Mary Lambie has been a prominent media personality for more than 20 years. These days the 48-year-old small business owner is "a slave to three children" and fills her weeks training for endurance events. She is counting down to her fifth 160km solo ride in the Contact Taupo Cycle Challenge. She said the people, the spectacle and knowing it comes to an end are the things she enjoys. She is looking forward to taking it on fully fit after competing two years ago with a broken elbow which she called "dangerous, stupid and painful".

What do you enjoy about cycling over running?

I like the camaraderie on the road, and the people in my suburb going out, keeping fit and chewing the fat. None of us are champions, but we have grit. Cycling is quicker - more distance can be covered. On a morning ride we can go out to the airport and back, or flee to the hills of Helensville and be back in time for a midmorning coffee. Cycling is also much kinder on the body.

What are you competing in and what time do you have in mind?


This will be my fifth time as a solo 160km rider. If the weather gods swing a calm, slightly overcast day, my bike stays in solid working order and I find a good bunch then I would hope for a 5:30-ish finish.

How much training are you doing and how hard is it to fit it in?

I do what I can do without it seriously interfering with work and home. The issue with endurance events is they are very time consuming - time getting fit, staying fit and the actual competing. Like hundreds of other recreational competitors, squeezing in training is a constant juggle.

Who are you doing the Taupo Cycle Challenge with?

A couple of us from my local riding group will head down and slog out the solo. We will probably lose each other within the first 30km then trickle within an hour of each other at the end. New acquaintances will be made on the way around ... that's the enduring spirit of TCC.

What advice do you offer to newcomers to this event?

It's a long day but very doable. The trick is to find a bunch which suits your experience. Pace yourself, keep hydrated and enjoy the view.

You are also training for the Coast to Sea adventure race - when is that event and what is your goal?

This will be my third attempt at the great race, which is held in February. Previously I have done it as a team - being the runner and last cyclist - but next year I've entered as a two-day solo competitor. This means committing to kayak the Waimakariri. Kayaking grade two terrain is a mix of tranquil and terrifying.