WAGGA road cycling prospect Zac Barnhill loved pounding the pavement more than pedal power before injury forced him onto a bike.
He hasn't looked back since, with the 16-year-old preparing for his first overseas racing opportunity as part of a Cycling NSW under-19 team to compete in Korea in August.
Barnhill is one of six chosen in the team to race in the five-stage Tour de DMZ, part of the UCI Men Junior Nations' Cup.
After injuring himself running, the Riverina Anglican College student took up cycling and in a twist of fate, found his true sports calling.
"I used to be a runner but I got injured. I did cycling just to keep my fitness up when I wasn't running, and I didn't stop," Barnhill said.
"I'm used to racing against all those boys (also selected) because I've been doing it for a few years, I didn't expect to make it though.
"There was still a few kids older than me that had a pretty big chance, so I was pretty happy to make it."
The event is the first step of Cycling NSW's under-19 endurance initiative, aim to create more opportunities for junior riders racing overseas and locally.
"It will be a good experience. I'm not really focused on results, but it will be good to race against a bunch of riders that's a lot bigger than you usually get in Australia," Barnhill said.
"The first two days are 80km and pretty flat, the next two 115km and a bit undulating with no big hills, and the last a flat 60km."
Barnhill hopes to head overseas after he finishes school to further his cycling, the next step toward his goal of eventually turning professional.
"Hopefully after Year 12 I'll go overseas for half a year or so to race and train, and see how I go from there," he said.
"I want to eventually make it on the big stage but that's a few years away, so I'll try and stay consistent and keep training."
Barnhill competed at the Road National Championships at Bathurst in January, and his latest races were from Coonabarabran to Gunnedah, then Gunnedah to Tamworth, about a fortnight ago.
The first stage of the Tour de DMZ will be run on August 30 and will wrap up on September 3.