We all do it… Lets face it. Some of us like to talk about it more than others, and then some of us are quite shy about it. Sometimes it a spur of the moment thing, other times you’ve really thought about it, built it up in your mind to fever pitch levels and even planned it out.
You’ll have friends that do it to unhealthy levels, even to the point where you start to worry about their safety. Others are quite brash about it and are happy to declare before even leaving home that they’re going to nail it.
You even have friends that like to get together in order to make themselves KOM. Yes, there are many ways to get that sweet little crown in your Strava feed post upload, that hot eClimax to your ride so you can give everyone following you the cycling finger at your feats of strength or radness.
Unless you’re the Unabomber, its pretty clear at this point I’m talking about getting a KOM on Strava. If you didn’t pick that up and have already left for Pornhub, then respect, but you will then miss out on my Dirty guide to KOMing, as well as outing those types currently out there KOMing all over the show.
KOMing by yourself
When you first discovered it, it was actually quite easy to KOM by yourself… There was plenty of backroads where you could hide yourself away and get it done. But as the years have gone by, things have become desensitised and its harder and harder to get there alone.
Leaderboards have blown out, people have started using a number of aids to KOM on everyone else and perhaps the thrill just isn’t there for you any more… Plus, a whole lot of unsavoury characters have arrived on the scene (see below) that means its just not the same any more. Chances are you’re KOMing solo less and less these days, instead now its a group thing. Mind you, when it does happen its pretty thrilling now innit?
So, unless you live in the midst of the Potato field lined roads of Niseko, powered solely by Udon, chances are you have got into the habit of getting your Stravagasim happening with the helpful hands, and legs, of others.
KOMing with others
Table for two – By far the most intimate arrangement, usually made up of just you and the partner you trust the most. You meet early in the morning, in a secluded car park somewhere and with very little said, you get down to the business of making each other KOM. The usual format is you take turns to pull each other, but there are no set rules here, so just depends on how up for it you’re both feeling.
If you’re smart about it, one of you doesn’t finish the segment, leaving the impression for less observant followers that it was done solo, increasing respective legend status. Or perhaps you just like to smash it out there as a double act to let the whole world know what you were up to. I respect it, nothing to hide or be ashamed of, especially when a fuckbag gets taken down in the crossfire…
It feels a little bit dirty when you get home, you’re spent, worn out and wreaking of KOM. But when you upload and see the results it feels so good… giggly good… chances are while you know its not really fair on everyone else, you’ll send a message later on in the day from under your desk: “Lets do it again on Friday morning eh?”
The Pace line – Usually utilised by the riding group that has a Lance/Cunt like figure among them, yes, you all think he’s a bit of a cunt, but generally no one says anything to avoid having to deal with said cuntiness. His Lordship decides he wants to KOM all over a certain segment, which is not currently owned by the team/him and therefore assembles a well drilled unit to carry him to glory.
You may think the stress is on the Boss, but no, the other 4 to 6 riders carrying KOM Vader to digital climax are the ones under the pump as he soft pedals his turns. NO one wants to be the dude that drops the ball, leaves a gap, doesn’t hold 400 watts or fails to do their turn as instructed. You then get to buy the Boss a coffee for KOMing all over you, plus take on board the failure if he doesn’t manage to take the crown.
The Gang Bang – Somewhat similar to the pace line, but tends to finish quite differently. Yes, its a group of well drilled riders, hammering the fuck out of it and all taking turns to give it their all… But as it gets closer to KOMing, it descends into chaos. Alliances are put aside and its every man for himself with that opportunity to KOM so tantalisingly close. There may be pushing and shoving, there will certainly be attacking and there will be that ONE dude who hung back a little and then bursts on the scene right at the end to finish the whole thing off in what will go down as an epic KOM.
The relay – This is rather niche to be fair and probably not widely used. Its as simple as it sounds, you disperse the group along a segment, or if you’re low on numbers at the mid point or end and then proceed to pick up your lead-out man (fluffer) along the way. Yes, harder to coordinate as the new lead out man may not have the right rhythm and will potentially frustrate your efforts to KOM, but if you can manage the relay properly then it can allow you to do things with a weaker group than say the pace line. Think of them as cycling condoms – Use them up and throw them away after you’ve KOM.
