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Student sets himself Hour challenge - and rides 46.7km - Fancy seeing if you can beat him?

Dan Bigham of Oxord Brookes hopes his effort will provide benchmark for others to aim at

A student in Oxford has had his own crack at the Hour record – and rode just shy of 47 kilometres last Wednesday. With the UCI Hour record back in vogue and Sir Bradley Wiggins among those planning an attempt, Dan Bigham says he hopes he has set a benchmark to inspire other students to have a go themselves.

Bigham, who studies at Oxford Brookes University and is a member of Beeline Bicycles RT and Cowley Road Condors CC, recorded his ride last Wednesday afternoon at the outdoor track at Reading’s Palmer Park Stadium – where competitive racing is currently suspended on safety grounds – on Strava.

Commenting on the post of his ride there, the 23-year-old from Stone, Staffordshire, said: “I was in a world of pain at the end, just fell off the bike and lay there for a while. Hamstrings are destroyed.”

So why did he decide to take on a challenge that even seasoned pros such as multiple track world champion Jack Bobridge have described as the hardest thing they have ever done on a bike?

“I did it because I found a nice vein of form these past few weeks and with BUCS [the British Universities & Colleges Sport track championships] just round the corner I wanted to set a benchmark, both for myself and for others to look at and go ‘I fancy a go at that.’

“I had an inkling of the distance I could do, but I went to the track on Monday to perform some aero testing, from which I settled on 47km as an achievable target. On the day it didn't go quite as well I had hoped.

“My legs were still quite fatigued from Sunday's Brill Hilly TT where I'd totally buried myself, and was 14w down on what I had aimed for and what appeared possible.”

He also outlined his goals for the months ahead: “Plans for the future are to absolutely smash the BUCS TTs. I've ridden the 10 course a lot, and just raced on the 25 course today, taking the win. I also hope to go well at BUCS RR and Track Champs (despite not racing on an indoor track ever and not currently owning a track bike!).

“I also plan to have a go at the hour record indoor when I'm fresh (probably summer) as I think 49-50km is doable on a track bike with the better aero indoors. I also will be targeting the National 10 and 25, and the National Elite TT Champs!

Jonny Revis of Cowley Road Condors, who is president of the Oxfordshire Road Race League, told road.cc that Bigham progressed from 4th to 2nd Category last year and was second overall in the league with “some pretty epic wins, usually from a breakaway,” adding that “his most formidable weapon is his time trialling ability.”

He described the 46.7 kilometre ride, undertaken on a Trek Speed Concept supplied by Beeline Bicycles, as “a heroic effort from a guy who was a 4th cat rider this time last year.”

We’d love to hear from any other students who have had a crack at the Hour themselves, or are thinking of doing so.

If you fancy having a bash, upload the ride to Strava and post the link in the comments below, together with a bit about yourself - age, where you study, etc.

Besides aiming at Bigham’s distance, let’s see how close anyone can get to Rohan Dennis’s UCI Hour record of 52.491 kilometres, set in February.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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14 comments

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J90 | 9 years ago
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I await an indoor attempt, on a track bike. Decent attempt this though.

It sounds like he wants to cram in a lot of high level racing this year too, don't let the studies slip now....

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djbambina | 9 years ago
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Ok, it would have been an amazing effort, if done on a track bike, especially at Palmer park... but on a TT road bike, with a million gears, the chance to free wheel even for a few seconds a lap... not the same ......... but still an ok time for an hour.

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Veganpotter replied to djbambina | 4 months ago
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Used what he had. He's doing pretty ok now though, even if you think he only did OK as a full time enginerd. That said, as someone that's ridden pursuit bikes and TT bikes on tracks, pursuit bikes are easier to maintain momentum on. That freewheeling is great rest but it's not going to get you further in an hour attempt

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Miller replied to Veganpotter | 4 months ago
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You know this article is from 8 years ago, right?

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antonio | 9 years ago
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Wonderful effort, and trust a clever student to pick up on the latest go faster strips that stick to the lower leg.

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ChrisB200SX | 9 years ago
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It's nearly always got a headwind in the latter part of the final bend and the straight, should be slightly sheltered by the stadium, never feels like it is though.
If I'd have known I could have wandered over and supported.
Bloody good effort  41

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laterrehaute | 9 years ago
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Chapeau. Great effort.

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2 Wheeled Idiot | 9 years ago
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*also could we please have a feature on the bike he used  26

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2 Wheeled Idiot | 9 years ago
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Mentally impressive ride  4
Also like his ambitions for doing it indoors and getting to 49+km  16

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Must be Mad | 9 years ago
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Outdoors, and at Sea level, thats a very impressive achievement.
I'll add to that it has been a bit blowy and cold recently too, so you have to wonder what he could do in the summertime let alone indoors.

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TeamExtreme | 9 years ago
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Looking at his Strava file is really interesting! You can see in each lap his speed is good coming around the first bend and down the back straight, so slightly above average speed for the first half and then dips below for the top bend and the home straight, creating that saw-tooth pattern you can see right through the speed trace.

It doesn't look to be just the cornering, could perhaps be a slight slope on the track or a very consistent wind?

Either way, it looks like a fantastic attempt, pretty solid pacing and looks as though he might be able to get close to 50km with an indoor attempt and a better taper up to the event.

Great effort!

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Iamnot Wiggins replied to TeamExtreme | 9 years ago
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TeamExtreme wrote:

It doesn't look to be just the cornering, could perhaps be a slight slope on the track or a very consistent wind?

Preston Park track has a slight uphill slope on one of it's straights. You certainly feel it in a chaingang ride!

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MalcolmBinns | 9 years ago
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Chapeau. Top effort on an outdoor track.

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tom_w | 9 years ago
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Mighty impressive stuff!

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