Strava, QOM, and does downhill count?

Since joining Strava a few weeks ago, I’ve scored a few QOM on some segments. See here. If you’re local you can try and take them away from me, make them your own. Pro-tip, it helps to be drafting Chris Helwig. Shhh.

What’s Strava? Strava is a ride/run tracking app. You can either use it on its own or share your Garmin bike computer data with it.

What’s a Strava segment? Segments are one of Strava’s coolest features. Segments are user-created, user-edited, and designate a portion of route where users can compete for time. I’ll blog later about the gamification of real world cycling but for now, on to QOMs.

You can follow me on Strava, here.


What’s QOM?

“KOM or QOM Crown: If you achieve the fastest time on a segment, you’ll receive a special crown, meaning that you are the KOM or QOM of that segment (acronyms stand for King of the Mountain and Queen of the Mountain). This crown is awarded at the time of upload if you are at that time the leader on the segment. Since Achievement Awards do not refresh in real time, even if someone later beats your time, you will still be able to see the gold crown on that activity page.

Your KOM/QOM crowns are stored in a special list on Strava for your reference. “My KOMs” or “My QOMs” is a page stored under “KOMs/CRs” or “QOMs/CRs” accessed from your Profile page. It will keep a current list of all the KOMs or QOMs you currently hold.

Note: if you tie for a KOM/QOM, you will not be awarded the KOM/QOM crown, and the crown will not be recorded in the “My KOMs/QOMs” list”

QOM is something I’m also never. I’m almost never fastest woman to the top. Okay, there was one time in the Novice Training program with the Canberra Vikings and I’ve never been so proud of a chocolate frog. I thought about framing it. I didn’t. I ate it.

However,  some the Strava segments are also downhill and there I come into my own. My weight instead of being a disadvantage becomes an advantage.

Why? Read Fatter Cyclists Faster Downhill? (Answer: Yes.)

It’s never a road race advantage. Why? Because no one wins a race going fast downhill. People attack and pass on the uphills. Also, you spend less time descending than you do climbing. You can lose a race by failing to keep up with the pack downhill but you won’t win, except in oddball cases, on a descent.

But back to my QOM. The very first thing I said after seeing them on my Strava profile was that of course I got the downhill segments because there aren’t that many large women out there on road bikes. Most of the women riding road bikes are much smaller than me. I didn’t earn that QOM, I thought.

That’s not quite right though. They’re gradual downhills and I was pedaling hard trying to stick with Chris. My heart rate certainly showed I was working hard.

Then it dawned on me that I’d never say of some skinny cyclist that her uphill QOM didn’t count because she just got it because of her size. “Of course, you won that segment. You only weigh 110 lbs.”

So I’m happily proclaiming my victory over Adelaide downhill and Vanneck to Medway (that’s more of a false flat than anything).


downhill in autumn

6 thoughts on “Strava, QOM, and does downhill count?

  1. I have a bunch of QOMs (or top-ten) for being the only woman (or the <10th woman) to upload that segment, while simultaneously being last in the mixed rankings. Never quite sure how to feel about those.

    Especially the ones where I had to get off and walk.

    Yeah, I'm getting out there, and I'm being public about it on Strava, but they feel a little empty.

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