Skeleton racer Amelia Coltman believes she is peaking at the perfect time ahead of her Great Britain debut this weekend.
Coltman, from Melton, makes her international bow as part of a six-strong British squad at the opening round of the Europa Cup, in Germany, on Sunday.
As a debutant, the 23-year-old was automatically entered into the Europa circuit, while the more senior team members take on the elite World Cup and second tier Intercontinental Cup.
But despite her junior status in the British skeleton set-up, Coltman finished fourth-fastest lady at the British selection race in Lillehammer earlier this month.
“I feel I have earned the right to say I’ve represented Great Britain,” she said.
“I put down four consistent performances and was pleased with how I held my nerve because it was really close between me and another girl for fourth place.
“It was probably the highest-quality racing I have done so far.
“On paper I should have come last, so I was happy to beat some of the other girls.”
The result at the 1994 Winter Olympic venue, in Norway, came in spite of the worst possible build-up to the four selection races.
“I came down with food poisoning the day we flew out of Latvia for Lillehammer,” she explained.
“I had to miss the first day of official training so it meant I only had four runs on the track instead of six before the races.”
Having joined the British programme as a novice, Coltman has had to wait two years to pull on the British colours for the first time in anger.
But, like buses, the racing now comes thick and fast.
After the season opener in Winterberg, Coltman heads across Germany for back-to-back races at Konigssee the following weekend.
Coltman will need no extra motivation over the eight-race series, but there is the added motivation of promotion to the Intercontinental Cup circuit with two top-five finishes.
“It’s going to be a competitive circuit against girls that have been sliding since they were 10, but I feel optimistic,” she said.
“It will be interesting to see where I am compared to the rest of the world, especially the Germans who are top dogs in the sport.
“I would love to get some medals this year, but I’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Part of the squad’s build-up to the season curtain-raiser was an eye-opening pre-season in Latvia, at the infamous Sigulda track.
“People compare it to Whistler for its level of difficulty so getting thrown straight into that at the start of the season was a bit of a shock,” she added.
“I don’t think I had experienced skeleton until I went on that track. It was brutal.
“I just kept ticking each day off and saying ‘it’s okay, I’m still alive’.
“There were plenty of bruises, knocks and crashes, but that’s all part of it.”