By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
As a retired pilot with TWA, 77 year old Bill Kinkead has been accustomed to altitude, something he very much loves.
And for the last two years, he has been tackling the hills on St. John in the annual 8 Tuff Miles race. He placed third in his age group both times, but, is eyeing the top spot in this year.
“I seem to do fairly well going uphill,” said Kinkead, an avid cyclist who has raced on some of the toughest segments of the Tour de France route, adding that he likes going uphill and the 8 Tuff Miles suits him. “I’ve finished third the last two times in the over 70 age group and the other two guys were considerably younger than me. I want to beat those two guys from Massachusetts, but I need to pick up 10 minutes. I think I can get seven or eight, but I’m not sure I can get 10. But, they might have slowed down—they might not come to.”
Preparing for the St. John race is easy Kinkead said, because he lives at Lambert, which is 600 feet in elevation from the resort to the Prison at Balsam Ghut.
‘If you do that twice, you’ve got 1200 feet of climbing and it give you about 10 and a half kilometers,” he noted. “If you can do it three times, you get considerably more, but that’s a bit of efforT.”
Kinkead ran in Saturday’s Blenheim Trust 5K Series opener, that had participants several years his junior. “I can’t keep up with them,” he said after running 33 minutes and 28 seconds to finish ahead of three of the 46 runners. “But, that’s fine. I’m pretty close to the back of them, whereas, in St. John, I’ll finish in the top half. And, that’s with a lot of people a lot younger.”
What he likes about the 8 Tuff Miles?
“Probably because I do well at it,” Kinkead said laughing. “I’m very competitive still even though I’m too old to be competitive.”
He got that competitive spirit as a cyclist after living for 10 years in France, following retirement. He said he had a small recreational vehicle and during the summer, would go camping. There’d be a number of cycling races from 150-270 kilometers—all amateur events.
“The big one is the Tap de Tour, where they’d take one of the hardest mountain stages of the Tour de France, close the roads and it’s just like being the real thing,” he pointed out, except instead of 200 pro cyclists, there’s be between 10,00 and 12,000 amateurs. “You’re so spread out you don’t see the people actually, but, it was fun. I enjoyed that enormously.”