Rotorua BMX rider Matthew Tew reckons if you don't train hard, you don't win.
The 17-year-old has been putting in the hours ahead of this weekend's New Zealand BMX Championships, where he is a hot contender for the junior elite (17-18 years) title.
It's a welcome return to national competition for Tew, who spent nine months off his bike last year recovering from knee reconstruction surgery. The injury meant he missed the 2011 nationals and the world championships in Copenhagen.
Matthew Tew and Monique Smith
"It was hard watching," he said. "But the knee is feeling really good, back to 100 per cent. I've come back strong."
He said although this year's junior elite field was small it was a quality lineup.
"There's only 10 of us but we're all really quick riders, so it's going to be tight. I'm going to have to be on my game but I'm feeling confident. The goal is to win it, nothing but."
Tew said he should have a huge advantage as he had spent "hours and hours" on the Rotorua track since he took up the sport as a 10-year-old.
The ultimate goals for the Waiariki student are the 2016 Rio Olympics and a world championship win. He's off to the world championships in England next month but, as it's his first year in the junior elite class, he said it may be a bit soon yet for world title talk.
"I would say that is more realistic next year for junior elite," he said. "Next year the world champs are in New Zealand so it would be cool to win it here."
Another rookie with one eye on next month's world championships is Gisborne 17-year-old Monique Smith, the reigning New Zealand 16s girls champion.
She's stepped up to the junior elite level this year but this weekend will be riding against the best female riders. Due to a small number of entries for both the elite and junior elite women the two classes have been combined.
"It would be good to race your own age, but it's okay," Smith said. "Last year it happened at the North Island champs so I had to race Sarah Walker ... it was a good experience but I'm glad she's not here this year!"
Smith pushed the world champion Walker close that day, finishing an impressive second behind the woman whose feats she aspires to match.
"I train with Sarah a lot since I made [BikeNZ programme] high performance - we are the only two girls in there so she helps me a lot," she said. "I just wish I get there one day."
Smith said she's looking forward to taking on elite women Michelle Montague (Cambridge) and Victoria Hill (New Plymouth) at the Te Ngae Rd track.
"It's one of my favourite tracks in New Zealand," she said. "I want to try and win but I'll just take every race as it comes and have fun with it."
There are 925 riders competing at this year's nationals, from the four and unders to the "more experienced" over 45s. About 52 of those are from host club Rotorua, including a couple of kids who have already made their mark on the world stage.
Lachlan Stevens-McNabb, recently recovered from a broken arm, will be hard to beat on his home track after winning the seven years age group world title last year.
Another Rotorua youngster keen to retain her NZ 1 ranking is seven-year-old Caitlin Flavell, who came fifth in the five to seven year age group in Copenhagen. Her aim for this weekend was simple, as was her response when asked her favourite part of BMX.
"Winning," she said.
Seeding races start at 11am today with finals day from 9am tomorrow.