As part of our interview series and in the run up to our Gran Fondo Costa Almería trip we sat down with our ride leader, Daniel Kogan of Sigma Sports.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Dan Kogan. I am a Surrey based cyclist, working at Sigma Sports as the content and social media manager.
WHAT'S YOUR CYCLING BACKGROUND?
I began cycling at the age of four and by the age of 10 or 11 began riding in the forest with my dad and friend. My mum was working at a school and her colleague mentioned a youth cycling club, based at the Eastway Cycle Circuit, in East London, would be the ideal place for a cycling obsessed youngster to let of some steam. I was soon hooked, join the Lee Valley Youth Club and entered my first race at the age of 14. My first bike was a Raleigh hardtail mountain bike and I began racing cyclocross races both at the circuit and further afield in London and Eastern counties leagues. My main focus was on the road and after moving on from the youth club as a first year junior, I rode as an individual for Ciclos Uno, a local bike shop to me. With a successful season under my belt I was asked to join the UK's best junior team at the time, Glendene. This opened up opportunities to race at a national level, both in the UK and Europe. Leaving the junior ranks I was approached by an individual called James Whatling who was setting up an Essex based elite road cycling team. 2008 saw me racing for this team, Ciclos Uno, where I had an enjoyable season, with just one highlight being making it into a breakaway at the National RR Championships. The following year the team took a step up, changing sponsors, bolstering the line up and entering the Tour Series. One final year saw me racing for the Orbea FGS Race Team, although my mind was already looking to racing overseas. 2011 and I was lucky enough to receive John Ibbotson Funding to allow me to race a full season in Brittany, for a French based team. Returning to the UK in 2012, I briefly raced again for Orbea FGS before a series of serious crashes made me decide at the age of 24 to step away from racing. A couple of years later and I joined Sigma Sport and began enjoying taking part in gran fondos abroad and generally spend my weekends exploring on two wheels.
My favourite ride has got to be the Sportful Dolomiti Gran Fondo in Feltre, Italy. Brutal pretty much sums it up. Over 200kms with over 4500 metres of climbing and a cobbled finish makes it a bucket list ride for me.
I very rarely look at segments but I guess some of the segments I rode in Israel last year were fun. Giving it full gas in the desert is quite an experience.
WHY ARE YOU A VELO HOLS RIDE LEADER FOR THE GFCA 2018?
I am really grateful to be given the opportunity to ride captain with Velo Hols. I have a real passion for the mountains and exploring new roads. Spain is an amazing place to ride and I always enjoy sharing these experiences with fellow riders.
3 TIPS ON PREPARING FOR A GRAN FONDO?
Good question. A lot depends on the distance and terrain of the event. Rest and making sure you at the start line is really important. Secondly, pace yourself. Set off too fast and you will pay for it later. Hold something back for the final 30km and you can make up some serious time. Thirdly, make sure to look after yourself on the ride. Eat, drink, stop if required, respect the ride and your body and you will get the most out of the event.
WHERE CAN WE FOLLOW YOU ON SOCIAL?
I am both on Twitter and Instagram sharing my rides, experiences from Essex, Surrey, Dorset and further afield.