Let Women Get KOMs too!!!

Strava should allow women to earn KOMs if they have bested all the men (and presumably women) of a segment, in addition to their QOM. 

Let it be known informally in the Strava world as a "double crown." 

I know it's got to be at least mildly frustrating to my wife when she posts the fastest time for any human ever for a segment and the man who posted the second fastest time ever retains the KOM. 

It's 2018 folks!  Let's let the women compete against the men too, if they like.  At least let them opt in as an option, or just assume that the women who are that fast would love to take KOMs from the men.  My wife would relish in it.

While there is certainly hot debate in the sporting world on the blended lines between male and female, and though I have a PhD in Sport Physiology and have considered such a topic extensively, I don't think that is a discussion relevant to this thread. 

GENERALLY speaking, men ride segments faster than women.  I haven't investigated the presumably millions of segments on Strava, but I would wager a boatload of money that >95% of segment KOM times are faster than the analogous QOM.  Whether it's physiological (hormones/muscular differences), social (more total male cyclists), psychological (men may be more willing to risk life and limb to chase a segment), is irrelevant, but generally KOM times are faster than QOM times. 

For those times where the QOM is faster than the KOM, for goodness sake, take the KOM from the guy and give it to the woman who has bested all men too!  Let her wear it like an electronic badge of honor. 

Shoot, if I were a woman and I whooped some of my male friends' tails on their favorite segment, you bet I'd want them to get the notification email that I, as a woman, had just wiped the floor with them.  If a female is competitive enough to ride the segment fast enough to get either the QOM or KOM, chances are she's competitive enough to relish in the KOM and "double crown" for that segment. 

What say you, ladies?

Men, how would that be for an extra kick to ride that segment harder?



17 comentarios
  • I think you are missing the definition of KOM vs QOM.  Are you saying your wife wants to be called a guy (king) vs a woman (queen)?  That is all it is.  It is a gender identifier.  If you want the women to be eligible to take the KOM's, then why even have a QOM at all.  It would seem that it would just be a belittling thing to them since they are only getting the crown because they are the fastest woman, not the fastest overall...  The KOM vs QOM are just designations for the fastest male and female times.  That's it. 

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  • Hi Jason,
    Great thoughts!  Thanks for taking the time.

    1. No, not saying she wants to be called a guy, just that she wants to compete with them, too.  The KoM is a faster time than the QoM in the vast majority of cases.  So, it would be cool, when she beats all other men who she rides with almost daily, for her to have both crowns, just like if she were to race in a men's crit and a women's crit on the same day, she could earn awards in both races.

    2. Why have a QoM at all?  Because men are faster than women on the vast majority of segments, which would leave many women without ability to chase cups and crowns against their physiological equals on most segments, rather than making opportunity for crown-chasing equitable.

    3. Could you explain what you mean where you've said, "it would just be a belittling thing to them since they are only getting the crown because they are the fastest woman."  As I understand it, women get the QoM crown when they are the fastest woman, against all other women, and women only.  They would have to be the fastest human (man or woman) to get the king, so, could you clarify where there would be belittling?  Is it belittling to beat all other women and get a reward for it?  Not at all!  Surely you meant something else. I apologize for my denseness here.

    I can assure you that I understand that KoM and QoM are designated as male and female, currently.  Since many women frequently ride and compete with men on shop rides and sanctioned races, it would be cool for the women to be able to compete with the men, and be rewarded accordingly.

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  • +1 When I read "KOM" I always think of "best of segment" and not of kings and especially not of mountains. I wasn't even aware that women can't get a KOM. By allowing flats or downhills for segments the original intent is not fullfilled anyway so I don't see the big contradiction in widening the KOM further. Maybe it can be renamed to BOS or so.

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  • Alex,

    You mentioned in your original post that it's 2018. Do you realize you're asking to take us back to an era when one gender was given preferential treatment over another? Adding another layer of complexity to Strava's "xOM" rules is only going to generate resentment, since presumably, men will still be prohibited from competing across the gender line, while women are given that opportunity. There goes equal treatment out the window.


    At the risk of sounding self-absorbed, here's how this affects me: I own two of the rare KOM's where the woman (the QOM) has posted a better elapsed time. They are listed as number 1 on the respective leaderboards with me as number 2! In fact that's fine by me and kudos to them. But by your proposed rule, I would be stripped of my KOM's by a programming change without so much as anyone turning a pedal on the segments! Why do you want to do that to me?


    You see what kind of hornet's nest can be stirred up when you seek to prohibit some group from achieving something while handing freebies to a chosen few. Rather, can we come up with ideas to bring people together? Like keeping the rules simple and each gender going for the appropriate "xOM", and all celebrating nicely afterwards. This works in my town. I wish you and your wife could come and ride with us.

