World champion masters cyclist Leo Menestrina is loving his new life in Whanganui, particularly the "million dollar view" from his home and a velodrome he is passionate about.

Mr Menestrina, an American, and his New Zealand-born-and-raised wife Adrienne have been living in Whanganui for a month after buying a house with stunning views across the city to the Tasman Sea.

The retired engineer, who has a masters in education, spent his career in military industrial companies working on anti-submarine warfare and on anti-missile missiles.

He started cycling competitively in 1993 and soon discovered a love of track racing on his local velodrome in California.

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"I love riding fast and the fixed gear on the velodrome was more challenging," Mr Menestrina said.

In 2012 Mr Menestrina won multiple world titles, competing at the World Masters Track Cycling Championships in Manchester, England. More world championship medals followed in subsequent years and Mr Menestrina decided that he would train to set some world records in 2017, when he was going to turn 75.

"We came over to New Zealand and found a homestay in Cambridge three kilometres from Avantidrome and stayed there for three months while I trained. Then I competed in the World Masters Games in Auckland and won six gold medals.

"I decided in August/September last year I would train for another two months at Cambridge and then I went to the UCI Masters World Track Championships in Los Angeles and set two world records and won three world championships."

The Menestrinas decided to make a more permanent move to New Zealand where Mrs Menestrina has family in Palmerston North.

"We had been looking at properties to buy in the Hamilton and Cambridge area but there was no view of the ocean. We decided to come to Whanganui to look at a property then found out they were going to put a roof on the velodrome and this is a prime cycling area.

"We're really enjoying Whanganui and like the people and I'm enjoying the velodrome. It's got some of the smoothest transitions of any velodrome which is important to maintain speed. It has the potential to be the world's fastest velodrome if it's roofed.

"I was really disappointed the River City Wheel Race had to be called off [on February 10] because of the weather. I met the world champion New Zealand team sprint guys and the pursuit team at training in Cambridge and was incentivised by them. The sprint team was supposed to be coming to Whanganui for the event and I was really looking forward to meeting up with them again."

The Menestrinas are strong supporters of roofing the velodrome, not just for cycling but for wider community uses.

"There were so many activities going on at Avantidrome," Mrs Menestrina says.

"There were other sports using the facility and sessions for people with disabilities and the elderly. People would come in just to take a tour of the facility."

Mr Menestrina, who has a son and daughter and grandchildren in the United States, is in the process of applying for New Zealand residency.

Leo Menestrina (centre) celebrates his 10km points race world title with France's Roger Langlois (left) and Australian Rodney Wagner.
Leo Menestrina (centre) celebrates his 10km points race world title with France's Roger Langlois (left) and Australian Rodney Wagner.
A love of riding fast has inspired Leo Menestrina (centre) to pursue world records.
A love of riding fast has inspired Leo Menestrina (centre) to pursue world records.