Hawke's Bay cyclist Hannah van Kampen is basking in a golden glow after piloting Emma Foy to victory at the Para-cycling Track World Championship in the Netherlands last weekend.
Kampen and stoker Foy, of Dargaville, but also based in Cambridge, claimed the 3km individual pursuit crown at Apeldoorn on Saturday (NZ time).
It was the fourth gold medal for visually impaired Foy, a 2016 Rio Paralympics silver medallist, but a maiden one for Van Kampen.
"It's so exciting. I still kind of can't believe it, really," said the 25-year-old after returning to Hamilton yesterday. "It's been a dream come true."
The Kiwi champions were four seconds ahead of silver medallists Belgium in qualifying and the British combination were third.
"I don't know the time in the final but I could see them so they were catching up on us," said a grinning Van Kampen.
The combination is now setting its sights on the Tokyo Paralympics in Japan next year.
"There's still a lot of work to go in from now and until then because we want to go to win and doing really well," said Van Kampen.
She ruled out complacency because she still had to fight for that right with Foy because of Nina Wollaston, who had finished fifth at Rio with stoker Hannah Pascoe, of Invercargill.
National coaches tend to pair up stokers with pilots with the fastest bikes, akin to rowers with boats.
Cambridge-based Wollaston, of Auckland, was paired with Rio Paralympian Amanda Cameron, of Wellington. The latter, who is legally blind or partially sighted to come under the category of "tandem class blind", had Van Kampen as her pilot at the Rio Paralympics.
"I was originally in there as a reserve pilot for Emma with Laura Thompson but she retired after the [Rio] Paralympics and Emma returned without Laura," van Kampen explained with a laugh.
Foy also had called it quits after Rio but when the 29-year-old came out of retirement early last year Thompson, 30, didn't follow suit so the coaches paired off her with Van Kampen that August.
"Laura's actually coaching now so she's still in the programme so that's quite cool."
Words such as trust, cohesiveness, patience, inspiration and timing come into the equation but, most of all, a standard of kinship is required that is up there with that of twin siblings.
"I think we both obviously have a massive drive to win but we're also quite aligned with our goals so that's what motivates us to go fast," Van Kampen said.
It helped that the pair went into the world championship they had enough attributes to scramble on to the top most perch of the podium.
"We didn't want to win without putting in our best performance with a personal best time so we have the drive to win but also to win well."
That desire to egg one another to the limit emanates from the gym where they gauge who has the ability to emit the most power on the bike.
"We fight against each other but then we come together to be better."
Van Kampen occupies the rear saddle of their tandem bike before she and Foy furiously pump their pedals at the velodrome.
"In the individual pursuit we don't say anything because I just don't have the breath to say anything," she said, revealing coach Damian Wiseman and mechanic Peter Alexander bark laps and split times to ensure they don't go out too hard, too early but adhere to a schedule.
Because they train together so often the pair can feel each other's input to the extent that
if Van Kampen responds to something Foy "follows it on feel".
"Obviously when we're [competing] on the road there's a lot more communication."
It was the combination's fourth time racing together at an event but they have trained for the past six months, three times a week.
"We both go out pretty hard and we're pretty evenly matched so on an Erg [indoor trainer] we can measure our power that we put out so what we put out for three minutes is fairly even."
The pair had won a gold medal at the Southland Track Championship in 2015.
It was Van Kampen's third Para-cycling worlds last week but she was Cameron's pilot in the previous two occasions.
The physical compatibility aside, the pair try to find a smooth ride for a big performance, said the Eastern Institute of Technology graduate who attended Taikura Rudolph Steiner School in Hastings.
Van Kampen's parents, Vanessa and Paul, who watched her compete in Rio, after initially fearing they weren't going to due to the short notice to plan the trip, will go to Tokyo if she makes the cut.
"To go there to watch athletes like that is really amazing," the mother said.
Van Kampen rides fulltime but also is doing a few papers in the diploma of human development, via correspondence, through Massey University "to keep my brain going".