Alison Shanks is nothing if not adaptable. There is no role too challenging for the queen of Otago sport.
Consider her path over the past decade or so:
Quiet Dunedin schoolgirl. Otago netballer. Otago basketballer. University student. Rookie cyclist. Olympian. Olympic ambassador. Television star. Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Double world champion.
It hasn't happened overnight, of course. Shanks has sacrificed any semblance of a normal life, and shed pools of sweat to pursue her dreams on the velodrome.
Now, here she stands. Well, crouches over handlebars. Seven years after concentrating on cycling, she prepares for a second Olympics. And, wouldn't you know it, she gets to assume a new role.
In the New Zealand women's pursuit team, Shanks is the wily veteran at the ripe old age of 29. Champion of the world twice in individual pursuit - her specialist event, which has been controversially axed from the Olympic programme - she is now tasked with leading a team.
"I'm the only one in the pursuit who has been to an Olympics," Shanks pointed out.
"The other girls are a bit younger and probably look to me for a little bit of guidance, even with day-to-day training and routines.
"I'm enjoying the role. It's nice to be able to help others. It's a new approach, because it's not just about me any more. I suppose I try to spread some knowledge."
The Shanks story - from provincial netballer to world-class cyclist in the space of a couple of years - is well tread.
But what is less known is the internal struggle she had to accept she belonged with the best on two wheels.
"Looking back, it took me a while to really consider myself a professional cyclist.
"It was an interesting transition. I think it almost took going to Beijing and getting fourth and realising I was close to a podium.
"Accepting that I could be good at what I was doing was a huge spur. The following year, I won the world champs.
"I think I can safely say now that I am a cyclist."
Preparing for a second Olympic Games was quite different from nervously awaiting her first experience, Shanks said.
She was still relatively green when she went to Beijing. She had no idea the actual cycling, the few minutes spent flying around a wooden track, was only a small part of the experience.
"The Olympics is a pretty crazy environment. It's dealing with the village and the food hall and the different little day-to-day things. You go to breakfast and it can be an hour-long process.
"What I learned from Beijing was that I loved getting to the velodrome. It was familiar, it felt normal. It was a really calming environment.
"You can close yourself off a bit. There is so much stuff around the Olympics but once you get to the track, nothing else matters."
Shanks and coach/partner Craig Palmer recently left Dunedin for California, where they are staying with friends south of San Francisco for 10 days.
The New Zealand women's pursuit team then has a 10-day track camp in Los Angeles before relocating to their rural base in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, for about a month. That camp is about building an aerobic base, clocking up the miles while also riding out in the open to keep the mind fresh.
Finally, the whole New Zealand track team will come together in France for a three-week camp in Bordeaux, just before the excitement begins in London.
Shanks got a taste of the track to be used in London when she rode in the world cup there in February.
"It's brand new, so the boards were pretty new. Often, the older velodromes are faster because the boards have had time to wear in.
"But it won't be a slow track. The Brits will want it to be as fast as possible. Plus in summer, the boards will expand and the track will be faster.
"The shape is interesting. Some velodromes have slightly longer straights. But London's got wider bankings and shorter straights. It should be a good pursuit track."
Pursuit riders exceed 50km/h. Their helmets clasp their ears, and there will be 6000 screaming fans in London, so communication is impossible.
Shanks revealed the New Zealanders rely on their coach and a "walking the line" system of visual clues. The coach takes steps above or below the start-finish line to indicate whether the team is ahead of schedule or behind.
Shanks, Lauren Ellis and Jaime Nielsen were pipped for bronze by just 0.3sec at the world championships in Melbourne.
So, a medal is a genuine prospect in London, though Britain and Australia appear certain to contest the gold medal.
"We're still aiming to win, but I think we're realistic," Shanks said.
"There's a lot of work to do because of how Australia and the Brits stepped up. They've made so much progress.
"But it's the Olympics, and that can change everything. And it's three rounds over two days, whereas world champs is two rounds in one day."
The three women rode together for the first time in 2009, and spend much of the year sharing rooms while in camp or on campaigns.They hear rumours of other nations having uneasy relationships - fights between team members, even - but Shanks said the New Zealanders were one happy family.
She will also have actual family in London. Parents Kay and Roy will be at the Olympics as guests of Proctor and Gamble, the medicinal product giant that has picked one "Olympic Mum" from each of 40 different nations to star in a campaign.
The Shanks mother-daughter pairing recently starred in a magazine shoot and spent a day filming a "Mumumentary" with an American film crew.
That sort of stuff is old hat for Shanks, whose talent, good looks, bubbly personality and commercial savvy have given her plenty of opportunities off the track. She and her team-mates are kept going by funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand, but Shanks also rattles off Beef and Lamb, Ballance, Avanti, Powerade and Dunedin City Motors when talking about her other supporters.
"It's a full-time job. And as a female athlete, I think you need to look at other avenues to help make this a career.
"You have to be realistic. I can't cycle forever. I'm not thinking about hanging up the bike just yet but it's good to have some long-term plans.
"I studied marketing and I quite enjoy that side of things. It doesn't seem a chore at all. You meet good people and opportunities open up."
Speaking of good people, Shanks and Palmer - the head sports scientist with the Bike NZ squad -will get married in Dunedin in January.