For Sam Davis, a good hill climb is like a long drawn-out battle. A game of chess during which all sorts of moves can be made, and myriad skills are called upon. We catch up with a guy who, for a cyclist, sounds like he’d engage in a pretty mean round of chess…
At about the age of ten, Sam Davis was taken by his dad, a recreational club racer, down to the club for a junior handicap race. Little Sam was on a beaten up bike and up against three or four other young whippets. He raced, and the passion ignited.
From then on Sam would send every Saturday with his mates just having a ball out riding. He competed in the U15s and U17s and didn’t do well, but he didn’t care; he was having a brilliant time.
Things started to get serious and Sam started racing NRS and throughout Asia with the Western Australian Plan B (now Satalyst), during which he gained enough exposure to attract the attention of Genesys (now the Avanti Racing Team), with whom he has been racing now for three years.
University WA worked around the bike. The Mechanical Engineering department was sympathetic to Sam’s fairly unique position, and set tasks and exams around his riding commitments. Now in his final and fifth consecutive year (he has studied part-time and trains about 25 hours a week), Sam looks back at the challenge it has been to manage, but has relished the fact it forced his head space out of riding. When things have felt like they’re about to reach a tipping point, he’s had the luxury of falling back on the support network provided to him by Avanti, which has helped make the juggle a lot more successful.
Long-term, Sam aims to make it onto a professional world tour team and knows he has to get himself on plenty of podiums plenty of times before he can make that cut. To do that, he will need to travel a lot more, which he loves. In fact his most memorable pinch-myself-I’m-dreaming moment came at the age of 19, when he found himself racing in Iran; something that just had never entered his imagination.
But the ultimate inspiration is the riding itself – knowing how raw cycling is and that it’s man against man, each trying to be the best he can possibly be.
7th, Jelajah Malaysia
5th, Tour of East Java
3rd, Tour of South China Sea
IMAGE CREDIT: Lloyd Smith Photography