Strava Announces Major Changes to Virtual Segments

Strava Announces Major Changes to Virtual Segments

In a support post this morning, Strava announced big changes that will drastically reduce the number of segments showing on Zwift activities. Here is how Strava summarized the changes:

  • The least popular virtual ride segments have been made private, but none have been deleted. Any segments you’ve created can be found on the Strava website by selecting Dashboard > My Segments > Created Segments.
  • Any newly created virtual segments will be private.

In Strava’s words, these changes should “… remove clutter and noise so athletes can experience the segments that matter the most.” Let’s dig into this a bit more…

Some Background

Virtual segments, and specifically Zwift virtual segments, have been putting a strain on Strava’s systems for years. Strava was designed with real-world segment traffic in mind, and that is very different from the sort of traffic Zwift brings. In the real world, riders are spread out and so are the segments. On Zwift, riders are concentrated into small areas, with tens (hundreds!) of thousands riding each day.

This strain has become clear in recent months, when we haven’t been able to create Zwift Insider verified segments for routes of any substantial length due to Strava timing out in the “Check for Duplicates” step of its segment creation workflow. It appears there are simply too many public segments for Strava to compare against.

Additionally, the sheer the number of Strava segments for Zwift courses is just silly. And Strava’s automated systems for choosing which segments to display or hide have never worked well on Zwift.

New Segments=Private Segments

With this change, all newly-created virtual segments will be private, meaning only the creator can see the segment.

Note: at the time of this post, this change doesn’t appear to be fully implemented. There was still a checkbox in the segment creator tool to “Make this segment private”.

Existing Segments Made Private

Strava says “The least popular virtual ride segments have been made private”. They aren’t disclosing just how many segments were switched to private with this change, but from what I’m hearing it’s a “significant portion of existing segments.” When I asked Strava what sort of “signals” they are using to decide which segments stay public and which ones are switched to private, they said:

We’re reviewing segments based on engagement post-activity upload and understanding whether athletes look at the segment analysis and leaderboards. Segments with lowest engagement are made private.

Sounds sensible to me. Odd that they didn’t mention whether or not people have starred a segment, but my guess is this is included in their engagement metrics as well.

Private segments are only visible to a segment’s creator, meaning they aren’t matched against the activities of other riders. So switching many public segments to private means two good things: less processing required in terms of segment matching for Strava, and fewer segments showing up in activities.

Of course, Zwifters can still see their own results on any segments they’ve created on their ride activity details page.

What About Zwift Insider Verified Segments?

Strava and ZwiftHQ reached out to me at Zwift Insider with news about this change, because they recognize that our large set of “Zwift Insider verified” Strava segments are important to the community and should be kept public. I was grateful for that! So it sounds like our segments will be kept public.

In the short-term, creating new Zwift Insider verified segments will require an extra step or two of reaching out to Strava to get the segment made public. But I can deal with that.

What About My Segments?

In my chats with Zwift, it is clear they are well aware that the community has created many bespoke segments that are used to track various events. It is unclear how many (if any) of these segments will be switched to private, but hopefully between Strava’s automated triggers and Zwift’s communication with Strava the useful community segments will stay public.

When I asked Strava what the process was for “forcing” a segment to be public, they said:

…if the Zwift team recognizes a segment as important or significant and lets Strava know, then Strava will make it public.

Wrapping It Up

A few weeks ago, Strava rolled out new algorithms to catch impossible efforts upon uploads. They say today’s change is the next step in “making the segment experience better for athletes”. I agree!

As I said over 3 years ago, “I don’t care if I got a PR on a random .2 mile section of London titled ‘your mom smells like donuts’! Reducing the clutter will make it much easier for athletes to track their progress on segments they actually care about.

My only concern is that useful, community-created segments will remain public. I’m sure we’ll hear from the Zwift community if that doesn’t happen, but I’m hoping Strava has implemented the auto-privatization of existing segments so it’s all quite painless.

What Do You Think?

