Daniel Patten in his new SmartStop-MK kit. Photo © Daniel Patten
Luke Allingham: It's been about a year since we last talked. Fill us in on what you've been doing over the past year.
Daniel Patten: I spent the 2012 racing in Belgium again. For 2012 it was in the colors of Soenens Construkt Glas. I did in the region of 75 days racing last year from middle/end February through until middle of October. So that was the main part of my year. Once the season was over I spent a couple of weeks relaxing in Belgium before heading back home to the UK. Come the middle of November and 1 month of rest I began my winter training again in preparation for the 2013 season. My winter pretty much involved training or getting things in place to come to the US this year, but I also managed to fit in a couple of visits to Belgium. Beginning of February I was US bound, so the year has pretty much flown by!
LA: How was your 2012 season overall?
DP: I had a consistently strong season from start to finish. Luckily I have a good coach in Belgium, Luc Wante, who knows me and my body well and so it proved as I held a consistently high level throughout the season. More wins would have been nice but my resume ended up with 3 wins on it for 2012, plus 1 Overall 2 day classement win and a further 3 podium placingís amongst other top 10ís, etc.
LA: You've joined a new team for the 2013 season, Team SmartStop-MK. Tell us about your new team.
DP: Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis is a UCI Continental registered team based out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Iíll happily admit I knew very little about this team when I sent off my resume to them back in late summer of last year. However after a couple of emails were exchanged and Skype conversation or two later with James Bennett (Team Manager) I knew a lot more about the team, there philosophy, there goals and there plans for 2013. After a successful season on the US criterium scene in 2012 the team is looking to maintain this status as well as add to it on the road racing scene. And thatís mainly where Iíll come in. As identified, the team is already one of the main players on the criterium scene and over the winter and edging towards the start of the 2013 season the team seems to have become an even greater force, which along with it comes even greater expectations for the season ahead. Itís a team clearly growing and Iím looking forward to being part of that in 2013. You can follow our season via the website, Twitter and Facebook
LA: Team SmartStop-MK is a US-based team, after spending the last couple seasons racing in Europe, how do you feel about racing in the States this year? Will this be your first season racing in the US?
DP: This will indeed be my first year racing in the States. It took some consideration but I felt it was a move to make. I have been provided a good opportunity to show myself here in the US as a rider on a team that is getting bigger and bigger. This is exciting and I hope this move will help me to continue to progress in the cycling world. The US provides me with some new racing and a chance to show what I can do in these races. I think its exciting being completely new to the US cycling scene. As much as I donít know about the racing here, teams and riders also now little about me. It could be an interesting year ahead. But Iím looking forward to getting started with the racing and want to thank Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis for the opportunity they are giving me this year.
LA: What is your role on Team SmartStop-MK this year?
Patten experiences the US roads. Photo © Daniel Patten
DP: Mainly for the road racing side of things, NRC, other stage races, etc., etc. To hopefully add something else to the team from my experiences of racing in Europe. So I have expectations and responsibilities placed on me, but itís a nice situation to be in...positive pressure! Of course I will also find myself in some criterium action, after all I see most of the stage races (if not all) have a criterium stage. Who knows this may see me being put in more criteriums as the season progresses. The good thing with coming from racing in Belgium is that you learn to become a strong, all round rider, which should see me well whatever the style of race here. But firstly it will be about finding my feet on the US racing scene. From then we will see!
LA: What are your major goals for the upcoming season?
DP: As above my goals will mainly be geared around the road racing side of things, in particular results in the NRC races and other road races/stage races that present themselves.
LA: When does your first race of the season begin? What is your first race of the year?
DP: We have the official team training camp, presentation, etc., from March 1st-10th in Winston-Salem. Likeliness is I will begin racing on this final weekend of camp (9th/10th) ďlocallyĒ in the Carolinas. Then a few days later I will be West Coast bound for 3 weeks+ for 3 stage races: Tucson Bicycle Classic, San Dimas Stage Race and Redlands Bicycle Classic.
LA: We're only at the beginning of the year, but do you have any hopes for future years? Would you like to continue riding in the United States for a few years or would you prefer to go back to Europe and race?
DP: I have learned nothing is certain in this sport, so at this moment in time I really donít know. I am thinking about this season with Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis and getting results for my new team. Perhaps we can do another interview in a yearís time and we will see where I am...? ;-)
LA: I'd like to talk a little bit more about you being in the United States. After being born in the UK and racing in Belgium, how much of a culture change is it for you to move to the United States?
DP: Pretty big, but again I think as a cyclist you learn to adapt to new surroundings. Still I think itís going to take some getting used to. I think the move (and thinking about the move) is always harder to grasp. Once you are here like I am now, you begin to adapt. Social media and alike make it easy to keep in contact with the UK and Belgium so that of course always helps. The time difference is a strange thing to get used to. Currently 5hrs behind UK time (6hrs behind CET time) its strange when people back home are going to bed and Iím cooking my dinner. Or when I get up in the morning and back home is already the afternoon. Gradually adjusting to this haha
LA: What are some major differences that you've noticed between living in the United States and Europe?
Dan is training for the upcoming season. Photo © Daniel Patten
DP: Again I think I will be better set to answer this after longer in the US. It's 3 weeks now since I arrived. Also I can see there being variations state to state due to the sheer size of the US let alone from Europe to the US. I think I am going to get to see a lot of different places in the US this year! One thing I have noticed already...everything is big here, as expected.
LA: When we talked last, we talked about you being coached by Luc Wante. Now that you're racing in the States, will you be coached by someone else or train by yourself this year?
DP: I will still be coached by Luc Wante. He knows me and my body well and knows what works. I am also very happy under his guidance, reflected in how I have progressed as a rider in Belgium these past seasons. When I have a trainer who is keeping me in form for the duration of a cycling season then I certainly know that what we are doing is working for me. Itís all about balance. Not doing too much too soon and when its not needed, but at the same time working hard and doing whatís required when it is needed. Maybe more than ever Iím going to need Luc this year as there maybe times when thereís quieter periods of racing, so getting the balance of training right in them periods will be important.
LA: Where will you be based this season?
DP: On the road haha And when I'm not on the road mainly between Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Athens, Georgia. The teamís base is obviously in Winston-Salem but for the last couple of weeks I have been down in Athens before heading back up for camp and to begin racing.
LA: What type of equipment will you be using this year?
DP: I kind of expected that US teams wouldnít disappoint in this area and I wasn't wrong. Wilier Bikes (Zero 9 training/race bikes & Blade TT bike) with VP Pedals, SRAM components, Ritchey finishing kit, Reynolds wheels and San Marco Saddles. Lazer Helmets, Mavic Shoes and Tifosi sunglasses cover the accessories whilst we are wearing Champion System Kit. Mountain Khakis provide the casual/off the bike clothes and Keen the casual/off the bike shoes.
LA: We've come to the close of this interview. Any closing comments to our readers?
DP: Just to thank you Luke for this interview and I hope to see some of the readers of it on the road this season. Also would like to send my best to Vaughn Trevisanut at Daily Peloton who I have been in contact with for a number of years now. Look forward to hopefully getting to meet in person sometime during the course of the season! Finally I would like to thank the Dave Rayner Fund, an organization in the UK who help to support riders to go abroad and progress in the cycling world. Amongst many riders they have been supporting me the last 3 years in Belgium and are doing so once again this year in the USA. It is very much appreciated and so my thanks once again go to the Dave Rayner Fund. Looking forward to getting rolling with Team SmartStop P/B Mountain Khakis! Readers can follow my updates this 2013 season through: Twitter, Instagram and my Blog.