It was a ride from Tamworth to Nundle and back last year that changed Brendan Langenbaker's life.
Completing the journey of more than 100km flipped a switch in the 26-year-old - and cycling has become an irresistible force in his life.
He has "fallen in love" with a sport he only took up because his gym closed during the lockdown.
"I had to find some other way to keep fit, so I started riding," he said.
The Nundle ride turned him into a goal-setting cyclist, and he is now a Tamworth Cycle Club member.
He describes his association with cycling as "quite progressive" - "in the sense that I get up and just wanna ride my bike all day. And I want to train - train to be faster".
The service manager at Kensell Kia is in the midst of a transformative in his life - the emergence of cycling as a great passion powerfully coalescing with his status as a newlywed and a new home owner.
I had to find some other way to keep fit, so I started riding.Brendan Langenbaker
Langenbaker's rapid cycling progression will continue this weekend when he contests the Keegan Downes Memorial Sundowner Handicap Cycling Classic on Saturday.
On Sunday, he will contest the Gunnedah to Tamworth Graded Scratch Races. It is the first time he will attempt back-to-back races on consecutive days.
In the Sundowner - a 105km handicap race from Coonabaraban to Gunnedah - he will contest division 7. In the 100km Gunnedah to Tamworth, he will contest division five.
One of the favourites for the Sundowner is Tamworth-based Sam Hill, who set the fastest time in the race in 2016 but did not win. He won the Gunnedah to Tamworth that year, though, and triumphed in 2018 as well.
This year he will only contest to Sundowner, as his team Nero Continental has a National Road Series race on Sunday.
A scratch rider, he is unsure how he will perform in the Sundowner. "It could go in any direction," he said. "I honestly have no idea. It just depends on the wind and the dynamics of the bunch."
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