CATH Cheatley was hoping for a miracle ...
Back on the bike after a horrific injury, she pushed herself to the limit through January and February - as she always had done throughout a glittering cycling career.
And there was always a glimmer of light that the champion Wanganui rider might make it back to the big time, with the London Olympics her goal.
"I put in a lot of effort and there was a little bit of hope but I needed to be racing by March and I knew I couldn't be competitive," she said yesterday.
Never likely to be satisfied with just being "a bunch filler", the Beijing Olympian has announced her retirement from racing.
It was a heartbreaking moment for the 29-year-old who won the United States National Road Series is 2010 and is a three-time winner of the New Zealand road title.
"Yes, it's pretty sad. I didn't want it to end like this but I have to take it on the chin.
"I can ride my bike but I can't generate the power I need to go fast. What I like about cycling is racing and I really do miss it. You don't know how much you love something until you can't do it."
Cheatley suffered multiple fractures to her right hip when she crashed during October 2011's Around The Mountains race in Taranaki. She spent six hours in surgery at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital as the pieces, plus various pins and plates, were put back together.
Intensive rehabilitation saw her make a quick recovery and get back on the bike ahead of schedule, but it was not to be ...
"When the numbness didn't leave and I couldn't get the power through the leg, I just had to be realistic that not only was London out of the question, but riding competitively again is a long shot," she said.
"I put all of my energy into rehab in the hope I might make it but I needed a miracle to reach top form and push for a medal in London. The reality is that I have the rest of my life to live with family and friends and I can't risk it all on one race."
Cheatley had had a good feeling about 2012, sensing it might be her year. Now she is hoping it is husband Dayle's year as he coaches New Zealand's women's endurance track team at the Olympic Games next month.
She won't be going to London: "It would be hard to go and just watch. I'll support Dayle from in front of the TV."
Her new job will also be taking up her time. Cheatley has just finished her first week as BikeNZ regional development co-ordinator for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region.
With Dayle's coaching role also moving to the sport's new base at the Avantidrome in Cambridge, it means the couple will say goodbye to their beloved home town.
"I saw the position advertised and thought maybe it was meant to be. Now I have the opportunity to encourage and help others to enjoy the sport," she said.
"It's an exciting role and will definitely provide me with a different type of challenge.
"Cycling is getting bigger. It has so many health benefits and, at the top end, New Zealand is doing well. We have the people, terrain and conditions for cycling to be a huge sport in terms of participation and recreation as well as high performance."
This month, she heads to the US to help the BikeNZ junior endurance track squad prepare for August's world championships in Invercargill.
Cheatley is one of New Zealand's most successful female riders. She competed in the Beijing Olympics and the Melbourne and Delhi Commonwealth Games and rode as a professional in the US from 2008, as well as winning a bronze medal in the points race at the 2007 world track championships and finishing in the top 10 on the road at the 2009 world championships.
"It's been a great ride."