The National Hill-Climb podium regular Matt Clinton talks about Jaffa Cakes, bizarre 
comments from motorists and how his off-season has fared so far

It’s become a long-running joke that my time trialling has improved this year because of the number of Jaffa Cakes I eat. Let’s face it, they’re an easy snack, and whenever people ask about what training I do, the answer tends to be a little bit of commuting and eating a fair few of them!

My fiancée got me an off-season treat following the National Hill-Climb Championships – a big tube of 48 Jaffa Cakes. I’m pretty sure we ate them all within two or three days.

I don’t have any pre-race superstitions. A few years ago, when I was fairly new to racing hill climbs, I remember having a big takeaway dinner – either Chinese or Indian – and I won the following race. It’s not something I’ve stuck to, though.

I rode into work the other day and I saw a white van driver opening his window to me. All of a sudden he shouted, “GO LANCE,” which struck me as being a bit weird. I had panniers and reflective clothing on, so I definitely didn’t look like I was trying to race my way through the traffic. I’ve had people shouting “Wiggo” at me in the past, too.



It’s frustrating that I’ve been on the National Hill Climb Podium seven times in a row having only won it once [in 2008],
but then again it’s nice to know that no one has ever achieved such consistency before. It will be a good motivation come next year to make sure I’m in the top three for the eighth year in succession.

I was born in Kent, but moved to Balsall Common, near Solihull, when I was about seven. I’ve recently moved house – I now live in Kenilworth – so it’s easy to ride out to the Costwolds. The only downside of this area is that it’s not particularly hilly. I have to ride a good 30 miles before I get to any notable climb.

I studied geography with information systems at Leeds University. It was a joint honours degree, although the second part was basically playing about on computers. I keep saying I’ll take the bike up to Yorkshire again soon, but it hasn’t happened yet.

My off-season so far has been mainly spent making improvements to our new house. I’m not sure if the previous owners actually did any improvements to the house at all. Still, there’s always the Sunday morning 14mph club ride to keep me ticking over!

This article was first published in the December 5 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!