TANYN Lyndon is still coming to terms with being a Kellogs Nutri-Grain ironman, but that does not mean he doesn't feel like he belongs on the elite circuit.
Lyndon, formerly of the Lennox Head Surf Lifesaving Club sits in 19th place overall out of 21 with two rounds to go - Coolum on Sunday, February 12 and a week later in Noosa.
The 21-year-old has not yet set the world on fire but he is simply enjoying the experience of his first ever Nutri-Grain ironman campaign.
"I'm having an absolute ball and trying to learn as much as I can off the older guys," he said.
"It all still feels surreal having kids come up to you and wanting you to sign things for them.
"I'm still coming to terms with lining up against guys like Caine and Shannon Eckstein and (current overall leader) Alastair Day."
Make no mistake though, Lyndon has a right to be in such company.
"Zane Holmes (who is fifth overall) trains with me at Northcliffe and he's taken me under his wing," he said.
Along with his vast potential, Lyndon's fighting qualities are making his opponents take notice.
Perth last weekend was a classic example.
"I got third in the Indian Ocean Classic on Saturday then got 16th in the ironman the next day," he said.
"It was a big weekend where I covered 47km in 48 hours and that made me feel like I belong at this level."
But the journey has only just begun - to be a top-level ironman again next year will take more hard work.
Lyndon admits he will not garner the points over the last two Nutri-Grain rounds to make the top 10 and automatically qualify for the 2013 series.
"I'll need to go back through the trials to re-qualify," he said.
"So with that and the State and National Surf Lifesaving meets to come I'll keep working hard."
Lyndon still receives regular guidance from Lennox Head SLSC coach Lou Wilson.
"We talk a lot and he's still pretty much my coach," he said.
The board specialist gives himself a chance of beating his top finish of 15th at Surfers Paradise in round one when he competes at Coolum.
"I love big surf and big waves and that's what you usually get up there," he said.
And as for the next few years at Nutri-Grain ironman level?
"You can't expect too much in your first season but in the future I want to be right up there," he said.
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