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Strava KOM Club: Is this the perfect socially distanced motivator?

KOM Club
(Image credit: Colin Levitch)

Unfortunately, when the calendar ticked over to 2021, things didn't just magically go back to normal. Racing still isn't happing in most places around the world due to local restrictions, or maybe it just isn't the best idea (because you know, the global pandemic), and many goal-oriented riders have found themselves floundering.

While KOM Club has been around for a few years now, it's new to me, and I only discovered it just before the new year. This unique little Strava API widget finds all of the hidden Strava challenges and down the line, claims it will help you sniff out KOM/QOM's near you that are ripe for the taking. There's even a leaderboard showing who has the most total KOM/QOMs  — the perfect socially distanced goal. 

A collaboration of two UK design and marketing outfits, KOM Club crawls the Strava Challenge pages for new and hidden challenges that might not appear in your feed for one reason on another - usually because they are not being promoted in your particular region. 

What initially started as a competition between colleagues to earn the most challenge badges has now been extended to the internet to help you get the most out of Strava.

While some challenges only offer a digital badge (or roundel, if you will), completing others puts you in the running to win real gear. Better still, many of these challenges - which you otherwise may have never found - don't put region-specific eligibility stipulations in their rules. Often there is a gift card, kit, or even bikes and smart trainers up for grabs - pretty good considering this is a free service. 

KOM Club extends beyond just cycling, and it will connect you with running, triathlon, and other challenges too. This month, for example, an activewear brand's challenge is to complete eight of its free online bodyweight and circuit classes. If you do four in a row, you can potentially win $1,000 worth of gear - not to mention the workouts are pretty hard, and since we're not racing anyway, it's a safe bet you'll benefit from some cross-training.

KOM Club

(Image credit: Courtesy)

The other aspect of the KOM Club is, of course, the KOM/QOMing. The KOM Club has what it calls league tables where you can see how you stack up against other folks based on how many of those digital crowns are associated with your name - at the time of writing, the current leader has 552 KOMs. 

KOM Club also has a leaderboard for Course Records for those that also like to compete on foot.

There is a science to stealing KOM/QOM's, the KOM Club team has also put together a guide that lays out exactly how to work out if a KOM is within your reach, which segments to go for, and advice on prep, warm-up, and during the segment.

Richard Harris, one of the folks behind the KOM Club, says there is a Segment Hunter in the works. This feature analyses your current performance and identifies local segments it thinks you might be able to steal.

KOM Club is free and doesn't steal a bunch of your data as some of these types of widgets do. They do ask for your email address, so they can drop you an email when they find a new challenge that might take your fancy.