While most of the time I like to train alone, once in a while it would be nice to ride with someone else. Sure, I could join one of the many local group rides on offer, but I find most of them too competitive and fast for me. So unless you have a bunch of friends who live near you and also ride bikes or run, how are you supposed to find a training partner?
Enter Pace Match. Founded by local Bay Area entrepreneur Becky Jaimes, Pace Match is a platform with more than 16,000 users that aggregates fitness data from third-party applications and then uses a proprietary algorithm to reveal matches based on athletic performance and location.
The backend is set so that it can integrate with any platform API like Runkeeper, Fitbit, or Nike+, but the company decided to focus first on acquiring Strava users. Pace Match combs through all the public Strava data to find not only people with a similar pace to yours, but people who run or ride the same routes you do.
Pace Match claims that 90% of users get a match when they log in. I created an account and connected with Strava just to take a quick look at who my matches might be. It returned five athletes — three around the Bay Area, one in PA, and one in NYC; all men. Not a huge amount of matches but I imagine the pool of users is going to have to reach critical mass before it becomes extremely useful.
You may run into people on the same trails or cycling routes from time to time but it can be a bit creepy just to run up to them and say, “hey, wanna run together?” Pace Match is trying to make that connection easier and less creepy where both parties are opting-in to the match making process. I can see this app coming in handy if you regularly travel to a place and would like to find a running partner or if you move to a new city and want to meet people.
Right now Pace Match is a free tool where you can log in, preview your matches, and invite people to run or ride. Jaimes says in the future they will move to a freemium model much like Strava where advanced functions will be available to premium users.
Pace Match is still in beta so has ways to go to be a powerful app but it’s an interesting place to start if you are desperate for riding or running partners or at bare minimum, new people to follow on Strava. While I am open to riding with anyone, it would be great if there was some sort of criteria filter for matching as it would be fun to find other women to ride with in particular.