The 17-year-old started bike racing four years ago, but the lack of riding numbers in Otago means he has now switched his allegiance to Southland as he takes part in the Cycling New Zealand hub for development riders, with the goal of making it to the Junior World Cycling Championships in 2018.
"It is more a pathway to getting into the elite team by developing cyclists, so before we had no hub there was no direction of where to go, now we have got Sid Cumming looking after us and there's more interaction with Cycling NZ and a lot more structured trainings and all that," he said.
"So it is better for development and we get strength and conditioning out of it, nutrition coaching and mental skills coaching so it is really good to develop athletes."
He switched from Otago Boys' High School to James Hargest College at the start of the year as he balances his studies with training.
"Gym's been the biggest thing, having a strength and conditioning coach is fantastic, now we have got a whole week laid out, so we are in the gym three times a week, we have got hub training sessions and it is good to have support," he said.
Syme switched his focus recently from endurance to sprinting to further his chances of qualifying for the New Zealand team to compete at international events like the Oceania Championships, which he attended last year.
"For selection for the Oceanias it was important I was in a good team with Southland," he said.
"Being with Southland I got recognised, which led to being in the team for the Oceanias."
"It was an amazing experience, I didn't get any results which was a bit disappointing, but just being in that atmosphere and getting the opportunity to race overseas, I know when I race overseas next time, I know what I am in for."
Syme will be competing in a range of events as one of 30 riders in town for a development hub camp, with a field of 80 riders in total competing in the Cycling Southland mid-winter carnival on Thursday and Friday in Invercargill.
At a glance
What: Cycling Southland mid-winter carnival
When: Thursday and Friday at 6pm
Where: SIT Velodrome
Photo and article courtesy Stuff