Does this change seem like a good one? What are your thoughts? Share below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Rory Lade
Rory Lade
1 year ago

Ahh now I can’t see if I PR’d 352 segments in a 20mi ride. lol

David
David
1 year ago

Great idea. Zwift rides have too many segments on them

Linda Messinger
Linda Messinger (@lmessinger)
1 year ago

This is a great idea. Most of the time from the Strava map, it’s hard to see exactly where the segment was anyway.

Ryan Shank
Ryan Shank
1 year ago

best change ever to strava in a while

Michael Snasdell
Michael Snasdell
1 year ago

Phew, thank heavens for that. Some of those micro segments drive me nuts. Love the official Zwift Insider ones though. So thanks for those 🙂

Mitchell
Mitchell (@mitchell)
1 year ago

Great move, now if they could just remove everything except the ZwiftInsider verified ones that would be wonderful.

Jon Wakefield
Jon Wakefield
1 year ago

Perfect! I’ve spent so much time going through the ‘hidden segments’ to unhide the only segments that matter – the ‘Zwift Insider Verified’ ones of course 🙂 … so this should make reviewing segment times and efforts a lot easier… Good stuff.

Pat
Pat
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Wakefield

“control F” (text finder) is your friend there, makes it very fast to pull up the only ones i care about (zwift Insider) and then hide everything else.

Jelle
Jelle
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Wakefield

Haha, been doing that consistently over the last year… Only one annoys me “Shanes third nipple” or something like that, wtf?

Denzyl O'Donoghue
Denzyl O'Donoghue
1 year ago

Zwift rocks! Absolutely awesome, you are keeping me sane in a 100% lockdown! Thank you.

Brandon
Brandon
1 year ago

Ive never understood why people at Zwift don’t work with Strava directly. Instead of

Watopia showing up in a read world location Strava should have created a virtual map for Zwift. Zwift should have then created accurate routes for all the routes, sprints and climbs. I then won’t have let individuals create their own public segments.

this change will be a good one, if the segments you rely on remain and are populated by all riders

Brandon Johnson
Trusted Member
Brandon Johnson (@brandon_j_585)
1 year ago
Reply to  Brandon

Nice change on Strava, and I Agree 100%, Brandon. Further, I don’t know why Strava and Zwift don’t join forces on all levels. I would love to have a SINGLE platform where I could track all of my outdoor and indoor rides and have the community. Zwava? (kidding)

Jelle
Jelle
1 year ago
Reply to  Brandon

Veloviewer is doing exactly that in a very nice way. Combined with the leader board, I’m happily paying for that service.

Kyle Bredesky
Kyle Bredesky (@kylebredesky)
1 year ago

Yes!!!!

Neil Owens
Neil Owens
1 year ago

love this change, so annoying having to hide all those silly segments. Just keep the zwift insider ones!

James Daley
James Daley
1 year ago

Hallelujah!

.KR
.KR
1 year ago

If private segments include only times for the owner (?), then they are substantially less useful – no ranking. Or, perhaps they include times for other riders, without those other riders being aware of it or seeing those segments?

Matt Bowman
Matt Bowman
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

YES!! Insider verified are all I ever pay attention to. Thank you for your efforts.

Sam
Sam
1 year ago

I may get my strava premium back cause listen folk STRAVA IS BACK IN DA GAME

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 year ago

Will be interesting to see how well they strike a balance in keeping the “useful” segments public. Based on how well they have done in showing/hiding segments, I’m not super-optimistic.

David Copp
David Copp
1 year ago

Strava must be getting tired of handling all the flagged KOMs on Zwift segments where people are clocking in at 108 kph on a 2% uphill grade. Does Strava even deal with flagged Zwift segments? I wouldn’t blame them or be surprised if they don’t even bother with them.

Matthew Franklin
Matthew Franklin
1 year ago

Great news, but I do hope some of the more challenging milestone segments remain, like ones acheived at 200km

Cris To
Cris To
1 year ago

Where to get this 200k achievement?

P.Harris
P.Harris
1 year ago

Amen! It’s about time!

