IN a lot of cases, athletes that excel in their chosen sport have been competing in that discipline since their adolescence - if not earlier.
Not Culburra Beach mountain bike rider Lynne Vaughan.
After doing athletics, swimming, sailing and netball growing up, Vaughan got her first mountain bike as a 21-year-old, as a means to ride to her job at the swimming pool.
Since then, she hasn't slammed the breaks on once.
"I often think if bike racing had been more accessible to me as a junior I would have loved to have gotten into it," Vaughan said - which is the main reason she is passionate about junior development.
"I love the friendships and the way you feel when you are riding a bike - you aren't really thinking about anything else but being in the moment."
Vaughan, who loved watching the mountain biking at the Sydney Olympics, is now part of three South Coast cycling clubs; Nowra Velo Club, the Culburra Beach Biking Group (CuBeCyCl) and South Coast United Mountain Bikers (SCUM).
"All of the clubs are amazing and offer me different things as a rider, to help me get to where I am today," she said.
"As a mountain bike coach, I know how to plan out programs so I can build up to specific events - I write my own schedule and make it fit into my life and the opportunities I get to race.
"It's often your friends and club mates that motivate you and keep you inspired and focused.
"Then, leading up to a big event, I ramp up my training depending on the length and type of race."
One of those big events Vaughan, who runs the Cycling Australia's women's cycling initiative in the Shoalhaven 'She Rides' - alludes to was the 2020 Mountain Bike Australia National Championships, held in Bright, Victoria recently.
"I took a group of SCUM academy mountain bikers to the state champs in Orange in November and despite not feeling incredibly strong myself at that event, I knew I had five solid months to train ahead of nationals," she said.
"I was very focused on my goal and I wanted to show my SCUM academy kids that with hard work and perseverance you can achieve your goals.
"This was not that easy during the bushfire season, where at times training seemed impossible.
"The short course was first and it was a tester against my competitors and I felt strong and in control all race.
"When I saw the steepness of the cross country Olympic course, both up and down, I wondered if I had done enough preparation.
"Luckily, I had a few days to train the course in Bright and went into the race confident - being able to ride all but two of the challenging lines.
"This proved to be a good decision, as I know one of my competitors fell on a tricky section and she said this put her race off.
"I stayed focused during the three laps and was both relieved and elated to cross the finish line in first place in my category (masters five)."
The mother of two, who clocked a time of 1:08:59.88 to edge out Karen Evans and Sharon Locke for line honours, ranks this performance as one of her best on two wheels.
"It was an exciting adventure that I shared with other SCUM racers, such as my son Hugh Vaughan (under 15s), Alix Luckman (under 17s) and Flynn Langdon (under 17s)," Vaughan, who also won a state championships jersey in 2002, said.
"Spending time with friends from the SCUM and Southern Highlands Cycling Club, who also rode incredibly well on this, my most challenging course to date, definitely made the five days in Bright a highlight in my cycling journey."
Although the dust is still settling on her first national title, Vaughan is already planning to defend her title.
"I'm aiming to head to Tasmania next year for nationals and hopefully defend my crown," she said.
"As well as that,I'd really love to cycle as many varied trails and destinations as possible - I just love the sport and can't get enough of it."