Barrie Clarke's race diary - Bike Magic

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Barrie Clarke’s race diary

The National Championships is always a big event for me. To wear the red, white and blue jersey is something special. I haven’t been
doing so much travelling to the major international events this year, so I haven’t been over-raced and have reached the end of July still with the same enthusiasm as I had back in March. I just might not
have that extra bit of fitness…

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time in Morzine at Endlessride’s chalet. Like everyone else, I spent a few days doing the downhills and riding the chairlifts back up. I loved it – why do you want to ride uphill when you can take a lift? It definitely sharpened up my downhill skills, and this unconventional training paid dividends at the weekend.

This is the first year for a while that I had no real expectations for the Championships. I hoped for a good result but didn’t know whether it would come my way. As many of you know I like a race that’s competitive, and the Champs didn’t disappoint…

The course was a big climb followed by a long descent. Oli Beckingsale and Nick Craig set a blistering pace from the gun and they just rode away – no-one could hold on to them. With the long descent this favoured Nick. They stayed together for a couple of laps before Nick started to open a gap. Meanwhile behind there was a group of riders – Ian Wilkinson, Jody Crawforth, Zak Toogood, Dave Collins and I – racing each other. By the third lap it was down to just Jody, Ian and I. Then after some strong riding Ian started to fade, Jody attacked and Jody and I opened a gap. We were now racing for the bronze medal with two laps remaining, but the news from the side of the course was that Oli had cracked and was losing time…

Going into the last lap Nick had a huge lead, Oli was two minutes in front of Jody and I and we had a good gap over Ian. Three-quarters of the way up the climb I made my move and attacked Jody. He didn’t respond and I was surprised how much energy I had left. I pushed on to the top and caught sight of Oli in the distance. I thought I had a chance of catching him before the finish – as it turned out Oli was seeing stars and almost bouncing off the trees and I caught him in no time. I crossed the line to take the silver medal for the second year, Oli held on for the bronze.

Even I wouldn’t have bet on myself winning the silver medal, not even with a lap to go!

Barrie Clarke races for Giant. More Barrie at


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