Q & A with Matt Gittings (2012 Derny Champion)


A question and answer session with 21 year old Matt Gittings who won the 2012 British Derny title and represented Britain at 2013 European Stayers Championships

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Matt rides for AW Cycles.co.uk/Marian University and has a base in the UK as well as Indianapolis in the USA. He has been racing since the age of seven when he got a start riding at his local velodrome in Reading. A prolific winner and a British champion in the Derny Championship, it’s no surprise that Matt says his favourite discipline is the Derny event.

Gittings_derny 1080 pic

Asked why, he says “simply because of the big speeds you can reach and hold for a long time.”

What has been the highlight of 2013 for you?
Matt: Being able to represent Great Britain at the European Stayers Championships and retaining my USA collegiate team pursuit title.

Which race has been the best one (most fun) to do?
Matt: The most fun race has to be the Good Friday track meeting at Herne Hill because there is always a good atmosphere and a big crowd.

Do you coach yourself or have a coach to help structure your training?
Matt: I am currently coached by John Percy. He’s been coaching me for the last few years and has kept me structured.

How many hours a week would you train on and off the bike?
Matt: Between 12-20 hrs depending on the time of year

Do you tend to train alone or in a chaingang?
Matt: I like to train alone in the UK but when I’m in the USA I like to train with the groups that go out every day from campus. I am currently a student/full time bike rider. I study in America and race the collegiate scene with Marian University who have won 23 team national championships. During the summer I head back to Europe to race a full season there.

What is the best thing about racing bikes?
Matt: The best thing has to be the amount of places you get to see when racing and training. I don’t think I would have been to so many great places without racing my bike.

Gittings_euro stayer

And what is the one thing you enjoy least!
Matt: Racing in the rain and having to clean your bike after!

If you could change one of your weaknesses into a strength, which one would it be?
Matt: Being able to go up short punchy climbs would be a weakness I would like to change.

What type of bike do you ride and what type of groupset/wheels does it have?
Matt: I currently ride a Giant TCR advanced SL, Ultegra groupset and Zipp 404 firecrests. My track bike is a Bridgestone PHR7 with Zipp 900 disc and 808 firecrest front

Are you ‘geeky’ when it comes to the equipment on the bike?
Matt: Yes, I love to see all the new technology that comes out before the tour.

What will you be doing training wise during the winter – as little as possible or a structured programme from a coach?
Matt: I’m going to be getting some good endurance base miles in with some track work for some races during the winter.

Will you race at all in the winter?
Matt: I’m hoping to race a stayer race over in Germany and also the National Derny championships

Do you have a specific winter training bike — mudguards or none?
Matt: I just use my standard race bike, no additions except for some winter tires

Gittings_indv pursuit

What is the one thing outside of pedalling the bike that you feel you need to learn to be a better bike rider?
Matt: Learning to keep my mind focused for a long period of time will help me on the bike.

What do you enjoy doing most when not riding the bike?
Matt: I enjoy playing pool and watching TV

Do you try and get away from the weather here and go abroad for a winter training camp? If so, where do you like to go most, for how long and how often during the winter?
Matt: I’m in America over the winter month’s which is nice, it stays lighter and warmer for longer.

When do you expect to start racing in 2014?
Matt: I will start racing the collegiate road season in the USA in February

What are the races you are looking forward to most in 2014?
Matt: I’m looking forward to racing the Europeans stayers again as well as USA collegiate road nationals which is the test event for the World Road Race Championships.

thank you and good luck!


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