Sam was given a chance to be a part of Team Novo Nordisk and has been nothing short of amazing since committing solely to the bike. After almost two years on Team Novo Nordisk development team Sam was given the chance to ride with the pro team towards the end of the 2017 season. Sam would quickly learn what it takes to ride with the pros. Sam is a man that loves a challenge and that is exactly what he got as began his pro career at the Tour of Utah followed by the Colorado Classic the following week, elevation was the name of the game for these races. Sam wasn't given training wheels to start his pro career, In two weeks he was lucky if he saw any flat roads.
Over the past year or so Sam and I have learned a lot about one another and have formed a brotherly relationship. In the summer of 2016 I was given the opportunity to cover one of the Team Novo Nordisk talent ID camps and would walk on the University of Georgia terrified of how I was going to cover the camp. I didn't know anyone and for a guy that is extremely shy unless he is around people he knows I didn't think I would say two words all week. That quickly changed as I walked to check in and meet everyone, Sam was at the desk and asked my name, once I said Ryan Noonan he said "Oh man the Diabetic Cyclist, I love your website and the honesty!!" That week I felt like a puppy as I followed Sam around the campus, my outgoing personality came out and I got a little to comfortable. As I prepared to ride with the development team I said to Sam "Think you can keep up with me today?" That is when I learned Sam is a different guy once that bike helmet goes on. I was given a look that even my mother never gave me, Sam was at work and was determined to do the best he could. That is Sam, a man that loves life, his family and his work. He is a rider to be watched for the 2018 season, and I was honored to be able to interview him via email, asking him about his dreams, life and the team.
It was a huge experience and opportunity and one that I am so thankful for. It was great to learn what is expected, the level of racing and the strength of my teammates as well as gather some great confidence for 2018. All combined, this will allow me to be the best rider and teammate I can be. With a lot of hard work, I hope it will enable both the team and myself to achieve some great results.
You have said that you took a risk and chased your dream of racing as professional cyclist, what sacrifices did you make and what is it like to be living your dream?
At the beginning of this journey, I left behind a steady graduate job in the UK. Nothing would have stopped me from pursuing this adventure. The main risk I took was the uncertainty of what lay ahead and whether I could make my dreams become reality. Luckily, I love to challenge myself and the risk was more than worth it. I believe dreams are meant to be chased.
When this opportunity arose, there was no hesitation and I’ve never looked back. There is nothing in this world I’d rather be doing. I get on my bike with a huge smile on my face. Our mission is amazing; I love being able to inspire, educate and empower those affected by diabetes. Positively changing even one life in a million is an incredible feeling.
Entering your first full season with the pro team what are your expectations for not only the team but for yourself?
I’m my own worst critic. I want to win--that’s why I’m here working so hard. My expectations are high, and I believe that if they weren’t, then there’s no point in racing. Any victory or result for the team is as much a success for that individual rider as it is for all of us on the team. One wins, we all win. I hope to help put our team on the podium and also to make it up there myself.
Which race are you most looking forward too this season?
The calendar isn’t yet finalized, so I don’t know for sure where will be racing. Looking at places where we’ve raced before, I would love to race Milan-San Remo. That would be a dream. Additionally, if the team were to race in Britain again, then that would be fantastic to be part of that squad.
Finally, I am extremely proud and excited to represent the Isle of Man (and Team Novo Nordisk) at the Commonwealth Games in April.
When it comes to diabetes management has anything changed from being on the development team to being on the pro team?
The only difference is that my teammates are different. Everyone is unique in their management and it’s great to learn and experience how they do things. As I always say, “Knowledge is power”.