Interview: 7th Podium in a Row for Matt Clinton


Post race interview with Bronze medallist Matt Clinton at the 2013 Hill Climb Championships in North Yorkshire on Sunday

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

RELATED ARTICLE: Hill Climb Championship 2013

Former Hill Climb champion Matt Clinton is nothing but consistent as he’s been on the podium for the last seven years, the only rider to achieve this as far as we are aware. Riding a bike weighing just over 6 kilos , Matt’s third place on the podium for the third year running )on three very different courses) was he says in his blog, “worth a win on any other climb”.


After a season where it’s been wet (what’s new), Matt’s not won a single hill climb and so the bronze medal was a surprise. “I was surprised, very surprised” he admitted. “Seven years on the trot on the podium but I still don’t know how I pulled that one out of the bag” he said in the pub (the HQ) afterwards.

“I dont think this year I have been able to dig as deep than previous years. I don’t know why that is but today, after the first bit, I glanced down and I thought I am going quite hard here and just ignored what the computer said and kept riding.”

“As I rolled out over the cattle grid and on to the moors, the road ramped up and I got the full force of the wind blowing me sideways across the road – this was where it was really going to hurt after that first three minutes. This was tough going. It was at this point where you really didn’t want to be on the bike!”

Where I saw and photographed the riders, the 18% ramp at the start, the course was sheltered both sides but after that, it was exposed to the elements more than ever. “I almost got blown off the bike twice. It was very gusty out there. I think on one bit, I wheel span as the wind caught me and switched me.”

[pullquote] “I almost got blown off the bike twice. It was very gusty out there. I think on one bit, I wheel span as the wind caught me and switched me.”[/pullquote]

There was also a moment for him when halfway up, he didn’t think the big chain ring was working when he tried to change up. Matt rode the race with a 50 tooth chainring which he says, he was going to change at the start. “I just didn’t get a chance to do it but I don’t think I would have gained much having a 52 or 53 on. It just meant I could stay on the big ring a little longer on the kick to the finish before dropping down.”

In a summary of his own race, Matt explained “with the tailwind, it was fast from the start even though you were sheltered so you could use the wind to gain some speed. I could see my minute man who kept disappearing in the dips and then I caught him at the top. I think I spent most of the time out of the saddle. You have the full effect of the wind at your back rather than getting tucked in which I did a bit on the descent.”

Prior to the start, Matt had explained how he’d hit 40 mph on the descent mid climb and when asked was it as fast in the race, he replied “the descent was horrible. I was gripping onto the brakes halfway down and into that wind, I was scared of being blown off the road.”

The conditions were certainly horrible with rain and hail in the face and many of the riders came back down wearing bin liners to keep the cold off their chests. Not Matt who was glad he had leg warmers and jackets at the top to ride down in with the weather so cold and wintery.

The Bronze medal ride was culmination of a weekend for Matt and Becky who had arrived in the area on Friday night after a long drive. “We came up on Friday night and Jack O’Neil and I rode up twice on the Saturday. We stayed four miles down the road and managed to get in around an hour twentyish.

Asked if that preparation helped on the Sunday, Matt replied “the conditions were very similar on Saturday, just not as grim! We were rugged up and did a few efforts but not full on. I know James Gullen (second in the race) did a full on effort on Saturday.”


“I probably went 80% doing around a 10.40 and then eleven and half minutes. I wanted to keep the legs fresh but at the same time work out where I had to dig in. It was very technical. It was probably the most technical hill climb I have ever done, especially with the wind. It would have been very different had it been a head wind.”

Finally, it is all about the bike after all ;-) and when asked about his, Matt said everything was off the peg on the bike. “I put the drop bars back on and didn’t have bar tape. I borrowed a few light bits like I had a Cannondale chainset for the specialised because it’s the lightest power meter you can get but there was no drilling or cutting!”

But then with a bike that light, does anybody need to drill components! Thanks to Matt for the chat. Catch his Blog here 

RELATED ARTICLE: Hill Climb Championship 2013

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: , , ,