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  • Hi James,

    Great point.  It is a bad idea to give one group of people preferential treatment over others. You're absolutely right. 

    And, I would love to ride with you sometime.

    Could you explain what you mean in that allowing both genders to compete for one title (KOM) is preferential treatment?

    If it is that women would additionally have their own category of accolades (QOM's and female-only cups) to compete for, in which men were prohibited; then my only retort is from a biological standpoint, I think that is sound reasoning.  Women at virtually all comparable levels of cycling and virtually all sports are objectively slower, weaker, and less powerful than their male counterparts of equivalent status in respective sport.  This difference in average performance and peak performance of males vs. females is primarily driven by genetic differences.  This is why I have no issue with allowing women to compete against women, regardless of their competitive status in male divisions whether on Strava or in sanctioned racing.

    In response to "Why do you want to do that to me?" with regard to taking your KOM's which have been bested by a female's QOM.  Answer: some women might like to have the KOM which is generally a faster time than the QOM and they earned the typically-highest accolade if they posted the fastest time all-time, male or female.

    Could you explain what you mean by hornet's nest being stirred up?  This would certainly not "prohibit some group from achieving something while handing freebies to a chosen few."  I am not suggesting applying a handicap to women's times.  I suggest a direct comparison of segment performances.

    I may be misunderstanding what you mean, but I'm reading your statement as the "freebie" is either the KOM getting awarded to a woman, or all women being able to compete amongst themselves for QOM's in the absence of male comparison. 

    Regarding the first option:: If a woman beats my KOM on a segment, I'm not sure how that is a freebie.  She may have endeavored substantially more, and certainly not any less than I have, to beat my KOM time, given the physiological advantage I have in being born male.

    Regarding the second option: see my earlier comment regarding biology and genetics and competitive status in male divisions. 

    I believe such an addition to Strava would bring men and women together.  Help me see where having objectively able women compete against men would do anything but bring people together.  That a woman beating a man might cause meaningful negative reaction among cyclists is counter to what I've experienced in the sport.

    I look forward to reading your response as I always enjoy poking holes in my own logic or having said holes revealed in debate.


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  • Thank you James.  You explained my feelings very well.  Why set it up so that one person would potentially be able to own both titles yet the other person would not be able to?  When I get a KOM, it puts me at the top of the list but leaves the QOM position available for the fastest woman.  If a woman has the fastest overall time, then they would have the top position and leave the KOM available for the fastest male time.  It's really just that simple.  Why mix things up? 

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  • (My final post on the issue:)



    On the topic of stripping someone of their legitimately earned title via an after-the-fact rules change, I have to tell you there's not a governing body or an athletic federation in the world that would do that. And, since there are probably thousands of men who hold these unusual KOM's who would be victimized by your scheme, Strava won't do it either. Probably because the office staff doesn't want to be flooded by irate emails and postings by the disenfranchised... and maybe because stripping someone of their title is usually reserved only for the most egregious of violations. It puts them into the same category as that guy who injected himself full of drugs to win those Tours de France. He was stripped of his titles... and you want to put me alongside him. Thanks for that one! (That was said tongue-in-cheek... but only slightly!)


    With their tiny staff back in 2009 Strava invented the "segment" with two extraordinary yet simple rules:

    1.) Anyone, irrespective of their gender can go for the best spot they can get on the leaderboard.

    2.) Best among your gender earns you the appropriate "OM" crown.


    That's it! Nowhere on the website is the KOM given more weight or status than the QOM. They're treated equally. If your town is different and disrespects your wife's achievements, or doesn't celebrate the QOM with enough passion, I'm sorry. But you cannot force the innocent and uninvolved to rectify those wrongs by the "freebie" of women being able to garner two crowns while the men are discriminated against by being restricted to just one. That would be another wrong.


    And I think you know that two wrongs don't make a right.



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  • Jason,  That's a great point about one person owning both titles while half the population (and much greater than half the cycling population (men)) would not have such an opportunity.  I hope that the tradeoffs of creating that situation would outweigh the current tradeoffs in place, which leads me to answer your question: ("Why set it up so that one person would potentially be able to own both titles yet the other person would not be able to?"): 

    Answer: Because currently men are USUALLY the only ones who get to compete against the fastest humans in the world and test themselves against the best humans for the KOM, because by and large, on most segments, the KOM is owned by a man.  Making it impossible for 99+% of women to compete directly against the fastest humans and get rewarded for it.  I consider that a much larger tradeoff than the very small percentage of men (much less than 1%) who are negatively affected (if net negative at all) by having their KOM taken by a very fast woman.

