Q & A: British Track Champion 2017 Daniel Bigham

A three time Gold medallist at the British Track Championships, Daniel Bigham was a great success with truly World Class times

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Q & A: British Track Champion 2017 Daniel Bigham

Note: All the results are here

A three time Gold medallist at the British Track Championships in 2017, Daniel Bigham (Brother NRG Driverplan) was a great success with truly World Class times

Photographs: Dean Reeve Photography

1. Have you ridden the championships before and if so, how were the performances then compared to this week?
Daniel: The 2017 championships were my second ever national champs. My first ever track race was May 2015 at the British Uni Champs. I finished 3rd in the IP in 4:38.172 (0.002s off the gold medal ride off!) and 5th in the kilo in a 1:08.

I raced the Elimination and Scratch, including sprinting up the cote to avoid elimination. I wasn’t so switched on back then! The 2015/16 National Champs were my first attack on the championships. I had three weeks of track training on a borrowed bike. I came away with 7th in the IP in 4:33.382 and 5th in the TP with 4:23.572. Decent results but not world class by any means. This year’s championship were a huge step up for me.

2. Have the results of the championships exceeded your expectations?
Daniel: Back when the team began training in earnest we joked about coming away with three golds and beating the GB Academy. I knew if we nailed everything, then there was a chance we could pull it off, but I never expected it to happen, so yes the results have massively exceeded my expectations!

3. Which of the victories gave the most satisfaction?
Daniel: The Team Pursuit victory. I personally wanted to win the Individual Pursuit the most. I had put the most effort into that, but there’s nothing better than putting it all out there on the track with your team mates and friends.

I’d put a bit of extra pressure on the team after throwing the gauntlet down to GB in an interview on Friday, saying they had to come at us if they wanted to win. The euphoria from the IP result maybe got the better of me there! To set Team Pursuit PBs in both qualifying and then the final was pretty cool and shows how much more we could improve with more training together!

4. What was the goal heading into the championships?
Daniel: I had my own personal aim to win the individual pursuit, but as a team the goal was to go there and execute an exact plan. We had dialled everything in from position, equipment, nutrition, pacing, turn strategy etc, so it was a case of turning up, doing everything right and getting our maximal performance out. We knew if we did that, we could compete for the top step, but at the end of the day we couldn’t complain if we knew we had done everything we could to win.

5. When did you decide to make the championships a goal for 2017?
Daniel: I personally decided from early 2016 that I would start preparing for the championships as soon as the road season had finished. I was quite lucky that they had moved the champs to January, which gave me all winter to train specifically for it. The Team Pursuit project only started late November. After Jonny Wale nailed the BUCS track champs with a ton of golds and records, I thought it might be a good idea to get him on board and put a TP squad together. BND Pro Cycling signed Jacob Tipper so that completed our team of four.

6. When did the training for the event start?
Daniel: Pre-organised training camps for Tipper and Charlie meant we didn’t actually get all four of us together until 4th January. We had seven sessions, doubling up Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings at Derby velodrome. With us all spaced over the country, it meant we had to maximise each session. We went to each day with a structured plan of efforts, as well as testing equipment and positions around this. Derby Arena were great at accommodating us around all the other athletes using the track.

7. Where did you do most of the training – on the track or road?
Daniel: As a team, all of our training was on the track. Individually, we all did our own training back home, mixing up a combination of road, track and turbo. Charlie spent many nights training on the outdoor floodlit velodrome in Middlesborough, pretty committed! Jonny has done a lot of team preparation for BUCS track champs over the past few years, so his experience in the best way to build our speed and technique was invaluable.

8. What have been the hardest drills in training for the championships
Daniel:The hardest drill for me personally was my only kilo session. It was a Sunday evening 8-10pm session and I had 5 x 1km standing. It was pretty grim to be completely honest. Everyone (except my coach) had always told me to only train to 750m in training, but that last lap is absolute agony so it must be good training right!? It certainly helped come race day. As a team, I quite enjoyed most of the efforts. There’s something oddly fun about absolutely burying yourself for your mates and then finding something extra when you inevitably screw up the change to get back on!

9. The Team Pursuit time is very much world class, how much time have you been able to get with your teammates for what is quite a skillful event.
Daniel: We had seven sessions together and managed to race the Welsh (Open) TP champs the week before nationals, where we only got 1.5 rides after we got involved in a big crash in qualifying when man 4 of Langdale Lightweights went down right in front of us during the catch!

We weren’t too badly injured so got back on to ride a 4:12.1 soon after. I think we prepared as well as we could as a team given the time limitations. We received a lot of assistance and feedback from Phil Kirkpatrick at Derby Arena which helped us to improve our starts, changes and close riding. We are still a long way off perfect though!

There’s a funny picture up on the British Cycling Twitter of us from side on, half bike length gaps between us all, which shows how much more we can improve!

10. Tell us about the pursuit final against Charlie .. flat stick from the gun or a measured effort?
Daniel: Definitely a measured effort. I messed up in qualifying, the moment got the better of me. I went out way too fast, blew up and dragged myself in. I had a strong word with myself after that. I knew if I paced it better I could go much faster.

With better pacing in the evening, I matched my qualifying time with tired legs. It was quite a fun race to go in to, win or lose, it would be a great result for the team. We had worked on a lot of equipment optimisation and preparation protocols (even things GB don’t do!), it was quite funny that before the final we were both doing the exact same things which practically neutralised any advantage!


… continued after advert


11. What are your goals now for 2017?
Daniel: This past weekend has given me the opportunity to rethink my 2017. I had originally planned a transition back to the road, with the target of the Elite Road Series as well as a number of foreign UCI stage races alongside trying to set some rapid TT times.

Now I think I’ll balance that whilst keeping some track work in the plan and work on getting entries to UCI track races around the world as there isn’t many opportunities to wear the jersey in the UK! I’d love to get selected to go to the Commonwealth Games, so training for that will definitely have to fit in to the plan somewhere.

12. Is the track the favourite discipline or is the road just as important?
Daniel: I really do love the track. With my background in aerodynamics and sports engineering, it’s the perfect playground for me! It’s been a great part of preparation to put my mind to optimising each aspect of my equipment.

Looking back on what we’ve developed, changed and improved, the gains are pretty massive! You can even buy some of the equipment from my website (www.shopforwatts.co.uk). Road is still incredibly important, I know that I can’t bill myself as a trackie. Road results matter a lot, hopefully I can repeat some of the big rides I had last year like the Beaumont Trophy.

13. Finally, when will your next race be?
Daniel: My next race will be the Tour of the Mining Valleys once I get back from training camp in Spain, then the Roy Thame Cup and Evesham Vale RR.



Send your results as well as club, team & event news here


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK