Written by Cycling

How I Lost My Strava KOM

Did you know I had a Strava King of the Mountains?

No? Well neither did I.

First off, Strava is a social media app/site for cyclists and runners. You either use their app on your phone to record your ride or run, or sync the data from some other device you use to measure your pursuits. In my case, I use a Garmin GPS bike computer and the data gets synced across to Strava.

In Strava’s world, paths and streets are divided up into often quite arbitrary segments – say a hill climb, or a long stretch of road. Anyone can determine where a segment is, and they’re all over the place. Once listed, anyone recording their ride is automatically checked against segments, and you get a ranking.

Here’s an example of a hill climb I sometimes do if I ride the whole way home from work. It’s near Highgate Cemetary.


On that particular segment I’m fairly lowly ranked.

Indeed the only time I’ve ever knowingly had a KOM was when Strava one year introduced an annual KOM for segments, and I won a couple by virtue of going for a ride on New Year’s morning – i.e. before anyone else had got up! (This wasn’t a deliberate ploy incidentally, I just don’t really do New Year’s Eve, and the next day it’s always nice to get out on a bike)

Anyway, I was intrigued by the KOM I had just “lost” so I had a look. The segment is a short stretch – 100m – of road parallel to both Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street. However, there’s not much opportunity to build up a great deal of speed to beat any records. But it is flat.

In September last year, I apparently completed the segment in 9 seconds at a speed of 78.1 km/h!

On my Brompton.

To put that in perspective, Jason Kenny won the Keirin in Rio at 71kph.

If I could sustain 78kph for any length of road, I too should have been in Rio!

And I was beaten, I should point out. The new KOM did it at a speed of 100.8kph. Truly remarkable!


Of course the reason for this is that GPS bike computers aren’t always completely accurate. There are tall buildings everywhere in London, and if GPS satellites aren’t well placed, the accuracy drifts. It would only take a 40-50m drift to suddenly give me a ridiculous burst of speed as far as measurement was concerned, especially over a segment as short as this.

But I’ve lost my KOM, and I am a bit sad.