory, but the primary motivation which drives people in this context is the desire for victory.

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