MATT Clinton’s first ever 50-mile time trial race ended well after he finished runner-up at the National 50 Championships on Saturday.
The Mike Vaughan Cycles rider took on the challenge in Cheshire despite the damp conditions in only his fifth event of the year.
Clinton saw it as a chance to test himself properly again since returning from shingles a few months ago.
At the end of the first lap, the 30-year-old was ahead of all the other riders except for defending champion Matthew Bottrill.
At this point many riders succumbed to the wet conditions which forced punctures and broken bikes throughout the field.
Clinton put in an almost identical time on lap two but failed to get ahead of leader Bottrill with Brett Harwood snapping at his heels in third.
And despite fading slightly in the final five miles, the Keniwlorth rider, who had never ridden this distance before, had enough left in the tank to hold out for second place after crossing the finishing line in 1:44.32.
Bottrill finished as clear winner by over three minutes while Harwood took Bronze just 15 second behind Clinton.
“I knew I had to stick to a plan, having never done a 50, I had to stick just inside my comfort zone and hold out,” said Clinton.
“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 on Sunday 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. Finishing second behind Bottrill should almost be classed as a win!”
Clinton now looks ahead to the National ten and 25-mile events, both in August, with some local events to hone form in the next couple of months.
It also proved to be a busy weekend for fellow Mike Vaughan Cycles Team rider Liz Powell who was in action on both Saturday and Sunday.
She started the weekend by competing in the Worcester St. John’s CC Open ten-mile race where she was joined by team-mate Corinna O’Connor.
O’Connor was the first of the duo to hit the course and the Great Britain level triathlete put in a time only just short of her season best of 26.31.
Powell was the last female competitor to set off in the chase for a podium place and she finished in a time of 23.00 to take first place, ten seconds ahead of her closest rival Vicky Smith.
And the following day Powell finished as the fastest women in her first ever appearance at the Shirley Road Club Open 50-mile time trial.
Powell came home in a time of 2:01.46 which also placed her third in the veterans standard competition.