KENILWORTH’s Matt Clinton returned to Yorkshire for a tenth year to compete in both the Huddersfield Star Wheelers and Holme Valley Wheelers hill climbs where he achieved two fourth-place finishes.
Cool but dry conditions remained throughout the day as the riders first tackled the Jackson Bridge climb which was the location of the 2015 National Championships for the Huddersfield SW promotion.
Using his spare fixed wheel bike, Clinton opted to experiment with his bike set-up and was carrying around 2kg more bike weight over his normal Trek race machine – this put him at a serious disadvantage to his rivals.
Tackling the climb on a fixed bike proved to be a tough challenge with Clinton opting to go one gear smaller than when he last rode in on fixed in 2012.
A reasonable, but not outstanding ride saw Clinton place fourth in a time of 4:27.06 which was slightly slower than last year, but with the time attributed to the extra bike weight. The race was won by 2014 National Champion Dan Evans in a time of 4:07.05.
The afternoon saw riders move across to Holme Moss which is a much longer, more exposed challenge at 1.3 miles.
Clinton this time went back on his geared Trek Emonda SLR bike, although not yet stripped down to minimal hill climb guise.
A strong ride saw Clinton fade at around four minutes into the climb and he crossed the finish line in 6:32.08, again placing him fourth with Evans once again winning in a new course record of 4:11.08.
“Some of these guys have raced five-ten climbs already, you can’t replicate that kind of effort in training,” said Clinton, who has his sights now set on preparing for the National finals in three weeks.
“I’ve now done three, so a little way behind, but the end of October is still a long way off if you’re doing those efforts week-in-week-out. My form will come; I just need to learn to really hurt myself again!”
This weekend Clinton will be at the Stratford Cycling Club event on Dover’s Hill near Chipping Campden where he comes up against current National Champion, Richard Bussell and 2013 Champion, Tejvan Pettinger.