Cycling Southland rider Tom Scully rates his first season of racing overseas a learning experience.
Scully was based in the United States during 2011 with high-profile professional team Slipstream's under-23 development squad.
"It was good, it was interesting, I learnt a lot, I enjoyed it," Scully said.
"Whatever is said doesn't always happen but it was a whole new game for me being away and preparing for bike races with big spaces of training blocks in between. It was quite challenging at times, sometimes racing is the best training."
Scully spent most of his time based in Boulder, Colarado, and found the altitude a challenge for his sea-level lungs.
"That was also a new thing for me. Being based at 1600m when you walk out the door, and then going for a training ride and climbing from there. You definitely get pretty high. It's definitely not coming in from Otatara and going along the estuary," he said.
With an overseas campaign now behind him, Scully thinks he is a better bike rider.
"For sure, going through the whole process of how to handle yourself in a team situation like that. It's definitely a good step forward." Although he did not achieve any podiums in the United States, he rated a 17th-placed finish in a 260km one-day race in Philadelphia as evidence he was maturing as a bike rider.
After taking time off at the end of the United States season, Cromwell-raised Scully has been back in the saddle for the past month as he looks ahead to the Tour of Southland.
Scully will ride in an exciting combination of under-23 New Zealand reps under the banner of race sponsor PowerNet.
"We'll enjoy it, set a few goals and try and have a nudge at the end. Young Josh Atkins will be in the mix, he has shown some good form lately. We have an experienced lead-out team. We've all ridden the track over the years and when it comes to turning on the pace we should be alright."
Meanwhile, Joanne Kiesanowski confirmed her dominance on the second day of the national omnium championships at the ILT Velodrome last night.
Kiesanowski won all three events – the individual pursuit, scratch race and time trial – yesterday winning from Gemma Dudley and Elizabeth Steel.
Ranked ninth at the world championships, Kiesanowski said her performances in the timed events were only fractionally outside her personal bests, a pleasing sign so early in the season and with the London Olympics firmly in her sights. "That's my aim, to get on that (podium). It's about consistency and getting stronger all round."
Aaron Gate won the final event, the 1000m time trial, taking the men's omnium title from Marc Ryan, with Hayden Roulston third.
It was a pleasing performance for Gate, with the Aucklander setting personal bests in the time trial and pursuit last night.
"It was good to break a couple of significant milestones with a sub 4min 25sec in the pursuit and sub 1min 4sec in the kilo. The kilo was pretty unexpected but I'm definitely not complaining with the time I did."
In the ILT junior carnival, which also finished last night, the likes of under-15 rider Tahlay Christie, who hails from Perth but has a strong Gore connection, and Canterbury's Dylan Kennett were prominent.
Racing continues at the velodrome tonight with an open carnival event featuring riders from under-15s up to New Zealand's elite sprinters, including the likes of Eddie Dawkins and junior world championship medallist Steph McKenzie.