Fraser Sharp has his sights set on the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics and appears to be hitting form at the perfect time.
Riding in the para C1-5 category at the Road Cycling National Championships in Rotorua at the weekend, the Tauranga cyclist won both the time trial and road race.
In the time trial, he had the fastest time of all Masters 2 (40-44) riders including the able-bodied - another example of how far he has come since a horrific accident in 1993.
Sharp nearly died when he was hit by a car while training on his bike as a promising young teenager making a name for himself in the sport.
He woke up from a coma 30 days later with multiple fractures and irreparable front lobe brain damage. He had to learn to walk and talk again but throughout it all maintained his desire to represent his country.
"When I was starting to ride again, I was on a grass field navigating plastic bottles that we had laid out," Sharp said.
He persisted and in 2016 his dream came true when he represented New Zealand at the Rio Paralympics, finishing eighth in the Men's C3 Road Time Trial.
His preparation for that event was less than ideal, getting the call-up only two weeks before the competition began. With all Russian Para-athletes being excluded from Rio due to doping allegations, a slot became available.
"I'd basically been off the bike for two or three months," he said.
"I wasn't able to give it my best and that was really hard for me. I fell into a deep depression after that but I was fortunate enough to reach out and get the help I needed.
"This time I'm training as if I'm going and I'm ready for whatever happens. I'm not going to count my chickens before they hatch, I'm just enjoying myself."
Now Sharp sits in one of three of New Zealand's qualification spots for this year's Paralympics, that team being named in June. And if the weekend's racing is anything to go by, he could be a force to be reckoned with.
In the 61km road race in Rotorua on Saturday, the 44-year-old sprinted his way to the win after breaking away with second-placed Steve Knott on the first of two laps in windy and damp conditions.
"There was a group of us and I saw a gap as we went up the hill and thought to myself, 'why not?' So I just went," Sharp said.
"Steve went on my wheel and we rode together. It was nice to have some company. The weather this morning was not so good – it was wet and caution needed to be taken on the corners. I gave it five out of five for the course. It suited me, it was a strong man's course, and that's what I am."
Sharp's passion for cycling has been a shining light in his life since his accident, but he still has dark days. He said focusing on what he has achieved, as well as the support of family, friends, and coaches, was what kept him going.
"I've always known that I have a good motor but the mental aspect plays a huge part. It's about fine-tuning that. When things go well, you can look back at that and see how far you've come.
"I'm on a real high at the moment. I've been doing this for a long time and that experience is crucial. It goes a long way.
"I want to go to Tokyo and show people what I'm capable of. I want to show them that anything's possible."
• For the full results from the New Zealand Road Cycling Championships go to www.roadnationals.nz/