Rick Lewis
Rick Lewis
1 year ago

Thats great, works for me, now if Strava would include the biggest climb achievement in Zwift on our Strava profile page that would be sweet. I don’t see myself in Hawaii anytime soon.

Jon
Jon
1 year ago

Makes sense. Now if they would just work with Zwift Insider to get a sensible set of segments available !

Bryan
Bryan
1 year ago

Hopefully this will help with trying to decipher which KOM is the real one since 18 segments show up for the same location 🤦

Robert Barrett
1 year ago

I only ever look at the ones that list immediately when I open the activity, and ignore the several hundred others. The only segments I would like to see regularly are the sprints and the full climbs. it’s not like I’m a KoM contender 🙂

David
David
1 year ago

About damn time!!

Bob Schraven
Bob Schraven (@b-schraven)
1 year ago

Perfect Idea!!

Mick Such
Mick Such
1 year ago

Brilliant idea n move.

Now we just need Strava to allow us to record the sprint segments on Zwift that are normally to small to be recorded. 😋

Jer Walker
Active Member
Jer Walker (@jerwalker)
1 year ago

Not really related, but I saw another change on my end this week. I can no longer filter any segment on a Zwift ride by people I follow. Only IRL rides provides this filter. Any feedback on that?

Andrew
Andrew
1 year ago
Reply to  Jer Walker

I noticed the same thing in the Android app, it’s still there if you access via the website. I asked Strava support but they haven’t responded with an answer yet

Gareth
Gareth
1 year ago
Reply to  Jer Walker

I had the same issue on iOS. Contacted Strava support and this was the reply…

Thanks for writing in. We may temporarily disable some filtered leaderboards during peak upload times to improve athlete experience. You may notice that Virtual Rides have these (one or two) views turned off longer than other activities. We appreciate your understanding and patience.

In the meantime, as you noticed, when these filtered leaderboards are disabled, you may be able to view this information on the website

Jer Walker
Jer Walker (@jerwalker)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gareth

Thanks Gareth. That’s good info. Much appreciated.

Henrik Roslund
Henrik Roslund
1 year ago

I almost hide all Segments that are not tagged ”Zwift Insider”

Brian Brophy
Brian Brophy
1 year ago

This is fantastic! Most of the segments that have been made for zwift are totally pointless (to me I guess) and looking through the ride is so annoying. I wish the koms and sprint segments in zwift would be the only ones that show.

John
John
1 year ago

Zwift insider segments are great. I would like to see climbs of substantial length, loops, official courses, etc. The stuff that pulls up a clock in game to count your time matters, really nothing else does. Maybe like 5, 10 and 25 lap volcano loops too.

Gerrie Delport
Gerrie Delport (@gerriedelport)
1 year ago

This is good news, I have all the Zwift Insider segments starred, and hide the rest, but new random ones just keep popping up. Thanks Zwift, Zwift instder (Eric) and Strava.

Tronny
Tronny
1 year ago

People still use Strava?

Tony Beanie Richardson
Tony Beanie Richardson
1 year ago

About time. The number of segments were getting stupid and who has the time to make these segments up….I for one couldn’t care less and am just glad they wont be clogging up my Strava Feed any longer.

Eric
Eric
1 year ago

Hoping there will be active discrimination between actual ZIV segments and the imposters…

Alan Farnes
Super Member
Alan Farnes (@alan_taylor_farnes)
1 year ago

I’ve thought this from the day I started Zwifting. The segments should be the ones with Zwift start/finish lines and leaderboards and maybe a few others. The clutter is useless and annoying.

Alan Farnes
Super Member
Alan Farnes (@alan_taylor_farnes)
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Farnes

And routes.

Gareth
Gareth
1 year ago

Another step Strava has taken is to remove segment comparison for people you ‘follow’ from iOS

Gareth
Gareth
1 year ago
Reply to  Gareth

For virtual rides that is

Gareth
Gareth
1 year ago
Reply to  Gareth

Reply from Strava support…

Thanks for writing in. We may temporarily disable some filtered leaderboards during peak upload times to improve athlete experience. You may notice that Virtual Rides have these (one or two) views turned off longer than other activities. We appreciate your understanding and patience.

