The Mallard-Kaye challenge

July 19th, 2009 at 4:46 pm by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard blogs:

I’ve known Nikki Kaye for about a decade. But not well enough.

On budget night she challenged me to race around Taupo during the Challenge in November.

I do a bit of biking. I’ve done Taupo four times mostly taking between 5.31 and 5.36.   Over 6.20 first attempt. Ok for my age.

I looked at Nikki. She’s young, looks pretty good but didn’t impress me as a finely tuned athlete. I accepted her challenge.

How wrong I was. Nikki did the coast to coast last year. Not as part of a team but as an individual. And she was only one off a top 50 finish.

Experts tell me that it is the equivalent of a 4.45 Taupo. My limit would be around 5.15 if training went well and conditions on the day were great.

Now Trevor is a pretty good cyclist. But he is an even better politician and is doing the old politician trick of reducing expectations.

Trevor did get 5.36 last year. I have no doubt he can make 5.15 with sufficient motivation, and maybe even better that. My spies report he is spending much spare time .

Now Nikki is definitely very fit, has run some marathons, and did complete the Coast to Coast last year. But she is not a regular cyclist and proficiency in one sport does not always translate into proficiency in another. And 160 kms is a tough challenge.

As an example Caroline Evers-Swindell did the race last year slower than Trevor – 5:44.

So quite a compliment that Trevor thinks Nikki can cycle 160 kms one hour faster than an Olympic gold medallist.

A time of 4:45 would out Nikki in the top 15 for her gender and age. It would put her ahead of Shelley Hesson at 4:53 who competed in the 2004 Olympic Games.

It would even be a faster time than Jenny MacPherson (4:51) who has won three consecutive Tour Down Under cycling races.

So when Trevor casually mentions he reckons Nikki is good for 4:45, you should treat this with the normal suspicion of anything Trevor says.

To do a sub five hour race, Trevor (on 2008 results) would need to be be in the top 300 of the 1,300 in his age and gender group. Niiki, to do a sub five hour race, would need to be in basically the top 20 of 250.

Now I’m not saying Nikki won’t win. Obviously I hope she will. But the contest isn’t quite as uneven as Trevor would like people to think.

Cactus Kate commented:

I’m picking a Mallard victory on the basis that you have at least 4 spare hours a day in opposition to train for the event

Trevor has even blogged about some of his recent cycling.

Trevor responded:

Kate – I’ve certainly got a lot more time now that I’m not a Minister. But government backbenchers possibly have even more time. They are tied up in Select Committees a bit more but don’t seem to do the policy development work and caucus group travel that we do.

Heh. The thought of Nikki with spare time is fairly amusing as she is currently on three Select Committees (some MPs have only one) and the Auckland Governance Committee is spending around a month sitting from 9 am to 9 pm five days a week. And that is only select committee hearings – on top of that you have all your other MPs duties.

So I think the Mallard-Kaye contest will be a tightly contested race. Will Nikki’s fitness and youth overcome Trevor’s experience, strength and time?

By coincidence Kiwiblog may just be in Taupo to report on this race :-)

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18 Responses to “The Mallard-Kaye challenge”

  1. theodoresteel (90 comments) says:

    I wonder how many fans Nikki has because of her fitness and youth.

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  2. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    Just a comment on Caroline Evers-Swindell, while an amazing rower, being fit for a 2000 meter rowing race is entirely different to being fit for a 160km bike race.

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  3. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    Wonder if Kevin Hague will be in on this? He’s pretty fit as a cyclist – would be good to have a 3-way political competition. Mind you, Nikki’s relative youth gives her a distinct advantage – won’t have to fight throught the aches and pains like those of us who are older do.

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  4. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    wake me up when we get the waterfront stadium

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  5. tvb (4,200 comments) says:

    Mallard has set this up to give himself publicity on how fit he is. He has all but declared himself running for the Leadership of the Labour Party.

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  6. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    He clocked a marginally better time at Karapoti this year compared to 2008. Considering the conditions in 2008 vs 2009 that was quite an achievement. He looked fitter this year as well, being in opposition obviously agrees with Mallard.

    Good on him for taking the challenge, but he’s a bit of a moron for not doing a form check before accepting it.

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  7. Manolo (13,341 comments) says:

    Let’s hope Kaye wipes the floor with Mallard’s sorry, battered and aching body. Very foolish of the old man to challenge a younger and fitter individual.

    So, it must be a publicity stunt from Labour’s self-appointed thuggish bovver-boy. These days he suffers from an attention-seeking disorder.

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  8. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    what Manolo said in the second sentence. Don’t give that washed up good for nothing else former Minister of Closing Schools and Punching Colleagues any publicity.

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  9. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    Buggerlugs

    As much as I agree with you about Mallard being a complete muppet, he is a competent cyclist. He is almost sure to loose this bet, the test will be how seriously he tries rather than if he wins or looses.

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  10. Comrade MOT (59 comments) says:

    The key difference between Caroline Evers-swindell And Nicky Kaye, is that the coast to coast includes quite a lot of cycling. The Coast to coast legs of cycling are much more like the Taoupo challenge than a 2K row. Rowing is biomechanically much different, and while 2K requires a lot of endurance, it is a different type of endurance than the very long coast to coast/round toupo type events.
    But I do think that 4.45 is still probably quite optimistic. I guess that they’ll both get mid to low 5.something times. Mallard’s Gender is a big advantage for him.

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  11. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Quite right Comrade – the Coast to Coast includes 140km of cycling.

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  12. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    Taupo’s not about the endurance, it’s about endurance at a high enough pace and the competence to bunch ride (something the multisporters are notoriously bad at…us cyclists treat Coast to Coast stickers as warning signs).

    I’m almost tempted to enter this year, 5.30 on bugger-all training should be do-able for the chance to give Trev a wee nudge half way up Hatepe..

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  13. Comrade MOT (59 comments) says:

    It is a trend that athletes who do events with multiple disciplines, (e.g. coast to coast/triathlons) are much better at a single discipline event that involves one of the components of their sport, than athletes changing from one event to another. For example, lance armstrong retired from cylcling and ran is first marathon in 3hrs. However, Cameron Brown, who does ironman’s even though he does 3 disciplines, can run a marathon (after doing a 3.8K swim and 180Kbike) in 2.40, which is way faster than armstrong. Even on his next attempt, armstrong only did about 2.40 odd.

    This suggests that Kaye speciallising in one discipline of her multi dicipline repitiore may do better than Evers-Swindell, changing to a very different discipline.

    [DPF: Nikki had only been a runner up until the Coast to Coast. She only took up kayaking a few weeks before the race, and had never done a bike race before - even though she has probably recreationally cycled]

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  14. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    Comrade, then again Laurent Jalabert at the age of 40 came 12th in Ironman France last year, six years after retirement from pro cycling…

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  15. Comrade MOT (59 comments) says:

    six years is enough time to develop running and swimming. Her cycling background would have helped her, of course, but if she had been 12th in Ironman france six years ago, I would hypothesise that it would have taken her less than six years to become a top cyclist.

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  16. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    Come on people, cycling, what a wimpy sport.
    Now this is a sport, rugby, brings an elegance to what would be an unruly brawl :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_nBTmRc9LI

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  17. cauld (47 comments) says:

    Well… just about to head out for my training ride.

    Wonder if a little strategic bunch management could be used to help here

    5:30 is still a pretty decent time for Taupo. It’s a flat course so will tend to favour a stonger cyclist over a lighter one.

    As above… suggest that some well organized and pre-practiced team riding might be a good approach to ensuring victory here.

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  18. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    I take it Mallard is not otherwise employed in any fashion.

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