Fairfax cycling writer NATHAN BURDON caught up with BikeNZ endurance rider Pieter Bulling ahead of this month's Commonwealth Games.
I love the team's pursuit.
For me, in cycling, there's nothing better than racing inside the velodrome, with the crowd right there, dialling everything in at 65kmh+, knowing that a 10th of a second can be the difference between winning and losing the race of a lifetime.
At the moment, I'm with the New Zealand Commonwealth Games men's endurance squad.
Last week we made the trip down to Bordeaux, France, moving from the BikeNZ base in Belgium.
We are now based in Bordeaux for three weeks to add the final touches to our preparations before heading to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.
This is the first time that all squads (men and women, sprinters and endurance) have been based together since the London Olympics in 2012.
In this final phase we'll be laying down three to four days a week of intense work on the track.
As we are in the final weeks of prep, road riding becomes a recovery exercise as we focus on the short and sharp efforts at the track.
I expect the upcoming games in Glasgow will be a lot more overwhelming compared to my previous experiences.
The general New Zealand public follows the Games more closely.
I expect that the excitement around the Games will be amplified by all the media, uniforms, other athletes and the village itself.
Personally, I have faced a couple of setbacks this year.
I had my tonsils removed straight after the World Championships in March because I had been dealing with tonsillitis on and off over the summer.
With my tonsils out, I've stayed in good health while I've been in Europe, which has been great.
However, the biggest setback I've had was an injured knee as I began training in Europe.
I was lucky enough to manage this issue by regularly meeting with an osteopath in Belgium.
Eventually, our BikeNZ physiotherapist, Jackie Cohen came over from New Zealand and rehabilitated my knee to a point where I could fully return to training.
The highlight of my year so far was coming home with the bronze medal in the team pursuit at the UCI Track World Championships held in Cali, Colombia.
It's been a big step up, winning my first world championship medal at an elite level.
This achievement shows the progression I've made over the past couple of years.
I attribute my development at this level to time out from cycling as a junior, being involved with the elite programme, and learning a lot from the senior riders and coaches.
In September I will be moving to Cambridge, as BikeNZ is centralising all of its squads around the new velodrome (as rowing did years ago).
I'm having mixed emotions around this move, as I feel I have everything I need in Southland.
I will certainly miss being close to my home, family, and the supportive community.
However, I believe moving to Cambridge will benefit us in the long term, as we will be able to train together as a team, any day of the week. This will hopefully convert to more medals at world championship and Olympic level.
I only hope that it doesn't feel like I'm constantly in camp mode.
Looking towards the future, I want to stay on the track, make the Olympic Games team for Rio in 2016 - after that I will reassess my situation, and look at what I want to do next in cycling.
Away from cycling, I'm working on attaining a real estate license through Open Polytechnic.
● Meanwhile, Cameron Karwowski, who was profiled in last week's Pro Watch, has gone on to claim a top result in Europe.
Riding for his Belgium Veranclassic Doltcini team, Karwowski placed sixth in the GP John-Pierre Monsere, once place ahead of 2012 world road champion Philippe Gilbert.
Article courtesy The Southland Times