Lisa Carrington will take a large step into the unknown this week as she heads into her busiest canoe sprint world championships to date.
The double Olympic K1 200m champion from Ohope will take on four events in the Czech Republic town of Racice, beginning on Thursday night (NZ time) with K1 500m heats.
She'll also race her favoured K1 200m, link up with Caitlin Ryan in the K2 500m, then join Ryan, Kayla Imrie and Aimee Fisher in the K4 500m.
Potentially, she'll have an exhausting 12-race schedule over the four days, though she can cut that down to 10 if her crews win their team boat heats.
"Both the physical and the mental requirements for racing will be pretty taxing," Carrington admitted. "It will be physically very tough and the same mentally - for me, it will be around taking one step at a time, one foot in front of the other."
These world championships also mark the first time in six years she has competed in team boats. The last time was in 2011, when she and Erin Taylor finished ninth in the A final of the K2 500m, and the 28-year-old believes her decision to rejoin the team boat has rejuvenated her paddling.
"It's given me something I haven't been able to have in the past - I'm really excited to race with the girls because I really trust in their ability and what they can do. It's been really cool developing more of an all-rounder skill base as a paddler and it's been great to be able to do different types of training in a team boat, rather than just in my K1."
These will be Carrington's fifth world championships, having also raced both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. She has collected seven gold medals over those events, unbeaten in the K1 200m, while also collecting the K1 200-500m double in Milan two years ago and adding Olympic bronze in the longer event last year in Rio.
She's unsure how her team boat activities will affect her K1 performance this time around, though she is banking on having six years competing at the highest level behind her.
"I haven't been able to focus on my K1 as much, especially in the last few weeks. It has been a little bit tricky to juggle at times but it's all been part of the challenge. It's not like this is my first time racing K1 - I'm privileged that I've been able to race K1 for a long time now - and experience is really important."
Paracanoeist Scott Martlew will get New Zealand's campaign under way, meanwhile, when he races in his KL3 200m heats on Wednesday night New Zealand time.
The Christchurch paddler finished eighth in the Rio Paralympics last year despite being called up only two weeks before, after the suspension of the Russian National Paralympic Committee. His preparation this time around has been far more comprehensive.
"It's been a hard grind throughout another Christchurch winter but I've arrived at the world champs confident and excited for racing," Martlew said. "I have a lot of work in the bank and I'm well acclimatised so now it's all up to delivering on the day."