Cyclist Sam is a student at Chesterfield College who has been selected to attend RSR coaching sessions provided by British Cycling coaches. In 2015, he became the East Midlands Youth A Champion as well as North Midlands GHS TT Champion, finishing second 15-year-old at the GHS National Championship 2015.
Sam says: "Sport has been an integral part of my upbringing, getting picked for the school football and basketball team and winning the league for Hasland CFC in 2011.
"I began cycling in 2012 after being inspired by the London Olympics. Cycling has always been around in my life as my dad was a professional for 14 years and my mum has cycled all her life, so I have always been surrounded by stories of cycling, trophies, jerseys and medals.
"In 2014 I began to race. Despite being very inexperienced, I won five of the nine races I competed in and set a new juvenile record at the Beeley Hill Climb. I learned a lot about racing and the different tactics used to win races.
"For the 2015 season I used the knowledge of my dad to prepare and train much more specifically and more intensely for my first year at Youth A level. This led to a massive improvement of my 10-mile Time Trial time from 23:43 to 20:14. 2015 was also my first full year of racing from March to October.
"I won the East Midlands Under-16 Championship and the North Midlands GHS TT Championship and finished fourth in my age category at the National GHS TT Final. Over the course of the year I racked up eight wins, dispensation to race in adult races and over 6,000 miles on my bike. I was also selected for Regional British Cycling Coaching sessions.
"2016 is my last year as a Youth Rider and so I wanted to go out with a bang. I trained harder than before, consistently doing 200+ miles a week. This hard work paid off with 14 wins, 33 podiums and 51 top 10 finishes.
"I won races in a number of different ways; from bunch sprints, solo break- aways and small groups. I retained my North Midlands GHS TT title and represented East Midlands at the UK School Games. I also improved my 10-mile TT time to a 19:51, set a pb of 52:39 for a 25 mile TT and beat three course records.
"In 2017, I will move into the junior age category, where races get longer and hillier. In 2017 I plan to race the National Junior Series, abroad in France, Belgium and possibly the USA and race as many races against professionals as possible. My aims are to finish in the top 10 at National Junior Rounds and to finish top three at the National Junior 25 TT and top five at the National Junior 10 TT.
"In 2014, I was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy, where the Mitochondrial (energy) cells aren't formed properly. I have flare ups of the condition for two weeks every seven to 10 weeks, during which I cannot train and sometimes not walk properly, then it miraculously disappears again. Despite this huge setback, I am still able to perform to National level standards.
"I am analytical about my training and self-critical about my performances in races. I have also recently changed to a vegan diet to maximise my health and performance. Since going vegan, the time between my muscle condition flare ups seem to have increased. I am very determined to succeed in cycling and become a professional."