Is There a Point to KOM/QOM?

download (3)Love it or hate it, Strava has taken over a huge part of cycling. Many of us have heard the saying that if it is not on Strava then it did not happen. Call it data tracking. Call it a social media site. Call it crap. To be upfront, I am in the Strava (Scotty Brooks / Arnold’s Bike Shop) mix. I will be honest. I have very recently panicked when I could not get a very nice solo ride to upload when I returned to my truck. I enjoy looking at my data. I am data driven in my training; therefore, I am a Strava premium member. Heck, I really enjoy following the professionals and seeing their mind-blowing data. Yes, I have written about the darker side of Strava before. It can become an obsession. KOMs and PRs haunt some people. Some achieve these by just all-out cheating, and others just find . . . let us say, easier ways to break personal records and segments. Here are some of my solutions for Strava the next time their engineers are all sitting around reading my blog:

  1. Strava already records if you are riding in a group. Set the algorithms to set different King of Mountain perimeters if you are in a group, as apposed to riding alone. I have seen, time and time again, a group attack a KOM. What is the purpose? It is KING, not KINGS of the Mountain.
  2. If you are a big-time professional rider, Strava and the whole world knows it. Riding around and crushing KOMs that cannot be re-taken by mere mortals is not a good thing. There should be separate KOMs for those dudes . . . and dudets. God bless those simpletons who have to ride around in Southern France or Italy.
  3. Strava sections that lead into private property that is behind a locked gate is just wrong. If you have to do that to hold a KOM (that you made to begin with), you are not a cyclist. You are just an moron on a bicycle.

I personally do not go out KOM hunting. I know some riders whom their whole cycling experience revolves around finding sections. I think that becomes a part that takes away from the overall experience of riding, but to each his own. If I get a KOM on a section, I am excited. If I lose one, yes, my competitive spirit flares up a bit, but it is NOT the end of the world. I also know of segments in my riding area that have super-human KOMs by questionable riders that I do not even attempt to take. I have a Garmin 520 Edge and enjoy Strava being linked to it through Connect. For example, having a virtual partner with whom I can compete in a section or go against myself from a previous ride is a sweet feature.

Whether Strava is here to stay or just a fad that will be replaced with something else is yet to be determined, but it needs to evolve. The engineers of Strava need to learn from what works and what does not. Updates happen, and that is a good thing for little tweaks here and there, but some parts need an overhaul . . . like KOMs, maybe by Strava and also our way of thinking. To answer the question, the point is to push yourself, train harder, and be rewarded for your INDIVIDUAL effort.

Bon Vélo!

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21 thoughts on “Is There a Point to KOM/QOM?

  1. The chances of me ever getting a QOM are so remote that I don’t even look at them. Many of my rides are locked, just sportives, new routes or events are public. I ride for myself and the enjoyment not chasing others or QOM especially when I know there’re out of my reach. Ride Happy 🙂 whatever that is for you all

      1. Actually no. Most of my buddies enjoy a challenging ride but without any fuss about smashing records. It’s definitely a real phenomenon though. I guess we just don’t buy into that. Also all the KOMs I see are just completely unobtainable (and recorded by people on motorbikes?) 🤔

  2. I don’t see the point in different KOM parameters or categories. Filters yes, as you can already filter by age and weight if you really want to see that. But the fastest is the fastest – whether that be a huge solo effort, in a massive group, ridden by a Pro (or a Pro in a massive group) or aided by a hurricane force tailwind. I’ve been known to “chase” the odd KOM if I know I can snatch it, but mostly I just ride. Not even to set segment PR’s as much these days as many of my top segment times have been helped by favourable conditions at some point in the past.

  3. I’ve never logged a mile on STRAVA. Amazingly, I’ve managed to become quite the cyclist and I actually learned to have fun! I don’t know how that happend…

  4. For me personally, I am seriously data driven as well. But not in the typical cyclist fashion. I do not train. I do not race (well occasionally, maybe 1 or 2 events) I am a data whore because of my background. When I roadraced, everything was based on lap times and circuit sectors. Which enables riders to analyze every part of the track or road they are riding. Naturally, this thought process carried over to my road cycling. I do NOT apologize to anyone for my type of riding and/or sector-segment creations/KOMs.

    I have created nearly a 100 sectors over my area of riding. I hold over a 100 KOMs as well. Most are short, my avg sector length is 0.6km or 600 meters. I have few lounger cornering descents, but the majority are short cornering sectors. 2 or 3 are actually short straight sprints and maybe 5 or 6 are rolling to uphill climbs. I am a KOM hunter in contrast, in fact I am in the KOM Hunter club on Strava.

    As to your assessment of Strava, they do need to do a better job on many levels. The analysis tool sucks imo. Their GPS data is not the most accurate (Ride with GPS is better as well as their mapping feature)

    I agree that there should perhaps be separate categories for Pro’s. But if I had my druthers…there would be separate catgories for wet road/rain segments and group vs individual segments. Shit, I have sprinted 300 meters just 2-3 seconds off an A group freight train…and it were a separate category, I would be one if not the fastest in a few segments. C’est la vie I suppose…same thing in the wet. I push hard through wet corners, my times in some cases are only about 5 seconds off my dry times. I’ll take the risk, because it’s my CHOICE. 😉

    As you said..to each his own! I do not begrudge anyone who holds any type of KOM/QOM. People who claim that there are only certain types of ‘legitimate’ segments are idiots imo. Why? So it fits your narrative? Your riding style?
    Because some Strava tool said so?! LMFAO! I love when I ruffle feathers in my riding area/groups with my sectors. Because deep down, I know that some of these fast guys and girls, who can climb and TT well and have endurance, are mad that a slug like me (I’m quick, NOT fast) Someone who rides very little, can have speeds of 60 to 80 kph through a corner… and blitz tight or sweeping corners and they have difficulty or are hesitant to go all out in blind or decreasing radii turns.

    And I refrain from keeping them private, because I like to challenge the status quo. The ‘inside the box’ thinking that seems to permeate cycling as a whole. It’s amazing how many narratives are false or incorrect yet have been perpetuating for decades or a century. I find a lot roadies are very regimented and short-sighted in cycling. So focused on racing or training, they cannot think outside the box so to speak. You bring an element that is not familiar, or a popular meme and they get upset. I understand,it’s the traits of OCD- which many cyclist have. I have OCD, in other forms. But my point is;

    Freewill and CHOICE are the crux of a free society. If you don’t like it…move on. There’s no infringement of liberty when it comes to KOM/QOMs. Just pride and ego…so I always say… get over yourself! 🙂
    Be more like the MTB riders….chill, enjoy and be happy we’re all on bikes!

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