Once, the prospect of Hamish Bond preparing for what is known as rowing's "regatta of death" would have struck like a punchline.
Now, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics' last chance qualification opportunity in Lucerne next May, it strikes as a reality.
The double Olympic champion in the pair will stick with the eight next season, convinced he can help replicate the legendary gold medal-winning feat of their 1972 Kiwi predecessors at Munich.
The 33-year-old has been world champion in each of the seasons leading into his three previous Games – the coxless four in 2007 and pair in 2011 and 2015. This time, he's preparing on the back of a sixth place at the world championships in Linz, missing Olympic qualification by 0.55 of a second and only 2.12 seconds off the podium.
The New Zealand crew must now peak twice in a season and secure one of two vacant spots.
"It's a bit different, but I've been in plenty of perform-or-go-home situations before," Bond told the Herald .
"My plan is to focus on the eight again. That's the only boat that motivates me.
"I enjoy the camaraderie as 12.5 rather than 50 per cent of the unit. It's about lifting the level of the whole boat, sharing my knowledge and leading by example rather than focussing on myself."
The latter prospect was tempting.
Bond beat double Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale to a red coat in the single sculls at the 2014 national championships and, combined with Robbie Manson qualifying the boat for Tokyo, he could have had a crack.
"I won't lie, it crossed my mind," Bond said.
"I thought 'that'd be a great challenge' but, if I'm realistic, it's too late in the Olympic cycle to do it justice; not only to tip out Robbie, but to be competitive internationally.
"That'd be a great individual achievement, but at this stage I want to elevate the eight as a team event, which brings different demands."
Bond's aiming to gild a CV already swathed in gold at Olympic and world championship rowing level, not to mention a Commonwealth Games time trial bronze on the Gold Coast during his segue into cycling.
If his mantelpiece is not bowed, his sock drawer must be chokka.
Transitioning back to rowing has had benefits – namely taking the bolt cutters to any self-inflicted padlock on the fridge.
At one stage when Bond was pedalling the hills around Wellington during wife Lizzie's surgical training stint, he would apportion himself a postage stamp square of 85 per cent cocoa chocolate a day, savour the bittersweetness, then refocus his crosshairs on becoming a time trial cycling champion. That spartan existence helped shrug more than 10kg from his oar-wielding frame.
Now he can return to chowing down, within reason.
Bond has bulked back to around 92kg - a couple more kilos than his invincible days in the men's pair - for the purpose of maximising power off the start line in the eight's two-seat. He says after trials as the stroke, where he has rowed for the majority of his career, he offers more impact closer to the bow.
"I'm still conscious of what I eat, but the volume has changed in that equation. Now I'm conscious of eating enough and force feeding, rather than watching what I eat to stay lean as a cyclist.
"My idea is that more muscle will help get the boat off the line with an emphasis on strength and power. If I had to choose between force feeding and pinching calories I would take the former, but I look forward to a day when I can eat to satiation."
That day looms, preferably post-Tokyo rather than post-Lucerne, as Bond enjoys the romance of the eight in the twilight of his career.
"New Zealand rowing's been successful in the last 20 years, but haven't cracked the [men's] eight as the blue riband event.
"Unless you've experienced it, it's hard to describe the feeling of an eight going fast when you harness the power.
"It's something I've wanted to achieve in what are probably the last years of my sporting career."