And then of course, there are a number of different types of riders out there KOMing any chance they can get. We’ve seen an influx of new styles, personalities and penchants develop as the fight for chances to KOM get scarcer… Some of the usual suspects:
The Prodigal son
Your name is Gareth and you live in a small but very slightly picturesque village in Wales. After marrying Megan and finishing your butchers apprenticeship, you’ve settled into your regular day to day world of chopping meat, wondering if Wales will ever beat the All Blacks again (no) and thinking back to the days when Megan gave it up a lot easier than now.
But, you have another element to life you’re far prouder of – You own half the KOM’s in town. Yes, after closing the shop, you nip out on the Planet X and hairy legs be dammed, you’ve taken over half the KOM’s in the borough from that fancy cunt Dafydd, thinking he’s the man on his new carbon Giant. You may even go and have a crack at his ‘Llanddewi to Horton turn off‘ segment. But when you get home to upload, instead of more glory being showered upon you, you’re slapped vigorously around the face with ‘Uh Oh’ notifications popping up… WTF? Who could be doing this to you?!
You then start to hear unconfirmed and confused reports of a Porsche zipping through the village square… With Daniel Craig at the wheel people say… But surely he doesn’t ride a bike? No Gareth – He doesn’t, you have become the victim of a far bigger force than the man that cut Jude Laws lunch: The Prodigal Son.
Yes, he’s returned home from living at altitude overseas, saving the planet, indulging in the ex-pat life on roof top Mojito bars, dripping in Tom Ford casual wear and looking like a full time Rapha model. He then entitles his rides ‘Recovery spin‘ and look what happens:
The Prodigal son’s return home may only last a few weeks during the pointy peak of summer, but the damage reverberates throughout the community and the next 12 months are spent trying to recapture what he has taken from everyone… Until next summer…
There is little that can be done to combat the pSon, he’s next level after all and even trying to befriend him and sprint him at the end of the segment won’t work. The only option available? Move villages.
Ever poured your heart and soul into a road segment, averaging a speed that you’re 150% sure will make you KOM, only to get home and find that your 47kph average wasn’t even close to getting you that sweet release? Indeed you’re tied for 26th, suffering the face job of not even being on the first page. Cunt.
How did this happen?! How on earth did someone KOM so impressively? PRO? Lead out train? No… None of those, indeed they simply perfected the art of being a caboose.
Van, truck, bus, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s reasonably substantial in size. The caboose will find his ride and then get inches from the vehicle’s rear bumper, convinced its a totally reasonable to trade your life for a Strava segment, I mean, what could possibly go wrong being 4 inches behind a truck doing 65kph down a road? The logic is simple: If Peter Sagan can jump a median strip, surely I can deal with a pot hole!
The Caboose can also see nothing wrong with this approach to KOMing, machine assisted… Sure, it takes slightly less effort, but they still have to put some work in they will maintain. The only real way to deal with the Caboose is flag the fuck out of their cunty ass on Strava, taking it in turns with your mates if needs be – Or, just wait until they don’t see that new pot hole while drafting that truck…
The weatherman awakes in the morning and heads directly to his paid subscription of the ultra accurate Met service site, logs in and then gets a weather report that only NASA and people who may die on the oceans tend to access. Whilst slowly applying chamois cream to his balls and looking at his Toni Marsh poster, the wMan pours over the data, calculating the timings, patterns and Geo maps it all together to come to one conclusion:
“Today, I’m going to have a crack at the Cumsock Street segment at 1.25pm“
The weatherman, guided by his powermeter of course, won’t waste a single watt when attempting to KOM unless he’s backed by the most pristine conditions nature can offer. Almost like one of those weather controlling X-Men, he seems to know instinctively what the wind is doing and then will reap a kings ransom in KOM glory in a single tailwind ride.
