The Mallard-Kaye challenge

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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