Ben Anderson welcomed the nerves last weekend.
That feeling of tension only arrives ahead of the biggest competitions and that's some Anderson and so many of the state's cyclists have been without for much of the past two years due to COVID-19.
Elite competition returned in a big way last weekend and Anderson relished it.
The Dubbo Cycle Club rider finished the AusCycling Junior Road State Championships as under 17 champion after winning gold in both the road race and time trial at Kurri Kurri.
"I missed the feeling of getting nervous and getting into race mode," the 16-year-old Anderson said.
"It's a different feeling to training so it was good to be back."
Orange-based Anderson has taken his riding to another level since linking with the Dubbo Cycle Club.
It's taken a huge amount of commitment from the teenager and his family but the results are clear to see, as he's won almost every state title on offer in the past couple of years.
The trips for training and racing weren't possible during lockdown but Anderson said Dubbo Cycle Club deserved plenty of credit for his success.
"Massive props to the whole Dubbo club, in particular Vaughn Eather and Gus Dawson," he said of the club coaches.
"They've helped me with my training and other aspects and they always give their full support to me so that's really good.
"And I've got the full support of my parents and I can't thank them enough. I wouldn't have any of this without them."
Anderson wasn't the only Dubbo rider to shine at the state titles.
Isabelle Russell continues to make great strides and she claimed second spot in a rain-sodden under 17 women's road race as well as a third spot in the time trial.
Sid Pickering's time spent doing laps of south Dubbo during lookdown paid off as he claimed bronze in the under 11s criterium, before finishing fourth in the time trial and sixth in the road race. Cooper Farr and Will Tanswell were also part of all three events and were not far behind Pickering.
Georgia Farr and Makayla Fuller were also in action and performed well against a tough field in the under 15 women's division.
But it was Anderson who was the star of the show, and the victories were hugely satisfying given he's spent so much time training alone in recent months.
"I was looking for to the weekend since it was the first one back in a while," he said.,
"I didn't know how I was going in terms of my form because I'd been training myself.
"I'd been training hard throughout lockdown, trying to keep my fitness and aggression but racing-wise I didn't know how myself and everyone else was going. To be able to come away with those results was pleasing."
Anderson went to Kurri Kurri as one of the top contenders and a powerful sprint late on secured victory in the road race.
The time trial win was a little more of a surprise, as that event is something which he doesn't focus on as much.
Victory there, to go with the road race win, secured him the title of champion rider and he'll get the chance to showcase his talents again this weekend after getting the invite to ride at the under 19 state championships in Goulburn.
"It will be good fun and good experience," he said.
"I think it will be bigger field and lot more better riders that I haven't raced before so it will be good to race them and see how they race and how I have to move forward."
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