Strava – Flagging Virtual Activities

(This is just a rant, so if you’re not into that sort of thing, stop reading…)

Not for the first time, I had (an old) virtual ride on Strava flagged.

(9/19/22: The link is to the Garmin recording, as my Strava account is no longer public, so the KOM is irrelvant now 😎)

I know that sometimes this is just done out of spite for losing one’s KOM, or because someone thinks that if you ride in ERG mode, your Watts are not really Watts.

(Trust me: I’ve been accused of “cheating” that way, see for instance: Rouvy Double Legend)

I often do not even bother to “appeal”, although this – flagging of a virtual ride – is against Strava’s own policy.

They will not implement a change making this flagging impossible, though…

Whenever I do appeal, the flag gets removed and re-flagging disabled and they confirm that it is against their policy.

Hank, however, is the smart guy at Strava support, so I got a different response from him, but the flag was removed.

I’m always open to suggestions, but sadly, I do not fit in any model from any platform and his suggestion is “off point”.

And speaking of platforms: I’ve tried them all and a lot of software based solutions as well…

As I do little else than riding sweet spot/threshold, I – myself and my heart rate – have adapted to it and if you look at power distribution zones against heart rate zones, you can see that.

While at the time I wrote the Rouvy post I was (also) using the old definition(s), many platforms have since adopted different approaches and redefined “FTP”.

As I have used Xert for about 18 months, I’ve learned the value of TP and LTP and while TP may seem just another abbreviation for the same thing, the “F” is deliberately left out and not only for possible copyright infringements…

So, both indoor and outdoor, I can perform above the FTP that Garmin puts me at. I actually wrote them, asking why a 300+ Watts outdoor ride for way longer than an hour did not result in a suggested FTP update.

And I got the useless response, “FTP is not calculated based on indoor rides”.

Bro, I told you this was during an outdoor ride…

Anyway, they just look at your best 20-minute effort and take 90% of that. While I can ride a flat 300 Watt indoor ride, this is a lot harder outdoors.

The average will be the same, but the 20-minute intervals do not necessarily lead to a proposed increase.

So, I do not bother to change it, as my training is based on that number anyway, even if it’s not my FTP.

And in case you’re wondering: Garmin also calculates my VO2Max between 72 and 78 (ml / kg / min) over the past 6 months. My last lab test returned 70 last February…

But, while the thing with a “low” FTP is that it influences the “intensity” stats of an activity, I do not generate less Watts and there is no reason to go all nuts about it.

Obviously, as you cannot manipulate a Neo 2T, you could get a faster time by lowering your weight. But that only works for climbs (just sayin’…)

As I have plenty of outdoor rides to show that my indoor activities are not showing a significant increase in Watts, I wish people (that do go nuts) would go through the trouble of comparing them.

I know that I do, before I judge and even if there would be reasonable doubt, I would not flag anyone’s indoor activity – I may if (part) of an outdoor activity is obviously fake, like leaving your recording running while in a car.

(Having said that: many of the KOM’s in my area are at incredible speeds. But, given that the wind is a huge influence, that people often ride in big groups and take turns in front and/or that they are paced by a car or other motorized vehicle, I do not bother to flag in general.)

Anyway, here’s the correspondence I’ve had with Strava so far – I’ll update this post in the comments if Hank has another smart response/suggestion.

Of note: I’ve re-written two or three things to clear errors from the original…


Robert Rijnders
Wed 22/02/23 05:58
Dear Hank,

I have a Tacx Neo 2T, so don’t worry about calibration. Did it occur to you that maybe my FTP setting would be low?

It is but <it> is also meaningless. Garmin <Edge> calculates my FTP at 267, whereas I have outdoor rides at 300 <well> over an hour long and it didn’t suggest an update.

They only look at your 20-minute best and then take 90% (I think) of that.

In Xert terms, my TP would be my traditional FTP, i.e. the power I can sustain for hours, which is not the old definition of FTP…

<Technically, see above, I think that would be Xert’s LTP, but in my case, these two numbers are almost equal…>

And more importantly, you are overlooking the fact that there are literally tens of thousands of registrations that are complete BS, especially when Bkool is involved and they hardly ever get flagged.