In the meantime, as you noticed, when these filtered leaderboards are disabled, you may be able to view this information on the website

Wesley Stocker
Wesley Stocker (@ph4rout)
1 year ago

My VeloViewer score is likely to tank from this, but I’m happy to clear out the duplicates.

Pat
Pat
1 year ago

what??? no love for “2.98 miles from my start to finish” on the Innsbruck map???

It’s actually about time this happened. Rode the Lutscher CCW today, hide 70 or so segments that are useless and another 6 that either describe most of the climb or the descent. Rather stick with the Zwift Insider ones as they are the most consistent of the bunch and I know are setup correctly.

tempocyclist.com
1 year ago

Probably the best update Strava has released in, ummm, years!!

David G
David G
1 year ago

Strava can change all they want, since they stopped working w Relive maps, I’ve seen over 20 cyclist switch over . They’re irrelevant. They’re trying to come back.

Cris To
Cris To
1 year ago
Reply to  David G

Switch over to what?

David Riley
David Riley
1 year ago

I’ve literally spent minutes hiding all the stupid Zwift segments (not insider verified segments though). Now I won’t need to do that! Good job Strava.

Rudolfo Poomp
Rudolfo Poomp
1 year ago

Oh man! I hope the “I think this is where Anakin fell in” in the volcano survives!

josh
josh
1 year ago
Reply to  Rudolfo Poomp

ok, that is the only stupid and short segment that i hope survives as well….

Robin Eyre
Robin Eyre
1 year ago

The only ones I care about are the “zwift insider verified” segments. They cover the most logical sections, such as official routes and timed sections like sprints and climbs. Anything else is.just noise and gets in the way. I’ve hidden loads, but more keep.aplearing. great move Strava! 😎

.KR
.KR
1 year ago

Not being able to create a public segment (if that is the change) seems like overkill. This would trash a feature I’ve enjoyed using — creating longer routes, for example. Still possible to create of course, but no ranking.

Understood that segment clutter is a problem, but I’m afraid Strava may not have the right fix here. Setting up hiding to work better could fix the problem without breaking the usefulness of public segments.

Tim
Tim
1 year ago
Reply to  .KR

Agreed. If they just had their code to decide which segments to hide in a better state we wouldn’t have this problem. Which makes me think that maybe there is another reason behind this change: they want to reduce the load on their servers.

Dan Nicolescu
Dan Nicolescu (@dan-nicolescu)
1 year ago

👍 Not too long ago I spent a lot of time hiding lots of segments and then looking through the hidden ones to unhide the Zwift Insider Verified ones along with some climbs I thought worthy of being shown. As a funny note, I was searching in the browser for the word “verified” to ease my task, and I found one segment referring to somebody’s third nipple, with “zwiftinsider verified” tag. See the missing space. I really hope Strava makes that and alikes private. The number of segments that overlap almost completely is insane. This change is welcome. Looking forward… Read more »

Pete
Pete
1 year ago

The zwift insider verified segments are the only ones I pay attention to so pretty pleased with this however quite often the segments don’t show up in Strava. I’ve done box hill twice this week and on both occasions that segment didn’t show up. All the rest of the stupid segments did…

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

You now can’t see how you stack up with riders you follow, so for me it’s a thumbs down

R R
R R
1 year ago

That’s great news. There were so many I didn’t care to look anymore for segment achievements. I only really care about the K/QOMs, sprints, complete routes and the segments the majority (Zwift Insider?) thinks are interesting. It makes it small races inside a race.

mcsound
mcsound
1 year ago

Not the Zwift related but I hope Strava will soon separate e-bike segments and standard segments in real life rides in order to stop endless holywars between athletes and electric KOM hunters.

Matthew Whitwell
Matthew Whitwell
1 year ago

Good news. I’ve been spending my time doing this manually already and only really value the zwiftinsider segments anyway.

PAUL OZIER
1 year ago

Good!!! I really get frustrated when I look at segments after a ride and there are hundreds of them, 90% covering the same section of road.

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