Nathan Earle has peddled along some of the most picturesque roads throughout Europe, Asia, the United Kingdom, North America and Canada, but Tasmania has his heart locked up.
"Once you spend a lot of time away, it makes you more aware of what you miss when you're away," he said, gesturing towards his wife Kat and two children - four-year-old Bonnie and near one-year-old River.
The 32-year-old Hobart man has raced for some of the most renowned cycling teams in the world, but a pair of freak accidents in 2018 and 2019 in which he broke his femur, pelvis, ribs and collarbone brought him back to Tasmania. And today he found himself rolling onto Launceston's Silverdome in the Launceston Cycling Carnival.
After almost fully recovering, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and he said travelling internationally and risking the health of his young family was not an option.
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"I don't want them to be in Europe in this current climate, or even travelling to Europe," he said.
While he is open to opportunities to ride overseas in the future, he has relished the time he has been able to spend back home. And with an extended stay in Tasmania, he thinks his priorities may have shifted.
"Once you get that taste of being back home it's like, I didn't really know what I was missing before or I'd try not to think about it, but now the amount of things that I see that I wouldn't have seen if I wasn't here it's scary," he said.
"Now I don't think I could really go away for that long, or be away and apart for three months before I'd see [my family]. I don't think I could just go away and miss that stuff."
He has found a silver lining in a difficult situation that he had no way of avoiding, but has maintained an insatiable thirst for cycling fostered over a lifetime of being involved in the sport and 10 years riding at the top level.
But being out of Europe, and Asia where his current Team UKYO is based, has given rise to a new challenge - where to find competition rides.
With a dearth of rides in Tasmania as compared with the usual fruitfulness of an international circuit with a new meet just about every week, he has turned his mind back to the wooden track - something he said he has not done "in quite a long time".
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Ahead of flying around the Silverdome he said the opportunity to get on the bike was impossible to knock back, despite it being a foreign experience coupled with the fact he was riding a bike he had never used before.
"I don't think I've ever ridden on the velodrome, so it's something quite different for me," he said.
"It's racing ... it's in my home state, it'd be wrong not to get involved."
He said the Launceston challenge - and the wider Tasmanian cycling circuit - was a great way to not only roll his legs over in preparation for what lies ahead, but to engage with the cycling community from which his extensive career was borne.
But when asked whether the bitumen that has so many times bitten at his bones would make way for the hardwood of a velodrome he was blunt.
"Absolutely not," he said.
Now his next step is working out how to maintain the idyllic balance between his love of cycling and being able to see his family grow up that he has achieved in a world of pandemics and broken pelvises.
"It's a pretty good balance at the moment but with family and sport and everything it's not just about you and riding your bike, you've got a lot of other people to consider."
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