I finally relented last week and installed an app on my phone which tracks me when I go for a ride. The only reason I did it was to get some data on how much climbing I am doing (it's cheaper than buying a GPS) - but after a week of data collecting, I found that it can't tell that the Anzac Bridge goes up and over a body of water. Instead, it thinks I ride on water.
The day after I started using it, emails started appearing from the software maker telling me how good I went the day before. Nifty. It's a daily encouragement to exercise more - the same as having a personal trainer nag you each day to get out and do some sit ups (now there's a thought).
The email also tells you how you did in comparison to everyone else that has recorded their times along particular sections of the route you took. I was stunned when it told me I was in the top 1% on a number of sections, including the hilly bits. When you're as old and big as me, you don't climb anywhere near as well as the skinny young blokes. However, there was the email telling me otherwise.
I can think of a few reasons.
First, people aren't riding flat out on my route - it's not a race (even though when you pass a lot of blokes, they turn it into a race). I ride hard - but not "race" hard, which is where you get to the end and fall sideways off your bike because you don't have the energy left to unclip your legs. I don't feel like arriving at the car park at work and then collapsing on the concrete in a gibbering mess. I'm giving it up to 90% rather than 100%, and I reckon a lot of cyclists are content to commute at no more than 70-80% of their potential - it means less sweat to wash off when you get to work.
Second, the really fit and serious guys probably don't bother recording their commutes as they aren't "proper" training rides.
Third, who can be bothered recording their commute every day? Are people that anal about it that they record even the boring and mundane rides?
Fourth, I don't think the pros are using this particular app. Strava seems to be the favourite app for the really serious cyclist.
In other words, it's telling me that I'm a really fast hubbard. Which is like saying you own the best looking Ford.