It's hard to avoid a "Spot the next George Christison" game when watching Hawke's Bay's annual Triple Peaks Challenge.
Christison, the 2004 Coast to Coast winner, is still regarded as Hawke's Bay's king of multisport.
It was Hawke's Bay mountainbiker Luke Osborne who caught the eye at last year's 47km challenge which takes in Mount Erin, Mount Kahuranaki and Te Mata Peak.
Osborne, a self employed Hastings builder, said his long-term goal was to complete a Coast to Coast and he has already started kayaking as part of his quest. However, he has a few other projects to tick off before then and his immediate priority was retaining his men's duathlon title in tomorrow's Hastings Pak'nSave Challenge.
Tomorrow will be Osborne's third Triple Peaks. Before last year's victory the former mountainbike rider and junior athlete competed with a three-person team. He had the perfect rehearsal when he won the national senior men's cross country mountainbike title in Dunedin last month.
Since then Osborne, 26, has been training for eight to 10 hours a week in the buildup to tomorrow.
"I'm lucky I can train on the peak, although we can't do the exact course for the Triple Peaks because the course is not all on public land," said Osborne, who benefits from having national 3000m steeplechase champion Neville Smith as his running coach and one of the Bay's top cyclists Dan Warren as his cycling mentor.
He didn't mind revealing another of the secrets to his success either. "A good feed of Aunt Betty's rice pudding for breakfast ... it tastes good and has lots of nutrition," he said.
Another Bay starter hoping to retain a title tomorrow is 2009 Xterra world champion Bridget Keegan in the women's solo mountainbike division. The Plus Rehab physio finished fourth in the women's elite cross country mountainbike race in Dunedin.
"A lot of the top girls will be at the Oceania champs in Aussie but I'm sure it will still be a strong field," said Keegan who will also be tackling her third Triple Peaks.
Her victory last year followed a second placing in 2009. The former Just Chicks and No Dicks team rider will start in next month's Xterra Rotorua event before a major off-bike event in her life - her marriage to Hawke's Bay cyclist Brendon Lodge. "I'll probably have a bit of down time after that," she quipped.