Hamish Bond's cycling time trial credentials are set for their next exam as he prepares for his second world championships in Austria.
The 32-year-old will line up on the start line at Rattenberg on September 26 after acclimatising in the surrounding alps.
Bond spoke to the Weekend Herald from Kuhtai Saddle, a mountain pass 40km to the west of the event host Innsbruck.
The 2000m high venue serves as a "stop-gap" to maximise the benefit Bond gets from a recent stint altitude training in Colorado. He will move closer to Innsbruck – with an elevation of around 500m - next weekend.
As is customary, the double Olympic rowing champion has left nothing to chance as he builds his new career on the pedals.
"It's like peeling an onion: you think you're getting there, but then you reach another layer and there's more things you can go into.
"I'm trying to refine the bike and my equipment because it's increasingly evident that the top of cycling is really stacked. There's phenomenal depth and you need everything going your way.
"[In the rowing pair] Eric [Murray] and I could physically dominate the opposition to some degree, whereas on the bike I feel that to be in the ball park I need everything dialed in."
Bond says that is a challenge on his lonesome in the Austrian Alps, away from wife Lizzie and six-month-old daughter Imogen.
"It's a case of fake-it-until-you-make-it to some degree, like trying to keep two bikes in order when I have no mechanical training.
"To be competitive you can't take a 'she'll be right' approach; it's a constant evolution in terms of the equipment standard.
"I'm constantly chasing the game against pro tour teams and their massive budgets, resources and manpower, but I'm enjoying it and still think I can get better. That's the biggest motivator."
Last year Bond finished 39th in a field of 64 riders on the 31km course in Bergen, Norway. He punctured a tyre, despite meticulous preparation.
That forensic approach remains for this year's 52.5km journey, and its elevation of 564m.
"Given my lack of cycling experience, I've tried to have lots of time on the course.
"There's a meaty climb about two-thirds in, which is not ideal for someone my size. I've got to get familiar with that and how hard I can go, given I'll have raced 30km before I get there.
"Also, you can overdo some of the more technical aspects. They're open roads when I ride them at the moment, but when the race is on they'll be closed and you'll have two lanes to work with, so the riding lines might differ."
Bond has clocked up significant gains since securing bronze at the Commonwealth Games in April.
He spent time with his family in Colorado during June where he worked alongside new coach Jim Miller; headed to the UK and rode the time trial circuit around Birmingham; collaborated to reduce his drag with AeroCoach mentor Xavier Disley nearby; and came home to Cambridge before returning to Colorado and Europe.
He says Miller and Disley have been key to his development.
"Jim has a lot of knowledge on what's required at the top level [having spent 16 years with USA Cycling]. He coached Kristin Armstrong, who won the last three Olympic time trials, and has multiple world championship athlete medals to his name.
"Jim's based in Colorado Springs - that was a big reason for going there. My numbers and speeds [after working with him] were better than I'd ever done, which was encouraging.
"The second altitude block was as good, if not stronger than the first. I had more understanding of how I'd cope. It doesn't knock me around too much, so hopefully I'll get some good gains."
Meanwhile, Disley provided aerodynamic expertise and specialist time trial equipment, a key to Bond's progression.
"What I've discovered is that as much as winning, the ultimate validation of your work is the process of getting there and discovering what I'm physically capable of.
"Fortunately it's a case of looking in the mirror rather than the eyes of competitors. The ultimate rival is yourself."