Meet Junior Rider Sam Roach

This Friday marks the eighth week of Bear Development Team’s Junior Series! We are honored to dedicate our weekly post to the introduction of one member of the Bear Development Team.
Check in every week to get the inside scoop on Bear’s Junior Team!
This week, meet…

SAM ROACH

Racing Age: 17
Hometown: Roanoke, VA
Race Bike of Choice: Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL
Favorite Training Song: “Freaks and Geeks” by Childish Gambino
Best Post-Ride Snack: Almond Butter & Banana Toast

I’m pretty sure I was born on a bike. I never really remember when I started riding because my infatuation with speed is the thing only that occupies my earliest memories. My father was a speed junkie who raced cars, BMX, road crits, long road races, and now mountain bikes. Mom was a Marathon runner who has done about as many marathons as miles in one. I was born either to ride or run and since it allowed me to go faster, the bike was the obvious choice. I wish I could start my bio off with something that being on Bear doesn’t already tell you about me but cycling truly makes up my earliest of memories.

I started racing consistently at five and since then have kept up the same pace. Racing my bike is an addiction for me, not winning. The pain, competition, preparation, and adrenaline make up something that I can’t live without. Where I come across the line in relation to my competition has only ever been a small part of that addicting rush of racing. Going fast and doing my best brought wins just as every other Bear rider has a collection of, but winning, although motivating, was never as much the desire as simply going fast. I strive never to race a category I can win to better myself and to feed the motivation that keeps my fire burning.

In my early years, my life’s sole motivation was riding my bike way too fast every moment my life could spare. Although these early years shaped my abilities on the bike (and reshaped eight bones in my body), I regret not being more expansive. When I was in middle school, I fell in love with running track and grew an obsession with running the mile as fast as possible. It gained me a previously unfamiliar respect amongst my schoolmates. In eighth grade, I managed to run a sub-five-minute mile which ironically ended my spike and rubber career. After pushing my legs too hard, I developed a calf problem which has a name I cannot pronounce and made doctors tell me “never to run again.”

After my unpleasant endeavors in public school, I began attending The Miller School of Albemarle, Virginia. The Miller School is essentially a castle that houses a prestigious boarding school and around two hundred students representing seventeen different countries. Here, I discovered a love for photography, writing, and culture. Despite those self-defining passions given to me by the school, Miller’s high-level cycling team is what drew me to it the most. The team is made up of some of the most decorated junior riders from multiple different countries and an unrivaled dedication to making its athletes extraordinary. Freedom to ride every day and to travel for racing coupled with hands-on coaching from accomplished ex-pros made my career take off. Without the success cultivated by my coaches and schoolmates, racing for Bear might still be a distant dream.

My parents make this dream possible and I owe everything to them for their love and support (not to mention the genetics). My little sister is always there to make me laugh… especially at myself and, no matter how much we fight, I’d be lost without her. My grandpa has come to cheer me on at races nearly ten hours away and offers unconditional support no matter my performance or passion. When I’m stressed about racing or school, my best friends Aaron and Sabrina keep me grounded, offering motivation at every turn or falter. These people are the main frame of who I am and the roots of my success. Thanks to them I am, as ex-pro and genius trial-smith Andy Guptill always say, “living the dream!”