If you ride a regular series of training loops, using average speed as a metric can be
- An effective contributor to good quality training
- Highly motivating
- Great fun!
I have number of regular loops, from undulating (where I often chase 20 or 21mph average) to hilly (100ft per mile elevation, where I chase 18mph on a good summer day).
I’ve ridden them so many times in all seasons and weather conditions that average speed data is a pretty good metric for measuring my current form, using HR data alongside it (I have no power meter). It’s also a big rush when I get an “average speed PB”.
On point 2, when my motivation is low, setting a number in my head for a ride on a particular day can drive me to knock out a really good, hard, threshold session which, when you throw in some proper hill segments (the ones that cannot easily be wind-assisted!) for some doses of VO2 max, can add up to a much better quality workout than if I had not set an average speed target.
I live at the top of a hill so the last couple of miles are often at TT pace to maintain the target average speed!
I don’t really care what others think of the data (there’s always faster or slower guys) but I do sometimes look at the average speeds of some of my club TT competitors’ Strava rides and gain motivation from it to go out and match their average on a similar hilly route or whatever.
Strava is great fun and each rider uses it differently, and like the OP says, kudos to all Strava riders, fast or slow!