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A comical question more than anything, but yeah a personal one as well.

One "clown" recently took a KOM I've had for over 2 years, and he did it fair-and-square. No argument there.

However, he argued with me that I had that KOM because I drove a car, yet I've got proof I rode over areas that a car cannot go on, and I don't own a motorbike.

So he went on a vendetta and took out all of my KOMs! Bloody hell!

Ok, so he's faster than me. So what?

Or should I raise up and take him head on?

Do we really care about KOMs that much? Is it all meant to be friendly competition, or do some of you actually defend these things to the death?

  • 4
    Ignore the annoying people on the internet. – Greg Hewgill Mar 7 '18 at 2:15
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    Belongs here. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 7 '18 at 2:55
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    When you say "took out" do you mean he went out and beat all your times? Or he flagged all your KOM rides ? If they're flagged you can just unflag them (something like "trust me-this is okay" or some phrasing.) – Criggie Mar 7 '18 at 6:06
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    "life's too short" +1 for that realisation. – Criggie Mar 7 '18 at 8:41
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    Strava's just a convenient way of letting the world know where and when you're riding. Times and distances should be taken with a few grains of salt; on one of my rides it shows me teleporting a distance of five or six miles. – EvilSnack Mar 9 '18 at 14:05
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There is way too much emphasis on Strava KOMs, especially seeing there is minimal data integrity control.

There are people in every region that I've tracked that make it their mission to be on top. Quite frankly they can have it and some people need that validation.

Strava as a system has so many holes, that the 'value' you can assign to the data should be minimal.

For example:

  • You can manually manipulate your xml data and achieve any KOM you want
  • You can use any powered vehicle and no-one would know
  • There is no consistency in GPS coverage, esp between devices. I've seen multiple segments with 2s/3s times just because the data got messed up due to mobile coverage.

If you feel the need to challenge a rider, enter a race. Timing is better, and head to head you can see who's got it in real life.

On the other hand, I find it very useful for training - plotting your mental state against actual times. Typically you would use the same setup for most rides, so you can expect the same data integrity and therefore plot gains as relative to your own performances.

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    The now defunct digital epo web site had made manipulating gps tracks for Strava dominance beyond trivial. Also many grab KOMs while on club rides, which is another way to make it “easier” to grab KOMs. – Rider_X Mar 7 '18 at 4:03
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    I guess I got lucky that I had several KOMs, in sneaky places that no one would want to challenge, which defeats the purpose of real challenging moments between friends anyway. So he can have em! hahaha.. life's too short. – Fandango68 Mar 7 '18 at 6:52
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Challenge if you feel up to it, or move on. Those are unfortunately your only two options. I personally think moving on is probably best. As pointed out in other answers, Strava has no standardization and no oversight. There is no way to know if anyone is playing fair and I think everyone is taking KOMs too seriously.

My personal opinion was that KOMs were the best when it first started as people were less obsessed and as a result less prone to cheating or taking advantage of various situations (e.g., unusual wind patterns, drafting vehicles, fast club rides). Now that Strava KOMs are becoming very popular, people are descending into all sorts of madness in order to snag as many as possible. This then forces others to do the same in order to keep competitive, which is really a recipe for disaster. All in all, I think KOMs have basically jumped the shark.

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Its really petty - but I think I've been The Other Guy to someone else.

There's a short segment near my home, and I had the KOM on it for ages, of 31 seconds. A fellow strava user comes along and gets 29 seconds, so I work hard, and ended up equalling his time for 7 runs. This was gutting so I worked harder, and used compare to identify where I was losing time (was not entering the segment fast enough.)

And then a good wind let me do the segment in 27 seconds. Six weeks later I get 27 seconds again.

So the only way to get ahead of him in the system is to get ahead of him on your bike, and do a better time.

  • Plan your route beforehand.
  • Lighten your bike - carry less stuff.
  • Pick a day when there is a good tailwind.
  • Remember to start strava's recording on your device. (easy to miss)
  • Go there calm - warm up but don't hammer anything till you get to the segment.
  • Sip some little amount of water before you start the segment.
  • If the segment starts at an intersection with traffic lights, stand back 100 metres and time your run to hit the green light at full speed.

If the segment is short (ie under a minute) then Merck's suggestion of "Start Fast, Ride the Middle Fast, Finish Fast" applies. You essentially want to sprint the whole thing, maybe even out of the saddle if you can do so. Its okay to feel slow in the end, but look at your strava speed graph and see if you did slow down, much or not at all.

For longer segments, push hard but you can sit down. Stay aero and work on maintaining your fast speed, and not flagging at the end.

  • At the end of the segment, ride through the finish at full speed (if safe) and then go at least 20 metres further. Ideally keep riding for a good 50 metres before slowing down.
  • Then ride home safely, calm and relaxed.

My final comment is probably the main point though:

A Strava time is WAY less important than your safety.

Don't put yourself in danger to equalise or beat this wally. Remember Strava tries to make it about personal challenges between riders, where in reality the only one you should be striving against is your earlier times.

Consider changing Strava's options to "Display my own results first" which makes your times the default, and you can then pick "all times" from the drop down.

  • +1 for ideas on how to prepare for KOMing. I liked the last bit... yes, I hate feeling like I am 120th in some segments... but that's ok. Most of them were done in cars, and no one's flagged the ride yet. – Fandango68 Mar 7 '18 at 23:37
  • @Fandango68 there are segments outside the local bike parks here called "catching cars" specifically intended to catch people driving off after a ride at the local bike park. Doesn't help other roads though. – Criggie Mar 8 '18 at 7:53
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    @Fandango68 also, don't be disheartened that this question was closed for being a bad fit with a Q&A site. Remember we have a Bicycles Chat for the less-structured conversation. – Criggie Mar 8 '18 at 7:54

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