They are living the cycling dream but for Hawke's Bay husband and wife Josh and Kerri-anne Page, once they jump off the saddle of their bikes the rules of engagement are pretty defined.

Talking shop isn't a given for the Hastings couple who are among elite riders in the BDO New Zealand & Under-23 Elite Road Cycling Championship in Napier this weekend.

"Kerri-anne hates it. She hates talking about it," says the 32-year-old Bike Barn Napier manager who will compete in the men's open road race in Napier from 8.30am tomorrow.

"We don't like training together unless it's a coffee ride or on the pathways so we just tend to do our own things," says Josh with a laugh as they approach their sixth wedding anniversary in March.


Besides, Kerri-anne and he have specific training regimes where he opts for marathon rides while she'll do a 2km stint because time trial is her forte.

"He likes to get into the scientific sides of things a lot so I just switch off," says the 29-year-old personal trainer at City Fitness Hastings.

Says Josh: "That's when I talk to the cat [Molly]."

However, the cordial couple are pretty much on the same page when it boils down to race tactics.

"We're keen to have a go and we don't like to sit back because you can't win if you just sit in and don't try."

There's no debating that Kerri-anne is the more talented one whereas he tends to expend everything just to stay in the hunt.

His assertion on her prowess stems from an innate fact — she has got better genetics.

"If I was her I would probably have gone pro," he says amid laughter.

Therein lies the irony, because Kerri-anne didn't persist as a professional because her heart ruled her head while she was plying her trade for a year in France and then on and off in Australia before marriage beckoned.

"It was the old love story — I met a guy, moved over here and couldn't afford to carry on," she says with a playful glance at Josh planted on a bean bag of the lounge of their unit in the CBD.

So what's in the DNA of the Torckler chromosomes that makes Kerri-anne an elite species?

Turning around to her mother, Linda, of Taranaki, she asks: "I don't know mum, what have I got from you?"

Kerri-anne, after some convincing from Josh, agrees Linda possesses the endurance streak although her 59-year-old dad still rides in his age-group category of the nationals and will be helping raise funds this morning.

Linda and husband Brohn, as well as Josh's mother, Julie Page, often become support crew for the couple.

"For a while mum got sick of watching so she started doing some fun racing but now she's the chief cook and supporter," says Kerri-anne, revealing Linda seldom misses a race.

The couple are resigned to not eking out a living from cycling and agree it's pretty much a hobby.

"It probably is but we don't make any money of it," he says. "It'll be nice to [make some money] and it'll be good to be pro but probably not any more at 32 so it's just having fun, really."

A grinning Josh says a race like the nationals is tantamount to a world championship for someone like him.

"This will be the biggest one-day race I'll get to ride but it's good fun."

He chooses realism, accepting he isn't good enough to win but he'll be "stoked" to just finish the 171km slog at Marine Parade tomorrow.

"If you finish the race then you're probably in the top 15 or 10, which is a good result in itself, but I'll be trying to get an early break and have a crack in the sprint race to get the jersey," says Josh, who finished third in the sprint at the nationals two years ago.

The Trust House North Island team cycling series overall champion last month says riders of his ilk are at the mercy of the professionals.

However, he echoes the sentiments of New Zealand's star burst in 2017, George Bennett, of Nelson, that European riders are close to coming out of a recess whereas elite amateurs in the country are in tip-top shape.

Someone like Kerri-anne's brother, Michael Torckler, of Taranaki, a former professional, Josh believes can eclipse the World Tour bunch if his sun aligns with the moon and stars. Torckler is riding for Blindz Direct this weekend.

"Maybe me being in the best form of my life can help me make top 10," says Josh, who was in the leading bunch but pulled out with two laps to go at last year's road race nationals here.

He prefers cold weather to the clammy climes of summer although the forecast for tomorrow is mostly sunny with sou'westers easing from yesterday's gusty northerlies flirting with gale-force winds.

Kerri-anne prefers the wind to the rain, counting her blessings to have an almost 1.8m frame that spurns advances from the gusts.

"I don't feel it that much because I'm more solid on the bike and don't mind living in the gutter," before the women's 114km road race starting at 10am today.

Kerri-anne doubles as photographer and raceday manager for the blokes in their Tank Guy/Bike Box team.

She was fifth in last year's time trials and seventh yesterday and the 2017 polka dot jersey winner (king of the mountains) in finishing eighth in the road race.

"I'd like to win but if it's just getting on the podium I'm happy with any time."

Kerri-anne expects stiff competition from last year's time-trial and road race champion Rushlee Buchanan, of Hamilton, runner-up Georgia Williams, of Auckland, and Sharlotte Lucas, of Hokitika.

A former silver and bronze medallist in TT and road race at the club nationals, Kerri-anne feels the road race is a bit of a lottery for women.

While female riders are not up there with professionals, she says they are still strong because they "live and breathe on these training grounds" and possess home advantage.

"There are a couple of dodgy descents throughout the race so knowing where to be is important, so a nobody could win it."

The couple intend to cycle until they can't any more.

Says Kerri-anne: "Until we can't walk."

Adds Josh, who is on the Hawke's Bay Ramblers Cycling Club committee: "No, no we'll keep going hard — 60, 65, broken legs."

On a serious note, the couple try to give back as much as they can to the code as volunteer officials although Kerri-anne prefers mentoring the young rather than putting her hand up for administrative duties like he does.

"But I still love helping out with the Ramblers on weekends when I can."