Clinton’s fixed idea goes out of his head after Nationals dress rehearsal

Matt Clinton

Matt Clinton

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With only a week to go before the National Hill Climb Championships, 2008 champion Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) headed up to Matlock last Sunday to compete in the annual double-header, which included a shortened version of the upcoming title race.

The morning event saw damp conditions for the Riber climb, a relatively simple and easy ascent for the first half, with the second half containing five hairpins as the ascent reaches slopes of 25 per cent.

Riding a fixed-wheel bike, Clinton finished in 3min 43.8sec which was around ten seconds slower than his best time on the climb.

“I knew that the course didn’t suit fixed, but I gave it a go anyway,” said Clinton.

“Riber’s a bit too technical for me.”

This would place him a slightly disappointing ninth place, with championship favourite Joe Clark storming to a win in 3:17.9, a new course record.

The Bank Road event was more suited to a fixed wheel but despite using a smaller gear than when he won there in 2008, Clinton struggled to turn it in the face of a strong headwind.

A time of 1:57.8 put Clinton in ninth for the second time in the day, with Clark almost ten seconds ahead to take another win.

“I’m surprised how hard Bank Road was,” said Clinton.

“It’s never been easy, but I’ve always used a harder gear.

“I’m glad I rode this today as I’ve decided to opt for gears again for the National.

“If this had been it today, I’d have regretted being on fixed.

“You have to make a choice on gear at the start and deal with it. With gears, you can make that choice as you’re riding, you’ve more choice on a ‘get-out-gear’ and more options to accelerate if needed.”

He added: “It’s fuelled the fire for next weekend. I usually pull something special out of the bag for the National, the Matlock events a week before aren’t normally my best rides of the season.”