Best virtual time on the Alpe d’Huez is faster than any pro in real life would be able to and not seldomly, I see rides at 700 Watts for over an hour and/or climbs at 10% being tackled at 45 kph…

I never bother to flag them, plus IT IS AGAINST YOUR POLICY.

Met vriendelijke groet,
Kind Regards,
Robert Rijnders

From: Hank (Strava Customer Support) <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2022 01:19
To: Robert R <>
Subject: Strava ticket #2343442 Activity Flag Support Request

Hank (Help Center)

Feb 22, 2022, 5:19 PM MST


Thanks for writing in here, my apologies for any delay in responding to your request.

I have removed the flags on your activity, but I would recommend performing a hardware calibration on your trainer and/or power meter as it appears to be reading high (118% intensity, 312 avg watts). That should help mitigate any future flags on your virtual activities.

Do let me know if you require any further assistance.

Much appreciated.

Strava Support Team
See what keeps us all going, day in and day out:

Robert R.

Feb 20, 2022, 6:21 AM MST

Activity Flag Support Request:

This was flagged twice today, so I assume by the same person and I’m getting sick of it. Once again: this is a virtual activity. STOP ALLOWING PEOPLE TO FLAG THEM!


2 thoughts on “Strava – Flagging Virtual Activities”

  1. Another update – also not helping, but you got to give Hank Kudos for trying…


    From: Robert Rijnders
    Subject: Re: Strava ticket #2343442 Activity Flag Support Request
    Date: 24 February 2022 at 07:17:03 CET
    To: Strava Customer Support

    Dear Hank,

    Your attempt is almost adorable, but coupled with the previous ones of your fellow “support” staff and the long history of “letting things go” despite the feedback of athletes – like myself – is not.

    Strava is much like any other “social” platform: it has let things slip, concentrated on the wrong things, ignoring warning signs.

    If I upload a “ride” from within my car with speeds up to 120 kph, I immediately get a warning that the data “looks wrong”. If I virtually speed up a mountain at 60 kph, nothing happens.

    This is because virtual activities have for years – a decade – been of no importance to Strava. They never counted for anything, until Covid-19. Now that they do count, you’re confronted with a mess that could have been avoided if you had listened to feedback five or more years ago.

    The loud-mouthed, hard core outdoor athletes, have always had the upper hand.

    And Strava now trying to clean up things? Good luck with that…


    Hank (Help Center)
    Feb 23, 2022, 3:01 PM MST

    Thanks for the reply here on this.

    We do try and always encourage athletes to use their best judgement when it comes to flagging activities, but there will of course always be bad actors or those who may be confused when it comes to how flags should be properly used. We absolutely rely on our athlete community to support the integrity of the platform as a whole, and especially when it comes to public leaderboards.

    We are actively exploring ways to continue ‘cleaning up’ the data on segment leaderboards, and especially virtual leaderboards. It is, of course, a wide ranging and complex project but we feel it is worth pursuing.

    Your feedback here is much appreciated. Do let me know if you require any further assistance.

    Otherwise, do take care.

    Strava Support Team

  2. Well, smart Hank did respond, but although my expectations were already low, he actually managed to make it worse…


    From: Robert Rijnders

    Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2022 19:12

    To: Strava Customer Support
    Subject: Re: Strava ticket #2343442 Activity Flag Support Request

    Dear Hank,

    You guys tell something different each time, point me to another (sub)article, or whatever springs into mind, but I’m used to that.

    In any case, even so, looking at this particular article, it’s pretty much up to any athlete to decide what qualifies as “suspicious”.

    You dropped the ball on my activity in that respect and conveniently do not address any of the (other) points I raised.

    I’m increasingly annoyed by responses like yours. I know you genuinely don’t give two cents, but I think I’ll pass on continuing to pay for a sloppy service.


    Hank (Help Center)
    Feb 23, 2022, 10:10 AM MST


    Thanks for the reply here.

    However, you can take a look at our Segment Leaderboard Guidelines article here and see that in certain cases, flagging of virtual activities is permitted:

    Apologies for any confusion on that. Do let me know if you require any further assistance.

    Much appreciated.

    Strava Support Team

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