KOMing and The KOM Hunter
KOM what... KOM again?
For anyone that doesn’t know, KOM stands for King of the Mountain. You may also hear us refer to QOM, which stands for Queen of the Mountain. Basically this means it’s the fastest person over a segment (specified distance) on Strava. Contrary to popular belief, and the title, a Strava KOM does not have to involve a mountain, or in fact any incline at all! These are my favourite segments, and the ones I specifically hunt out are those with the favourable, slightly negative, gradient! The segment can be a few hundred metres or several miles.
Just for clarification, outside of Strava and in more general cycling terms, King of the Mountain is a title awarded to the best (fastest) climber over the Mountain section/s of a road cycling race. For example in the Tour de France, the King of the Mountains is awarded the polka dot jersey.
Also check out the GLOSSARY, labelled 'what did he say?'
About The KOM Hunter
We all know how much I love KOMing these days, but it hasn’t always been that way. As kids, me and my mates all had mountain bikes (not for off-roading, just for getting around!), but as soon as we could drive that stopped. I started cycling when I was about 25, in an attempt to improve my fitness for playing rugby. I got a hybrid bike to cycle to and from rugby training twice a week. It was 6 miles from our house to the club and the first time I cycled it I had to stop twice - each way! Bear in mind, I was around 19 ½ stone (approx 123 kg) plus the rugby kit in a rucksack!
This was the start of my cycling journey, and I became determined to improve my fitness so that one day I would not have to stop at all, for the whole 6 miles! After conquering the 6 mile target, I found a 12 mile circular loop from my house. It took me an hour the first time I did it, but I wanted to do it in 50 minutes, then 40... can you see where this is going?! I finished playing rugby regularly at the end of that season … I had turned into one of those people “that doesn’t have anything better to do than go out cycling”!
As soon as I got out on the road on my hybrid bike and a roadie went flying past, I was not happy, this was not good enough! I had to get a road bike, and so the first of many upgrades took place. My cycling buddy Dave was also quite new to cycling and we met up most weekends, racing each other to the next signpost, trying to beat each other up any hill (there are plenty on Exmoor), and wanting to increase the mileage each week. Sadly, Dave doesn't really cycle anymore, he’s a runner now.
I started cycling with Minehead Cycling Club a couple of years later, and more recently have got into a bit of racing. 2019 was my first season of racing and I got enough points to move up to a cat 3 rider. I was hoping to get into a team and start the challenge of getting some points together towards upgrading again, which clearly hasn't happened so far this year due to lock-down. Instead, the KOM Hunter was born!
A bit about Minehead
Here in beeeaauutiful Minehead, as you will see in the B-roll (joking, no you won’t - there are plenty of other channels out there dedicated to that sort of thing, you can easily find them I’m sure!).
Anyway, as I was saying… we’re putting Minehead on the map! OK, it’s already on the map, Butlin’s is here* - there’s a high chance that anyone you meet, wherever you are in the world, has heard of Minehead because of Butlin’s!
But a lesser known fact is that Minehead is also home to some wonderful Strava segments (as I’m sure other places are too!) and we have a healthy competition between local riders about Strava leaderboards, average speeds and longest rides.
Minehead Cycling Club
We have a friendly and active cycling club here in Minehead, welcoming members from all over our local area. The club runs a number of events throughout the year (under usual circumstances, that is, not when we are in ‘lock-down’ of course!), from the town centre Crit Race, which brings racers to our little town from all over the country, to the summer series of local weekly hill-climb challenges - promoting that competitive spirit, to the usual club rides taking place through the week.
All abilities welcome! If you’re local and thinking about joining up, MCC would love to welcome you to the club. Anyone visiting the area that is interested in joining us for a club ride, please do get in touch with the club and we’ll let you know what’s going on (post-lockdown that is, nothing is going on at present!!) More information about the cycling club can be found on their website here: minehead.cc
The younger generation have a dedicated youth cycle club called the Minehead Merlins, for children aged 6 to 16, run by a team of awesome volunteers.
The club provides activities for children that are fun, healthy, and help to develop their bike handling and racing skills. There are no entry requirements to the club, all you need is to be able to ride a bike and have access to a working well maintained bike.
For more information about the Merlins, check out the Minehead Merlins Facebook page!