Nikki Kaye conquers day one of Coast to Coast
A bacon sandwich was on Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye's mind as she clambered over Goat Pass in the Coast to Coast multisport race yesterday.
Kaye - the first Cabinet minister to contest the trans-South Island individual event - looked fresh as a mountain daisy as she summoned up a spurt down the finishing chute at Klondyke Corner, near Arthur's Pass.
"The only time I was probably regretting my decision [to race] was when I thought I didn't have my bacon sandwich on me,'' Kayes - 33 on Monday - said.
"But then I discovered it, so at the top of Goat Pass, I had a bacon sandwich.
"I'd been visualising it pretty much the whole way.''
"I'm glad to be over the line, it was a pretty big day. I'm not actually sure what the time was but I think I might have beaten my last time in 2008.
Kaye - who is also Minister of Civil Defence and Youth Affairs - said the last two weeks had been "pretty full-on with work with getting my feet under the table in terms of ministerial portfolios, but it's a great race and I met some very nice people on the way.
"I'm very tired and looking forward to a hot bath and a steak.
Kayes set off from Kumara Beach at 7am and ran into Klondyke at 4.05pm.
She thought the first day of her race went "reasonably well''.
"The cycle was OK, I think I shaved off about 15 minutes [from 2008].
"I lost a bit of energy at the top there [on the run], just coming back down through the chute, I managed to pick up the pace.''
She was looking ahead to today's 67km kayaking stage on the Waimakariri River with a little trepidation.
"Tomorrow's probably the hardest day because I haven't had time to train on the river. Hopefully, I get a good sleep and can grind it out.''
Kaye went through a marathon of her own just to get to the start-line.
She was in the Bay of Islands for the Waitangi Day commemoration on Wednesday then went to Wellington for a one-day National caucus meeting on Thursday.
She got a leave pass to fly to Christchurch about 1pm where she spent the afternoon "sorting out all my gear''.
"Then my mum drove me from there. We were pushing it a bit to get [to Kumara]. We got to registration at twenty to seven [pm], it closes at seven.''
Kayes had yet to check her cellphone to see if there was a message from Prime Minister John Key.
Two Cabinet colleagues, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Conservation Minister Nick Smith, know what it's like to do the Coast to Coast.
"But I hassle them about the fact that they did the teams event,'' Kayes said.