Sam Munday looks back at what cycling has given him thus far
08 December 2021
Sam Munday will be departing Team Novo Nordisk at the end of this year after six years in the organization. Below, Sam reminisces about this journey that started as a 16-year-old flying for the first time from Australia to the Talent ID camp in America. He lists experiences like this and others that’s taught him to be an independent young man today.
Your journey with the team all started with the Talent ID camp for you?
Yes, I started out with that and went on to the junior team and then got a place in the development team from there. After a couple of years with the development team I stepped up to the Pro team.
How did you hear about the talent ID program?
Through TNN ambassador Justin Morris. I knew Justin through a diabetes educator when I was first diagnosed back in Australia. At the time, Justin was actually racing with what was Team Type 1 back then. He was a big source of inspiration for me and through him, I got connected with Phil and Morgan Patton from Talent ID in going over to the US and trying out for the junior team.
How old were you then when you went to the US from Australia?
16 at the time, yep.
Isn’t that something, traveling from Australia to the US at 16?
That was my first trip away by myself. And I think since then, I’ve always probably been pretty independent. It’s been a long while since then but I’ve been pretty proud to be connected with the team since then.
Has cycling given you a lot of maturity and a lot of rich experiences up until now?
Sure, that’s something I’m super grateful for. I think being a professional in the sport, you’ve got to be quite dedicated. There’s a lot of sacrifices such as living overseas, living in a foreign country. I think you really have to be here if you want to succeed in it.
Coming from Australia, it’s really a big change, being away from your family and having to take care of your nutrition, training etc. I’m super grateful for that experience because it’s taught me a lot of life skills in general. The experiences I’ve had along the way, I would never take them away.
Do you have some standout moments where if you think back immediately something pops up?
There are quite a few. The racing with the development team in the US and all the stuff we did over there was quite a lot of different experiences. Some of the crit series in the US where the crowds are there and the night crits is a different style of cycling. The atmosphere there was amazing! Then also moving on to racing in countries like the Dominican Republic. It’s such a different reality. I remember being in a room that’s probably the size of a few square meters. You’ve got six guys on bunk beds that can barely move next to each other in the room with no air con, no windows. It was definitely an experience that put me well out of my comfort zone and I think that’s always important to make you grow up faster and gain a broader perspective on everything in life. It taught me to appreciate what I have.
The fans and everyone there just loved the racing. I think it goes to show regardless of where you are in the world, cycling or sport just brings people together.
And experience with the Pro Team?
Probably one of the best memories and experiences of great team camaraderie and teamwork was the Tour of Estonia in 2019. From the gun we had Brian go in the breakaway, got some king of the mountains points and then Sam Brand actually, in the end, ended up getting the jersey so we were holding the king in the mountains jersey throughout the race. Unfortunately, there were a few things that didn’t go right for us on the final day and we didn’t get to take that jersey but I think we always felt like we were in a position where we showed we were a strong team. We were on the front foot so I think that was special and everyone really worked together to commit to the one goal. It was great to be a part of that.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the diabetes community?
The team really changed my life and I had inspiration from Justin from the start. People have this perception that diabetes is something that controls you. I’ve always thought the opposite and the team has really added value to myself and others by showing what is possible with diabetes and how far we can go, like competing with the best athletes in the world.
Being competitive is something that years ago no one would have thought was possible if you were diagnosed with diabetes. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know what that would have meant in my life. The team gave me hope and the opportunity to give hope to others going forward, I want to continue to do so in whatever I do, to inspire and educate others and motivate them to live a healthy lifestyle, to be positive about what they do, and know that whatever it is, they can achieve that. I think that’s a big message that the team spreads, and I’ll always continue to share it with the world because that’s my mission and passion.