Many Zwifters use Strava as their main fitness tracker, dumping outdoor activities as well as Zwift sessions into it so everything is in one place.
But when a new Strava segment is created for a Zwift road/route you’ve ridden in the past, chances are your old activity won’t be matched up against that segment. Why is that, and how do you get it to match? That’s what this article will answer.
Intro to Strava Segments
Strava has lots of features, but its “segments” are arguably its most popular feature. Users can save an activity, then create a “segment” covering all or part of that activity’s roads. If that segment isn’t marked private then it’s public, and anyone else can complete that segment and get ranked on the leaderboard.
Segments let you automatically track your own times on specific roads/routes, competing against your old self as you strive for new PRs. And segments let you compete with others too if you’d like!
The Weirdness of Strava Segments + Zwift
Strava segments for Zwift roads have always behaved a bit differently than they do outdoors, probably because Strava’s system wasn’t built with the idea that tens of thousands of people would be riding the same segments each day.
Here are a few oddities about Zwift Strava Segments:
- Segments can be flagged as hazardous, even though they’re on virtual roads
- There is only one Strava account currently allowed to create public Zwift Strava segments. And that account belongs to Zwift Insider! Read more about the history behind this >
- Segments must be at least 300m long. The limit used to be ~170m, or 0.1 miles, but Strava lengthened it a few years back. This may make sense outdoors, where GPS data may be a bit spotty. But on Zwift, GPS data is rock-solid, since it’s simulated. We’d love it if Strava would allow for shorter Zwift segments, so we can finish creating segments for each Alpe du Zwift turn!
- Strava’s “Local Legends” feature only works for a handful of Zwift segments. Read more about this >
- When a new Zwift Strava segment is created, Strava doesn’t always pick up older activities that match the segment.
Let’s unpack that last point…
Old Activities + New Segments
With outdoor segments, you can create a fresh public segment and Strava will go back in time to find matching activities from everyone who has ridden that segment over the years. Cool, right? (I just did this today, in fact – let’s see if my KOM holds!)
But if Zwift Insider creates a new public Strava segment for a stretch of Zwift road, Strava doesn’t go back to find old matching activities. Or at least, it doesn’t go back and find all past matches.
I haven’t figured out exactly what’s going on this regard, but from what I’ve seen, the longer the route, the less chance Strava will go back and find matching activities. For example, today I created a short test segment on a popular stretch of Watopian road. Within 30 minutes, Strava had found over 1000 matching activities, dating back at least 2 years.
But I’ve created longer segments for established routes, and very few matching activities are found, even after days for Strava to process the new segment.
Our guess is this is related to the processing load required to pore over millions of Zwift activities, which is a much larger job compared to IRL activities in a given region.
Getting Your Old Activities to Match New Segments
And so we arrive at the point of this post: how do you get your old Zwift activities to match up with Strava segments created after the activity occurred?
Strava has a “Refresh Activity Achievements” option in its desktop version. Logically, this would do the trick. But it doesn’t!
And you used to be able to change the activity type to something else, like Surfing, then back to Virtual Ride, to force a refresh. But that doesn’t work anymore.
Nope. The only ways to reliably force Strava to match your activity to newer segments are:
- Re-upload your activity. This is best done via your web browser.
- Crop your activity. This can be done easily via the smartphone app or desktop browser version. Just shorten your activity by 1 second, save the change, and presto! (This is the easiest solution, in my opinion).
Here are some screenshots showing how to do each of these via your web browser:
Re-upload Your Activity:
Cropping Your Activity:
Questions or Comments?
Can’t you just “Refresh Activity Achievements” to get Strava to rematch? I think Strava also rechecks if you change the activity type so you may be able to change to run or something then back to Virtual Ride.
He mentioned in the article that it doesn’t work, even though you’d think it would.
That’ll teach me to skim read!
To my knowledge Refresh Activity Segments does not look for new matches even on outdoor rides – it is only there to refresh the PR/2nd/3rd status on already matched segments.
The change activity type hack did used to work but Strava stopped that about six months ago, which is when I started using the Crop function to get round it. Best of all, it also keeps your kudos, which you’d lose if you re-uploaded your activity.
I might work that way, but I don’t see myself (re)uploading over (a) hundred(s) on Zwift activities. I would also guess you’d lose the Zwift screenshots?
That’s another reason I prefer the activity crop option.
pfffff I’ve a lot of virtual rides on strava. Just checked, over 500. Sounds like a lot of work
Another weirdness, albeit a funny one: users can report surface type and speed limits on Zwift segments too. 🙂 It’s only clearly visible in the mobile app, at the bottom of the Segment page.
If only Strava hadn’t messed with segments in the first place this wouldn’t be much of an issue. I’ve opened many support tickets about this but have been unable to get an answer. Either being told to “wait several weeks” or asked about specific instances while I try to explain that this is a general problem.
It’s laughable they haven’t fixed this yet, but it seems Strava doesn’t employ capable engineers.
Their support system is for tech support only, ie if the user is doing something wrong or needs help. If strava has a bug or a problem they’ll do nothing.
Thanks for the crop trick! The situation actually does seem to apply to long new IRL segments, not just virtual ones. I’d been scratching my head about a leaderboard continuing to show zero attempts for a new 25.5mi segment I created recently, not even my own attempt during the ride I used to create the segment. The crop trick got my attempt to match, and hey, who am I to complain about holding the KOM until someone else rides it going forward? 🙂