A group of friends set out to cycle the length of the country, little did they know they would complete the trip just a few days short of the current record.
Rotorua doctor Darragh Grace said he spent the past two-and-a-half years trying to convince friends to complete the 3000km trip with him.
It wasn't until he moved to Rotorua that he found some friends who were keen to cycle the length of the country.
"I mentioned it to a couple of people and all of a sudden it went from me to having eight people be like 'yeah we can do it'."
The current record is by Marlborough endurance athlete and cyclist Craig Harper.
Back in 2017, Harper cycled the length of the country in four days, nine hours and 45 minutes.
Grace is no stranger to long-distance bike rides but told the Herald he had completed the trips in a longer time frame.
However, as Grace and many of his team members are doctors based in Rotorua, he made it a goal to complete the trip in a shorter period of time.
"We were trying to do it again but over a much shorter time frame so more people could join in and actually do it," he told the Herald.
"I looked at a map and said it was pretty cool to go from the top to the bottom of New Zealand and wondered how quickly we could do it."
After the team was formed, Grace said a date was picked - November 28.
"We picked a date and said look, hell or high water we're gonna try," he said.
After nearly 13 weeks of training Erin Foley, Sam Hulbert, Lachlan Cooper, Jonty Morreau, Mikie Milloy, Raewyn Cavubati, Elsa Carter, Selena Metherell and Grace embarked on their cross-country bike ride.
Splitting into two teams, the riders would cycle in relay, two hours on and two hours off, for 18 hours a day covering 180km per team and 360km total per day.
The team included riders with varying experience on a road bike, including one rider who had only ridden a road bike 10 weeks prior to the cross-country trip.
Grace described the trip as "hectic" but at the same time "incredible".
Starting at the very top of Aotearoa, the Rotorua friends left Cape Reinga and reached the far north town of Ahipara on their first day, covering 140km in total.
"It's incredible. Just seeing the changing landscape is phenomenal, from going to the sand dunes then on the same day you're riding into Auckland through Helensville."
The team planned to have three full days covering 380km, however they hit a few speed bumps.
Missing alarms, nearly missing a ferry and other issues meant the team cycled more then they hoped on certain days.
"Instead of doing 50km, we ended up doing 80km into a headwind and rain."
Averaging 150km a day, Grace said the trip was "pretty though" mentally and physically.
With energy low, Grace said the wind was a huge help on their final leg of the trip.
"We ended up getting a tailwind from Queenstown down."
Once the team reached Bluff, one of the team members got down on one knee and surprised fellow team members with a proposal.
Although the team did not break any records, they completed the trip in just over a week.
"It's nice to finish but when you finish you start thinking about the days you were on the bike and you start to miss it."