Strava is no longer a well kept secret where leaderboards of untapped segments sit empty and gold medals are plenty. It’s now a hotly contested virtual race of it’s own where Stravaddicts are venturing out on rides with the sole intent of sniping segments for themselves and claiming the top of the leaderboards.
This new social media phenomenon has created some strange rider behaviour which make this new generation of cyclists strive for interweb glory. I never took much notice of this until the other day when I got an email from Strava stating:
Uh oh! Alex Morgan just stole your KOM!
You just lost your KOM on Mt Rael Climb to Alex Morgan by 1 second.
Better get out there and show them who’s boss!
-Your friends at Strava
I’ve been sniped! I don’t even know where Mt Rael climb is, but I owned this hill until this weekend before Alex Morgan knocked me off my perch. Sure he’s had a few early successes, but shouldn’t he should be showing some respect to us statesmen of the peloton?
I later find out from others that Alex has been recently going out and sniping all sorts of KOM records; intentionally or not, I cannot say. Perrins Creek, Burwood Hwy Hill, 2 Bays….the list goes on and on. He even broke some of Gary Trowell’s segments! This made my mind switch gears into competition mode. If I can’t beat him legitimately, then I’ll have to resort to other methods to win back my virtual trophies.
Start the segment fresh
Drive to the bottom of the climb and warm up on rollers. Get the blood flowing, do a few efforts to loosen up, and hit it hard. You don’t want to be fatigued from unnecessary exercise before the segment. Cancellara doesn’t show up to the Tour de France prologue after doing an 80km ride, so why should you?
Go for low hanging fruit
Why even attempt a monster like Mt Ventoux, Norton’s Summit or the 1 in 20 when you can have the KOM in the back lane behind your house? In fact, set the segment so it finishes in your garage so that nobody else can take it from you (warning: this has been known to cause a few break & enters). Also, there are still lots of quality segments out there that anyone can pinch. Look for climbs that only a few people have done with times that you know you can beat. These KOM’s can stand for years until someone else discovers them.
Take a massive Cav-like leadout approaching the segment, but don’t load the legs up too early. Spin at a high cadence so the heart is pumping. Start comfortable, finish hard. This technique is not against UCI or Strava rules, so it’s fair play.
Start at the back, finish at the front
There’s no shame in attempting to take charge of a segment during a fast bunch ride. You can easily shave a minute off a nice little 2-3% climb while riding in a bunch. The trick to make certain that you are the one who claims the segment is by starting the climb at the back, and moving your way up to the front by the finish. KOM done and dusted.
Stay away from the PRO’s segments. You don’t have a chance…
Taylor Phinney, Ted King, Dave Zabriskie, Alex Morgan, and all the rest of the pros on Strava are the worst. They go around sniping all our hard-earned segments by using the strategies above, they have more God-given talent that you and me, and they do it on weekdays at 11am. With all these advantages, they’re unbeatable. Just give it to them…