With Weight Watchers Endurance Project (aka McCarkiss Chub Club) in full effect Simkiss took to the hill in Ilmington to try out his slightly lighter racing frame in the Tempo Events Winter Series – with the attraction of a race (even with a big-ass hill) being somewhat more appealing than a lonely plod.
Down on fitness to a completely unknown extent, Simkiss knew that even with a lighter chassis he was still carrying more ballast than others, and combined with a misfiring engine, the hill was going to be tough going regardless of anyone else lining up at the start. Needless to say that the MCKEPian was somewhat relieved to find Mountain Goat Rich Shephard would be running the event with wife Ceri, rather than disappearing off ahead up Larkstoke hill, leaving a big margin for Simkiss to have to close down in the second half of the race.
Pleasantries exchanged with a lot of the old gang from Kenilworth, the race was then underway with Simkiss gravitating to third place behind yo-yo athlete Ian Mansell, and Dean Clarke of
Tractors RC Massey Ferguson. The gap was slowly closed to 2nd place Mansell and Simkiss entered the hill just after 1km alongside him, prepping his hair ready for photographer Barry Cornelius to capture his flowing locks… Clarke was perhaps 15m ahead.
The three grouped and changed positions regularly. By first base camp, Simkiss was 15m adrift but closed the gap fast on the momentary flat section, and now digging a little deeper to hold his own alongside Clarke – gradually a gap formed to Mansell as the hill was summitted. Simkiss’ achilles heel (the uphill) was now done, and as confidence grew, an evil plan was hatched – confident his thighs would do him proud at the end, he decided to run alongside Clarke with a view to kicking with maybe 400m to go.
The pace was comfortable enough, and entering the final km’s, Clarke was clearly working hard alongside Mr McCarkiss and had developed a sizeable gap to Mansell… labouring enough to appease any nervousness Simkiss may have had that perhaps Clarke might be holding something back for a super-hard kick coming off the last bend.
Like a wound up horse waiting for the gates to open, the adrenaline was building for Simkiss as he neared the last bend in the road which was the arbitrary point chosen to kick from. Clutch in, dropped down into second’, and flooring it… Simkiss was away without challenge, and free to stumble onto the uneven playing fields of Ilmington in first place to take the win, Clarke following 15 seconds behind, and Mansell a further 48sec later.
With the Ilmington report complete, readers continue to ask “What about the Berlin report? When’s it coming? Are you writing a book?” to which the McCarkiss editorial team have responded “It’s coming… Soon(ish)… and no… you cheeky b