Dan Bigham described his Hour Record breaking ride as “bit mind blowing” and “pretty epic” after he went 55.548km in 60 minutes on Friday afternoon.
The British rider set the new record at the Tissot Veoldrome in Grenchen, Switzerland, putting almost 500 metres on top of Victor Campenaerts’ previous record distance.
Speaking straight after his attempt, Bigham said: “Actually, it was really good. My best paced hour by far. I was a bit ahead of the split for the first half. It was quite daunting, because I’ve never ridden that pace for an hour before. It’s a bit mind blowing, pretty epic.”
He always seemed in control of his effort, but revealed that he had a bit of a wobble partway through the attempt, as the reality of the speed needed to break the record became clear.
“You’ve not got it until you’ve actually ridden the laps,” he explained. “That’s the scary thing. You’ve got the pace, but you don’t have the distance. I actually had a bit of a wobbly in my head, just after half way. How am I going to ride 16.0s in the next half an hour, that’s nuts. It never bit. It was easy, in control. In my head, I was like just get to twenty minutes to go then push on a bit.”
Unlike his previous semi-official Hour Record attempt, which saw him post 54.723km and take the British record with it, this time he had the backing of a super-team to help him. Bigham works for Ineos Grenadiers as a performance engineer, and therefore the British squad backed his effort.
“An ungodly amount of support from Ineos, that is what has been the step change,” he explained. “Not just the equipment, and the CDA. It’s all the execution, the physiology. All the thermal, nutrition, training interventions. It has absolutely stepped it up, and the support I’ve had around me is second to none.
“It has made life a whole lot easier just coming here and performing. Even this week, not worrying about my bike, mechanics, timing, the livestream, nothing. I’ve just sat at home, not even cooked dinner. I wake up, I don’t even have to put my stuff in the dishwasher. It is everything you’d expect from this level of team.”
Bigham knew that he had time to spare in the second half of his attempt, as he was going faster than Campenaerts. However, he still took a bit of a safety-first approach.
“Early on the line was really good,” he said. “You start to worry about if you clip a pad and go down or puncture, there’s no time to respond, so you play a bit safe. It’s probably the wise thing to do. It was actually really enjoyable. It’s quite nice when you’ve got that safety net. In my head I wanted 55.5, so to put another 48 metres onto that I’m pretty happy.
“I had five minute splits, and I knew I had to be certain time gaps down and ahead. Then you start to do the maths… every lap is a half second in your pocket, and it gives you some confidence.”
55.548km is therefore the new distance to beat for any would-be challengers, which might include Bigham’s colleague Filippo Ganna in the not too distant future.