    Like Jan, earlier in this thread, I would have suggested that there be a "fastest human" award like the BOS (which I presume to mean Best of Segment) but that would just lead to men getting 2 awards virtually 100% of the KOMs that they get, so I thought that suggesting KOM opening up to women would make more sense that either renaming the men's award, or creating the BOS altogether as a separate award and essentially doubling up on men's awards for most segments.

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  • I empathize but it would be a double standard since men don't get to ever be QOM.

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  • You can see both leader boards and can see their respective times. Its strange to want to have women on the mens list but not the opposite and calling it equality. In most cases the ladies would not benefit on a common top list and I guess thats why they are separate in most (all?) sports competitions. Great that your wife has beaten a KOM, and the leaderboard lists her as QOM. She is still female, and therefore not the king. Its also very easy to see that she has the best time from de leaderboards. Im a feminist, by the way...

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  • Really struggling to get what Alex wants here. If his wife is the fastest on a segment she will be listed number one on the leaderboard where it will be clear that as well as holding the QoM she also holds the course record. Kudos to her.

    As a thought experiment say a male spinter wins the gold medal with a time of 9.5s and then in the women's race a female sprinter wins the gold medal with a time of 9.4s. Now I agree that this achievement by the female athlete would be extraordinary and should be celebrated, however, I dont think the answer would be to strip the male athlete of his medal and give it to the woman would it?

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  • Kevin, Great point, and great thought experiment.

    The meaningful difference between the thought experiment posed and cycling (per USAC sanctioned race rules) is that women are allowed race directly against the men and frequently do so, even when there are women's categories at the given race.

    See USAC Rules and Regs: 1H9: (g) & (h)


    "Women may enter any men’s race for which they are eligible by age, category, and any performance requirements. They may also enter categorized races for men that are up to one category lower than their women’s category. For road, track, and cyclo-cross events, category 1 women may enter men’s races up to two categories lower."


    "Master women may compete in men’s masters races as follows: (i) category 1 and 2 master women may enter men’s events for riders up to 10 years above their racing ages; (ii) category 3 and 4 master women may enter men’s events for riders up to 20 years above their racing ages."

    In these instances, it is standard for women to be awarded, where applicable, directly against the men in those races, even when other women's categories of racing are contested on the same course in the same day.

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  • Magnus,

    Agreed completely, and I am thankful that on the overall leaderboard it is viewable. 

    I also agree that in most sports, most of the time, the top all-time list is just going to be a replication of the top men's list, hence they're separated in all sports to my knowledge.

    The potential benefit in this scenario is when the KOM and QOM holders know each other (as they often do because cycling is a small community and fast cyclists tend to know others through racing).  When a KOM is beaten, most people get a friendly email notification saying that their time has been beaten.  Perhaps I am wrong in assuming other men would want to be notified in all cases if their time had been beaten.

    I view strava segment chasing with the same level of seriousness I view a rousing game of Mario Kart on the N64. That is, absolutely riveting, fun, and enthralling at the time of competition and great for creating bragging rights to razz your buddies about, but in the scope of life, completely meaningless.  I have gathered recently by reading Strava forums, and the lengths that some people have gone to, to get KOMs, that some folks take it a bit more seriously.

    The principle benefit of allowing women to get KOMs was to create greater friendly competition (bragging-rights-grabbing, as that is the extent of what KOMs and QOMs are good for, in my understanding), among local cycling circles where strong female riders commonly ride with and occasionally out kick the best of predominantly male group rides at the end of local segments.

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  • I agree with Alex... as a female i think it would be great to get koms if you are the best overall beating the guys... kom... :) Funny thing i just had this conversation with my husband. 

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  • KOM = King Of the Mountain

    King = Man

    I thing it is very clear and we don ´t need another ways...

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  • The combined leaderboard already handles it plenty fine.

    If you know a QOM who beats the KOM, buy her a beer. She could even buy herself a beer. Recognition complete.

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  • Hi there - late to the conversation. I searched for this because I am a woman and I would like recognition for getting the fastest time of any human.

    My suggestion: Add a crown for the All-time category. Done. No issues with men not getting KOMs. Agreed that you can keep both current categories the same.

    To Alex's point, men usually have the all-time fastest time so it would make sense that most men wouldn't see the value in the All-time crown since KOM usually means the same thing. But when a woman gets the All-time currently, someone would have to suspect she did and take the time to dig into her segments to look for it.

    @StravaSupport- How about it? Both men and women could get double crowns for the king/queen + All-time.

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