In May of last year I started playing a “game” called The Great Distance Derby. For a $25 fee you are included in the group and the point of the game is to GPS the miles you ride and then enter them in a community leader board where you are tracked along with all the other players. There is also a closed Facebook group open only to the players as a space to share pictures and stories of your time on your horse.
Mostly I’ve enjoyed playing the game. It has been cool to see how many miles we go per ride/week/month, how we stack up against others and the group of people that play are supportive and fun.
The game is pretty much run by one individual. She spends a ton of time and energy organizing, communicating and making sure the whole thing runs smoothly. She does a great job and her energy is always positive and motivational. I appreciate her commitment and all she does for the group.
At the beginning of this year, however, I started to find the whole process a little cumbersome. Remembering to turn my GPS on before each ride got harder and harder and I didn’t like the amount of drain it put on the battery of my phone, especially when out riding, what if there were a situation I actually needed my phone. No emergency call could be made, but at least I know I rode 6.34 miles.
In addition to being aware of the GPS on the trail, once home the miles then have to be logged in three different places. The comments of my team page, my personal tracking spreadsheet and then on the actual leader board. This only contributed to the cumbersome feeling I was already having about the game.
AND there is a piece of the game that really bugs me. A piece I have been trying to let go since it started and for some reason I just cannot. In an attempt to keep the group “drama free” the Facebook posts are heavily moderated. You cannot post a status or picture that doesn’t go through moderation first. I’d really like to see the group trusted to follow the rules and corrected if they don’t instead of censored from beginning. The DD has about 185 riders so when I participated in The Challenge this year with 1500 riders the spotlight really shined for me on just how ridiculous this was. The Challenge Facebook page stayed positive, bully free and supportive in spite of having no one monitor how we interacted with one another .
I had told myself I would play the game until the end of March, and assess how I was feeling as we entered into Spring and heavy riding season, but the truth is I don’t see myself changing how I feel in the next week and I think the best choice at this point is to officially withdraw from The Derby.