The Man, the Myth, the Local Legend

Strava King

An interview with Bozeman’s Strava King.

Have you ever been out on the trails, enjoying a pleasant hike or ride in a serene mountainous landscape, only to be interrupted by an incessant uproar from behind: “Strava, Strava, Strava!” You dive off the trail in a last-second moment of self-preservation. When you’re able to look up to see what (almost) hit you, all you can make out is the rear-end of a shiny, top-of-the-line bike and the silhouette of a man in the tightest speed-suit money can buy. Wow, Peet’s Hill is getting pretty intense, you think as you find your feet and brush yourself off. If you’ve ever experienced something like this, you’ve already had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a Bozeman legend. If you’ve never had the honor, consider this your lucky day.

Meet the Strava King—as he insists people call him—a somewhat-celebrated, self-anointed scion of Bozeman’s outdoor royalty. We recently caught up with him on the trails to have a chat... which was surprisingly easy for a target who claims to be so speedy. But apparently, he was just on a scouting run to find more segment records to bag. As we jogged together, we chatted about everything from his not-so-humble origins to his long-term goals, and we left the interview feeling very little empathy and support for his mission. This is the Strava King.

O/B: First off, where are you from? And how did you end up in Bozeman?
Strava King: Ugh, I hate this question. In fact, I’ve gotten so tired of explaining myself, time and time again, that I started just telling people I’m from here. It typically ends the conversion a lot quicker than telling people I’m from Boulder. Anyway, I’ve got better stuff to talk about than myself and where I’m from—you know, like all of my Strava records, my training regimen, my nutrition program, and my off-day routine.

O/B: What exactly is a KOM?
SK: King of the Mountain? Have you been living under a rock? It’s when you map out a segment of trail online, and then do it faster than anyone else on Strava. Traditionally, it was only applicable to known courses, like the Leverich loop, but I realized that if I make my own custom segments, they’re a lot easier to win. Did you know I have the KOM for the biking segment from the Crystal to Tarantino’s? Bagged that one the other night. Only ran over two sorority girls.

O/B: And you claim to have the most segment records in Bozeman, correct?
SK: How else would I have acquired my trail name: Danger? This stuff ain’t for the faint of heart, bro.

O/B: Okay, Danger, you must have some trade secrets to get to the top, no?
SK: It takes a great mind like mine to see beyond the segments and numbers—to understand the bigger picture. There are trends and patterns that open opportunities for outside-the-box thinkers. Let’s just say, a little gerrymandering goes a long way. Since I created and split up most of the segments in the first place, I have control over their parameters. So if someone beats me, I can just modify the start and finish until I have the crown again, all from the couch. I’m gonna be sitting on this throne for a long time to come.

O/B: C’mon. Off the record, how do you do it?
SK: Between you and me, there are a few tricks up my sleeve. If I’m going for a record push, say in Highland Glen, I take a lap beforehand and prop open all the gates so I don’t have to slow down and reopen them. A year or two back, some cows got loose—but you know what they say, no use crying over spilled milk. Another, more artistic approach comes in the form of post-record landscaping. You know that rock garden that miraculously appeared at Truman? Or the bermed turn that went flat overnight up Corbly? Let’s just say, no one can go quite as fast as I once could.

O/B: Before you focused on digital fame, did you ever actually race?
SK: Well, I didn’t do so well in the traditional racing scene. You see, I’m not the fastest guy out there. I missed the podium on a couple of Beer Run 5ks before realizing the digital realm is where I thrive. By the way, could we slow down a bit? I’m feeling a little winded.

O/B: We’re already doing a 10:30 pace, but sure. Do you even own a bike?
SK: I’ve had a couple good trusty ones [gasp] in my day, but currently, I’m [wheeze] transitioning. I’m more focused on [eckk] running these days.

O/B: Are you gonna be alright?
SK: I just spent a few months at sea level in Mexico... you really think I could live in this place all year? No way, people are way too fast.

O/B: I think I’m catching onto you.
SK: Look, can we just end this thing? Anyways, I just got a new segment record.

O/B: What? How? I’ve been running ahead of you this whole time!
SK: Sorry, brother. My game, my rules. Next time, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

O/B: Can you meet me in the dark alley behind the office at 9pm for a follow-up interview?

Editor’s note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Strava King was unable to finish the interview. You might see him around town this summer; look for the stark incongruity between sporty clothing and obvious lack of fitness, as well as the black eye and broken nose.