Upper Hutt is 12,000 kilometres from Austin - and about as far away from Lance Armstrong as Texan Mike Anderson can possibly get.
It's there the pleasant-faced Anderson runs his small bike shop, and most customers have no idea of the story behind the man behind the counter.
So what drives a man to relocate his family halfway across the world, quitting a job that - on the face of it - had to be one of the most privileged positions in world sport?
In 2002, then-four-time Tour de France-winner Armstrong hired Anderson as his bike mechanic and personal assistant. But, as many have discovered, an invitation into Armstrong's inner sanctum is a poisoned chalice.
Within two years Anderson's employment was over and a bitter legal dispute had hurt him financially.
Worse still, his credibility was also under massive attack from the Armstrong legal armoury in the full spotlight of the world's media, after Anderson revealed finding evidence of Armstrong's drug use in his employer's Spanish townhouse.
The sudden meltdown of Armstrong's legacy this month, after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released a damning 1000-page dossier, has vindicated Anderson and others. But the damage has been done.
Anderson says that anyone who dared blow the whistle on the man nicknamed "The Boss", faced an unrelenting pursuit of revenge.
He has a mountain of invoices incurred from battling Armstrong's high-flying legal team, and endured years of scathing personal attacks from "the face of cycling".
"Big lawyers followed by attacks on credibility, that was his [Armstrong's] modus operandi . . . I saw it first-hand," Anderson said.
"I saw him do it to his ex-wife, I saw him do it to David Walsh [journalist], I saw him do it to [three-time Tour de France winner] Greg LeMond.
"When I hired a lawyer, I knew that I was going to be a target as well.
"The implication that I was making stuff up insulted my intelligence. But it's so easily done when someone has a lot of power, money and a much bigger voice than I have.
"Deep down, the thing that's always troubled me was being called a liar. My father was in the army and honesty was one value my parents used to always strongly, strongly instil . . . particularly when you're giving evidence under oath."
Anderson is just one of several former insiders to have had their reputations savaged after talking to media.
Former US Postal Service cycling team masseuse Emma O'Reilly also testified against Armstrong, who responded by suing and branding her a prostitute and alcoholic.
In Anderson's case, not even a friendship dating back to their teenage years in Texas was enough to spare him Armstrong's wrath.
Looking back, Anderson now says it was his prior student connection which "clouded" his professional judgment.
"When my father retired we moved to the Dallas area where Lance is from, I was 16 and started working in a bike shop just down the road from where he lived," he said.
"We had a lot of mutual friends. I heard a lot of interesting stories about him, he had a rough reputation even then.
"It wasn't until I moved down to Austin to go to university that we became friends. We had two years or so where we were training together and were part of a large workshop in Austin.
"It was a friendship and one day he said ‘hey, can you help me out? I know you want to open a bike shop and I'll help you out with that if you can help me out for two years because I'm going to win two more Tours and then retire'.
"It went downhill from there. I had been in the job six to eight months at the most, when I realised, ‘oh s..., this is not really a nice business to be in'.
"He was a serial philanderer by his own admission, he said things, did things that you wouldn't normally encounter.
"Unfortunately, looking back on it now, the friendship was probably a lot more superficial than I realised and it clouded my better judgment.
"Being an employer now and dealing with New Zealand employment law, if I treated someone the way he treated me in that position, he would have been hauled into reviews under the Employment Commission countless times."
Armstrong, at the height of his fame and popularity, was able to all but run his former friend out of town. And that's what happened.
Despite finding relative sanctuary in New Zealand six years ago, Anderson says the past decade has had lasting effects on his family and finances.
"Things could have been, in a materialistic way, much easier in the States had all of this not happened. But we lost tens and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost wages and me not being about to find a job in the bike business because I'd been ostracised and blackballed," he said. "Things were really, really tough in the States and that's a large part of why we moved here. We sold everything we had in order to move.
"Living here, life is always relatively much easier regardless of your economic status. But I'm in the retail business. Times are tough. We're living hand to mouth, we don't have any extra money.
"We haven't been back to the States, we've been in New Zealand almost six years and my kids have never seen any of their cousins, because we can't afford it. I've been out of New Zealand once on business.
"The first couple of years, certainly during the legal proceedings I was depressed, to the point of being unbearable, but that's probably one for my wife to answer."
A particularly sobering chapter in Anderson's story is that he can see the effects of the Armstrong saga on his children.
"I think it's been harder on me than anyone else because I took such a horrid blow to the ego with my credibility being questioned, and facing the professional ramifications of going up against the face of cycling. But that rubs off on everyone," he said.
"One of the things I think about is that since we moved to New Zealand we've had another child, Ruby. I could be dead wrong on this but she's a totally different child from our son who was two to three years old when I was going through the trials and tribulations.
"It rubbed off on him, I think, because he was not as bubbly as his sister is. She had the luxury of growing up after all that was settled and us moving into a wonderful place like New Zealand where people treat each other with respect."
Despite the legal dispute ending in a confidential settlement in 2005, Armstrong remains relentless in his pressure on Anderson.
As recently as August, Armstrong, through his lawyer Mark Fabiani, was circulating historic emails through American media as the attempts to discredit Anderson continued. But while regretting ever getting involved with professional cycling and Armstrong, Anderson says the bitterness has largely evaporated. He can talk about the pair's last exchanges without anger, and resists opportunities to truly slam Armstrong.
"One of the last conversations we had was he told me was going to open World War III on me," Anderson said.
"There was a long time that all I wanted to do was punch him in the face.
"But the last time I actually saw him he wouldn't even look me in the eye. The lawyers asked that we shake hands during the arbitration proceedings and he wouldn't even look at me in the face. I'm not a religious man at all but it's almost New Testament versus Old Testament thinking and I'm kind of torn between them."
- © Fairfax NZ News