Clinton goes the extra miles and gains a second

Matt Clinton on his way to second place in Cheshire. Picture submitted
Matt Clinton on his way to second place in Cheshire. Picture submitted

Kenilworth rider Matt Clinton claimed an impressive runners-up spot at the National 50-mile Championships in Cheshire last Saturday.

The Mike Vaughan Cycles rider was taking part in only his fifth Open event of the year and his first-ever 50-mile time trial which took in three laps of a 16.5mile circuit from Cranage to Twemlow, Chelford and Knutsford.

At the end of the first lap, Clinton was lying second behind defending champion Matthew Bottrill (drag2zero.com).

Earlier rain saw many riders succumb to punctures and broken bikes, but Clinton continued to lap consistently, with Brett Harwood (Terry Wright Cycles) his biggest threat to the silver medal position.

Having never ridden the distance before on his Trek Speed Concept TT bike, Clinton started to fade in the final five miles.

It was a case of digging deep as he crossed the line in 1hr 44min 32sec (28.7mph), 15 seconds clear of third-placed Harwood.

Bottrill was a clear winner in 1:41:22 (29.6mph) but 30-year-old Clinton was happy with his performance as he continues to battle back from a bout of shingles.

“I knew I had to stick to a plan, having never done a 50,” said Clinton.

“I had to stick just inside my comfort zone and hold out.

“Usually the longest events I do are 25 miles, so it was a tough day out.

“I’ve recently tweaked the position on my Trek Speed Concept, which was faultless today and I had some great help from Cyclepowermeters in terms of a race plan.

“A 50 certainly won’t be my next choice of event, but I’m pleased to get a medal today - finishing second behind Bottrill should almost be classed as a win.”

Clinton is now looking to build on his promising form ahead of August’s National 10 and 25 events.