World record-breaker Cameron Brown has delayed his arrival into Taupo for Saturday's 33rd Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand.
Brown, 44, continues to deny everyone as he chases a 13th victory in Taupo and a win will extend his global record for the most wins of the same ironman event and the oldest male to win an ironman.
But first he had other important duties, like watching his 13 year old younger son Josh compete in the Auckland schools triathlon championship, which gave him further time to reflect.
"The boys weren't born when I first won in Taupo and have come down to the race since they were babies. Now they are both teenagers," said Cameron Brown.
The boys also give Brown further reason to continue in the sport that he loves, with no thought of retirement.
"The boys are both heavily in to sport and we can train or have some fun together. I love what I do. I love this sport, the lifestyle that comes with it and the feeling of being fit. It's crazy, if you have a poor run of weather I really miss the five-hour rides."
Brown has enjoyed an excellent buildup for the race which has drawn a field that the champion believes is one of the strongest in his tenure in Taupo.
"Marino Vanhoenaker and Marko Albert have both won here and Braden Currie has won the 70.3 race here for two years. Terenzo (Bozzone) went 7:51 in Western Australia and Cyril Viennot is a real threat.
"I have had no issues in the lead-up. It has been a testing summer but the last few weeks have been good and I am happy where I am at."
Vanhoenaker makes a return after winning the weather-shortened race in 2012, with the Belgian refinding his best form over the last 18 months for the man who held the world's fastest ironman time of 7:45 until recently pipped.
He is returning to a country that has been part of his emergence in the sport.
"I came to Christchurch 15 years ago to train with a group including John Newsom, Matt Reed and Kris Gemmell under Dr John Hellemans and I really liked the lifestyle on this side of the world," Vanhoenaker said.
"I won in Taupo when it got halfed due to a big storm, so I do not really count that one as a full Ironman win, so here I am again to give it another shot."
Albert, who held off Brown and Bozzone in 2014, is another to return with high expectations.
"First and foremost the goal for me is to qualify for the World Championship in Hawaii. Considering this the rest of the season will depend on the result of Ironman New Zealand," he said.
The women's race is equally classy and competitive with five-time winner Meredith Kessler (USA) returning to a town that has become a second home for her and her husband.
She has won 11 times around the globe with Taupo her regular happy place to start her year.
"The key goal for 2017 is having a solid, safe and happy race at Ironman New Zealand. It has always been a focus to start the year off as strong as we can muster and this year is no different," Kessler said.
Second seed is Australian Carrie Lester, who enjoyed a top-10 finish at the Ironman World Championship, after wins at Chattanooga and Cairns.
Colourful Netherlands triathlete Yvonne van Vlerken is seeded third off the back of seven ironman victories and nine podiums including runner-up in Hawaii in 2008.
There will be plenty of support for outstanding Australian Annabel Luxford, the fourth seed, who has been almost unbeatable over the Ironman 70.3 distance but still chasing a breakthrough victory over the full distance.
There are a number of leading chances in an impressive women's field including Great Britain's Laura Siddall, fourth last year, and ironman winners Yvette Grice (GBR) and Jocelyn McCauley (USA).
There are 1200 entries from 49 countries entered, with the professionals chasing a prize purse of approximately $NZ115,000 while the age group competitors vie for 40 qualifying spots for the 2017 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
The professionals start at 6.45am on Saturday with the winner expected around 3pm, with a final cut-off of midnight.