Kenilworth rider Matt Clinton believes he is hitting form at just the right time after a second place at the Stratford CC-hosted Dover’s Hill climb near Chipping Campden.
Heavy rain in the morning put some riders off, but skies cleared just before the off for the classic climb - the venue for the National Championships in 2010 - which rises an average of 10 per cent for 0.9 miles.
This would be the first outing for Clinton on his stripped-down fixed-wheel Trek Emonda SLR bike and the Mike Vaughan Cycles rider set off well.
As the middle section ramped up, wheel-spin hampered his progress slightly.
Pushing hard through to the top of the climb, it would be a struggle to keep on top of the gear as it levelled out to the finish line.
However, the effort would be a good one for Clinton who finished just 9.5 seconds behind reigning national champion Richard Bussell (AeroCoach), who crossed the line in 3min 47.7sec.
And, having been 15 seconds down on Bussell on a much shorter climb two weeks previously, Clinton is delighted with the way his form is going.
“My power was almost the same as I did at Shelsley Walsh two weeks ago, but for over a minute longer,” said Clinton, who will be riding two Matlock CC events this weekend.
“I didn’t have a great ride as I was wheel-spinning a lot, but to get under four minutes was good - it’s less than ten second down on my 2010 Nationals second place when I was really on form.”
Kenilworth’s Jack O’Neill (B38/Underpin Racing) completed the podium, finishing just five seconds down on Clinton.