There is no beating the weatherman, he has harnessed the power of nature and then woven it with Weather Science, and its hard to begrudge someone for wind doping after all. Suggested course of action is to stalk him and then sprint his ass at the end of the segment.
A legend in their own suburb, or even street, the creator is not unlike the person at work who you are 99% sure pays for sex on a regular basis. Yes, the creator finds it quite difficult to KOM normally, so they have to find the 0.8% of road that hasn’t been made into a segment and create a new one to elevate them to the hallowed status of champion. Think of it like people who create a Fuckbook group for their Cul du sac, yes, now you get it: Cunt. That’s right, if you can’t beat em, create em.
Its possible that its from their driveway to the gym (ridden once a month), a weird commute that takes in a walkway, or perhaps a hill that everyone else thought was a driveway to a Gang HQ. It doesn’t really matter, the creator will find it, map it, bank it and then pull a used pantyhose over their head while they look through their Strava trophy cabinet… Nude.
Want some Saturday fun? Find the creator… Find his segments… Assemble some hard hitting hommies and go to work on that cabinet with a pair of pliers and a blow torch.
The explorer takes a slightly different tact from the creator, they will invest the time to search through the slightly odd functioning Strava segment explorer and like a less creepy version of Randolph Fiennes, hunt out segments where they deem there is “low hanging fruit“, any oxymoron if you’ve ever worked on a kiwifruit farm where bending down to get the low stuff is an utter cunt.
But this is of no matter to the explorer, for they’re off out into the middle of nowhere to fill their boots with treasure. The more obscure the backroad, the more the Explorer loves to KOM.
The explorer will go so far out of the way that you really can’t be fucked going after their isolated goodies. Who wants to ride for two hours through the badlands to take a segment that only has 6 people on it? There aren’t even any cafe’s out there for fucks sake. Like the dude that waits until 4am to pick up what’s left over and drunk at Macca’s, the explorer and his multi-coloured polyprop’s are best left to their own devices. Have some class, keep hunting the big fish.
The sniper has patience… He is more than happy to ride for an hour at a creep, stalking his segment prey before unleashing one shot that takes down the leaderboard in one vomit inducing violent movement. Like a shark that likes surfing comps, the sniper will use everything available to them to KOM with one violent surge. They’re happy with one kill a week, or perhaps even a month. For them stalking a segment and then casually moving in for that sweet one off kill is what gets them digitally hard.
The sniper may casually recon a segment for weeks before firing that one shot… They will know the wind direction (although not as skilled as the Weatherman), know every change in the asphalt and even work out that if they turn off and use the car park for an extra run up, then they can make themselves KOM that little bit easier. They’re also more than happy to piss in their knicks if it means waiting to get the timing of the lights right.
There is no stopping the sniper – You don’t know when he will strike, but it will be random and highly selective… And like a ghost, they’ll be gone quicker than your PF30 starts creaking again after a $180 service.
Pretty straightforward this one really, cunt is PRO and wrecks the leaderboard in your town by simply training on your favourite segments. Forget the fact his kit is perfect and he’s paid to do it, focus on the fact he was 1 minute faster up a 2.5 minute climb. If you’re unlucky, there will be a PRO race in your hood and then you’re really fucked – Goodbye top 10, in fact, fucks have probably blown you right off the first page on the leaderboard as they KOM all over you and your mates. Not even a pace line will get you back up there, there is only one thing to do:
Make a new segment! (tip – Start it off a weird side street at the base of the climb where cat people live)
You may have noted that not many, if any, of these seem to relate to MTB? Well, there’s a good reason for that… A) MTB segments are as honest as fuck, as in, very hard to manipulate and B) outside of Bandits, not many people actually give a fuck.
Yes, if you take a Mountain Biking downhill segment and assuming its not a GPS fuck up, then its as legit as fuck, perhaps even the most pure form of KOMing? Just out in the forest, by yourself, KOMing and returning to the carpark with a massive post KOM shredding smile on your face…. Feels… SO… Good.
Now then… As the saying goes… “Get out there, have fun and be safe“. Uh oh… And that’s just for the Tinder users.