If you reach into the fridge tonight, drooling with anticipation at attacking a slab of chocolate for supper, spare a thought for Hamish Bond.

The double Olympic rowing champion might get as far as the chocolate, but he won't be channelling Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka's factory.

Instead Bond will apportion himself a postage stamp square of an 85 per cent cocoa variety, savour the bittersweetness, then refocus his crosshairs on becoming a time trial cycling champion, preferably at the Tokyo Olympics.

"It a pretty Spartan lifestyle, but I'd been living like that with rowing," he says from within a 77kg frame that has shrugged off more than 10kg since his oar-wielding pomp.


"I'm not stupid about it, although other people might think that sort of serving's a bit extreme. You've got to take the small joys. I work it into the diet."

The Weekend Herald finds Bond blending a smoothie, lubricated with coconut cream, for lunch. He's also tucking into a fillet of salmon on a bed of quinoa at the central Wellington apartment where he and wife Lizzie have based themselves while she completes surgical training as a doctor. Does Bond fancy some hot chips? "I'd love some, but that isn't part of my diet right now".

Bond's appetite is understandable. He has just spent five hours corseted by lycra, riding 150km through the rain. He headed out through Karori, snaked his way to Porirua, shot over the back roads via Paekakariki Hill, slipped down to Waikanae on the new expressway and danced on the pedals to Upper Hutt before returning to town. Sometimes he heads to his "personal" time trial track beyond Wainuiomata. He hurtles towards the coast where it's "undulating and technical, and sometimes I don't even see a car".

BOND'S PIONEERING vision is off to a strong start. Over summer he secured third places in time trials at the national championships in Napier, and the Oceania championships in Canberra. He finished eighth in the general classification of the Tour of Southland after setting up his own Vantage Windows and Doors team, and won the inaugural Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge.

His new circumstances are treated as a privilege, not a right.

"With everyone [such as the taxpayer-funded High Performance Sport New Zealand, alongside new and past sponsors] investing so much into my campaign, it's like 'why do five hours to then go and eat rubbish. It doesn't make sense."

Equipment suppliers support him, too.

Manufacturers Trek provide his road and time trial bikes, Velo Ronny's (run by former national cycling coach Ron Cheatley in Whanganui and punned on the Lance Armstrong-owned Mellow Johnny's in Austin, Texas) and Kiwivelo have also taken leaps of faith.

Bond claims the latter do so out of sympathy.

"They try to teach me to do my own maintenance, but it's a slow process. They now let me clean my bike in a big basin at their shop, but they can't handle the pain of watching me try to fix it," he quips.

THE 31-YEAR-OLD hardly needs to prove himself as a sportsman. His name will forever be linked with Eric Murray as "the Kiwi pair" in New Zealand sporting folklore, a sweep oar duo who went eight seasons unbeaten across two Olympic cycles. Few stories on Bond or Murray in the last decade mention one without the other.

The terrain has changed with Bond now tracking along the road rather than the water. He has not ruled out returning to a skiff, but this year is about riding his bike to its limits, and preferably beyond.

A New Zealand Olympian qualifying in two different sports is a rarity - Steven Ferguson (swimming and canoeing), Madonna Harris (cycling and cross-country skiing) and Chris Nicholson (cycling and speed skating) are examples. None earned medals.

To give a global context, 81 athletes have secured medals in separate Olympic sports, but only 14 came post World War II and five were this century. Of the latter five, one came in a transition between two summer sports. Britain's Rebecca Romero went from a silver in rowing's quadruple sculls at Athens to a gold in cycling's individual pursuit at Beijing.

Bond accepts he is attempting to reach rarefied air. Hence he is conducting his sporting experiment with close to monastic discipline.

"I operate by myself a lot of the time. I'm quite happy with Hamish-time. In the five hours today I didn't feel bored or want for company. I focus on things like holding my numbers and working at a specified intensity. Time seems to disappear."

He's not exclusively man-alone.

Mikki Williden optimises his nutrition, Cycling New Zealand's Amy Taylor and retired Kiwi rider Jesse Sergent have assisted with coaching and technique, and physiologist Dr Dan Plews helps write his training programmes.

However, as with most top sportspeople, discipline and desire are the key ingredients to success. As New Zealand middle distance great Sir Peter Snell once noted: "When it's pouring rain and you're bowling along through the wet, there's satisfaction in knowing you're out there and the others aren't."

Bond agrees with that sentiment when the rain pelts and the wind whistles in the capital.

"I get a weird satisfaction from doing stuff I don't think other people would do."

Bond travels to England to stay with family in June, a location he says is "a hotbed of time trialling with a lot of expert knowledge". However, that comes with ambivalence about joining any professional team on the European road race circuit because he would inevitably start as a domestique while his high performance clock ticked.

"If it was beneficial I'd look at it, but I'm probably 10 years past being the neo-pro suitcasing my way around Europe.

"I'm applying more of a rowing model which gives me the flexibility to be specific with training. A lot of top time-triallists are part of big road teams, and maybe that's for good reason. But at this point that's not realistic for me. The worst case scenario is it will be a good training block during the New Zealand winter.

BOND'S FOCUS is on increasing his power after losing so much weight post-Rio.

"If you don't have power you're not getting anywhere. With rowing, Eric operated at around 100kg and I was just under 90kg. I needed to keep my weight up because he was already marginally stronger. I ate competitively because if I got lighter the boat would push sideways rather than forward.

"With time-trialling, weight is not as crucial as if you were a regular tour rider going up hills. That's when you need a [Chris] Froome leanness. But if you can be equally strong without the excess kilos it's beneficial.

"If I compare myself to a top time trialist like [incumbent world champion] Tony Martin, he's probably lighter, stronger and has a better aerodynamic position on the bike, so there are lots of areas I need to improve.

Bond accepts his meticulous planning means he can "become isolated in the high performance bubble and forget there's a real world out there". He continues to work part-time for investment firm Forsyth Barr while progressing towards a career as an authorised financial adviser.

Then the Olympic dream swirls back into focus each morning.

"Maybe the ultimate for a cyclist is to be a road rider on the grand tours but, at 31, I don't have that time. You pick your battles, and the time trial is more suited to my temperament and ability.

"I haven't blocked out rowing, but I'm committed to cycling to take me through this season. If it's clear I don't have the ability I'm not going to bang my head against a wall and come up short. I can't be pedalling in circles.

"I figured I climbed one mountain [with the coxless pair] a couple of times. Going back up again would be a challenge, but there are other mountains around. I'm happy to try and fail."

Given Bond's sporting pedigree and perseverance, his chocolate stocks are unlikely to come under threat any time soon.