MARK ROHAN did it the hard way, the only way he knows how.
The 31-year-old will return to Westmeath on Monday a double gold medallist after an incredible three days at Brands Hatch, where he ground out an incredible victory in the H1 Road Race to go with his time trial success.
The 48km course was the longest the reigning world champion had ever raced, but he helped drive the pace for four and a half 8km laps on the undulating circuit in the searing heat, before making his move.
Only Swiss rider Tobias Fankhauser could stay with the Irishman's pace for the last lap and a half, but the younger man refused to take the slack and let Rohan ride out front, staying on the wheel.
For almost 12km they were locked together, but Rohan knew that he was stronger than his opponent in the final stretch and drove home to the joy of the large Irish contingent at the finishing line.
It has been an incredible journey for the former Westmeath U-21 footballer who was paralysed from the chest down following a motorcycle accident in 2001, and he spoke about the emotional nature of the win after receiving his medal.
"I'm just trying to take it in. The last 10 years have been a struggle and it was nice to top it off, to be able to celebrate something now," he explained.
"I enjoy playing sport; sport with a disability is the same as sport without a disability. You get the same emotions, the same support and the same ups and downs.
"If I wasn't here, I would have loved to have been lifting the Sam Maguire Cup for Westmeath, I had big ambitions. I honestly mean that.
"Whatever I put my hand to, I give it 100pc and luckily enough I have come out the right side of it these last couple of years. I'm delighted for the Irish people, to be able to repay the taxpayers' money, the huge investment.
"And for all my supporters and my sponsors, (coach) Brian Nugent, (manager) Denis Toomey and the whole Irish paracycling team and all my team-mates."
Rohan will take some time off now and is looking at furthering his studies in the US as a next step. There are no qualification points for Rio de Janeiro for a year and a half and, while he is set to take a break, there is no sign of him stopping for good.
"I see a lot of Gaelic footballers retiring when they are 30 or 35 -- throwing in the towel -- and I am thinking, 'Jesus, these guys are in serious shape, what are they doing?" he said. "So, for me, I am just absolutely delighted to be able to compete at a high level of sport."
Rohan knows things will be different now. His profile has been rising thanks to various sponsorships, but as a double Paralympic champion, he acknowledged that he has new responsibilities.
"I wish things weren't going to be different, I wish they would stay the same," he admitted. "But I have a responsibility to promote disability sport, it is a minority sport. Once every four years we get a shop window to promote it (in the Paralympics).
"I got an email from a young guy called Tiernan O'Sullivan, who I met in hospital where we were promoting hand-cycling in Cork a few months ago. To see those kids cycling a bike with their disability, its amazing.
"I took great inspiration from his email and, to know the joy they have, the next generation; looking at us. If they want to become a professional sports person, the window of opportunity is there.
"I'll embrace the high profile for the next couple of months, but I won't use if for my own ends -- I'll use it to promote the sport. I am a shy lad who loves to do his own thing, we'll see how it goes."