The last time we spoke to Dan Bigham (Brother NRG Wattshop) there was just a chance that he’d have to line up for the hill climb championship to net a record breaking EIGHTH British title of the year – to go with the kilometre, pursuit, team pursuit, team time trial, CTT 25 mile title, CTT 50 mile title and CTT circuit time trial title.
But on the tough Cockermouth 10 mile time trial course, the day was saved when the CTT ‘10’ championship went his way too – so that’s title number eight!
We made Daryl Webster’s 1985 season the previous best record with seven titles: the ’25,’ the ’50,’ hill climb, pursuit, team pursuit plus the BCF and RTTC (as were) TTT titles.
We had a chat with Dan a day or two after his historic win to talk big chain rings, watts and ‘white lining’…
No hill climb champs then, Dan?
Have you changed your position a wee bit since the ‘25’?
“No, I actually want to raise the front end a little but I need to get the correct spacers.
“Historically it was ‘long and low’ to be aero but that’s not necessarily the case when you go into the wind tunnel; raising the front end could actually work out more efficient.”
Any changes to the hardware?
“It’s the same bike as I rode in the ‘25’ but I have put a larger chainring on – a carbon 62 tooth one.
“The carbon ring runs very smoothly, you don’t feel any vibrations coming up through the pedals and because the chain is describing ‘softer’ curves, along with the oversize derailleur rollers it should be more efficient.”
Who were ‘the men to beat’ before the start?
“Ryan Perry (Raleigh) who came second and I also thought it would be a course and a day for John Archibald; hilly and hard – a day for a Scotsman!
“But it turned out he wasn’t on his best day.
“Because Perry was off before me I was able to get a time check on him out of the turn and when I saw I was only seven or eight seconds up on him I knew I had to step on it on the way back.”
Originally the race was to be on the superfast Levens course?
“I don’t know the reason why they moved it to a tougher course, maybe everyone is bored with the drag strips – it made a good change, something more challenging.”
Did you go up early to ‘try the course out’?
“Yes, a friend of a friend has a triathlon training base up there and we stayed there – it was awesome just minutes from the course and we were able to give it a good recce.
“We also took the opportunity to watch the early starters and see how they were handling it.”
Your winning 19:01 isn’t exactly slow but a lot less quick than we’re used to talking about…
“That’s a sign of the course; when you throw in some hills and wind and there’s no dual carriageway the times are going to go back.”
Are we allowed to ask about watts?
“Sure – I averaged 374 with 365 on the way out and 390 on the way back.
“I went out on the careful side with the cross/tailwind because I knew there was that two-and-a-half minute climb out of the turn on the way back; it was always the plan to give more on the way back – I guess seeing the gap to Perry helped stimulate me.
“On a course like that it’s much more difficult to gauge your effort; you can’t just ride to a set number of watts because of the hills and wind.”
And John Archibald is joining your squad?
“Yeah, it’s an exciting prospect for our team.
“We chatted after the ‘25’ champs and it makes sense, a good fit with his time trial abilities but also his track work and the fact that he rides the Premier Calendar races too.”
How’s the track trade team coming along?
“Team KGF – we have it all pretty much in place, the kit is all here, the Walker Brothers up in the North east are working with us on the equipment.
“The training is going well; we’ve been doing a lot of gym work which has really helped with my standing starts – my lap one is much improved.
“We’ll have it all together for the track meeting in Glasgow at the end of September.
“We haven’t quite got the website up and running yet but we’re working on it as we speak.”
How does GB selection work for you, not being part of the British Cycling ‘system’ – have they released selection criteria yet?
“There have been a lot of changes at BC; their funding has been cut so they can’t be seen to be letting people go whilst taking on others.
“The criteria aren’t really definitive – there are four; international results, but no times are mentioned because it’s down to the level of competition and venue; how you perform in training; your attitude and ‘any other aspects’ the selectors might take into consideration.”
Bialoblocki’s short ’43’ for a ‘25’– even though it was disallowed does it give you food for thought about what’s possible?
“I’m outspoken on this one – I don’t think people realise how much of an advantage it gives riding the white line like that.
“And it doesn’t have to be a continuous stream of vehicles, a lorry passing can give you a surge of 20/30/40 watts.
“If you run the numbers it can give you a 10/15/20 seconds advantage over a 10 mile time trial.
“But I’ve also run the numbers for me to do that ride and I have to find an awful lot of watts to match it!”
But that’s an end to drag strips, 4:00 am alarms and ‘clock bashing’ for Dan until 2018; it’s all about the track now – you can see Dan and his new track trade team in action in Glasgow on September 30th.
See you there?