Matt Nowell is ready to ditch his lonely training rides in favour of full-gas racing as he prepares for his professional debut.
The 20-year-old will make his maiden appearance for BIKE Channel Canyon at the 95km Clayton Spring Classic in Clitheroe on Sunday (10am).
The race marks the Sheffield Hallam University student’s first steps in the paid ranks after his switch from Wheelbase Altura at the end of last season.
And he can’t wait to go racing – even if it may come as a shock to the system. Nowell, who hails from Northwich in Cheshire, said:
“I’m really looking forward to Sunday. You always like to get that first race under your belt and it will be my first for the team.
“I am 10 times up on this time last year. I just feel much stronger and I am doing more focused intervals, to make the most of my time.
“That is different to what I have done in previous years. I have definitely taken a more structured approach to this winter compared to previous ones.
“Numbers are great to look at until you get to a race and find there is something you haven’t done or need to do more. I feel like I am in a much better place but obviously we’ll see on Sunday.
“Clayton will be a case of seeing how I feel with the intensity of racing again. Training is never as hard as full-gas racing, so it will be nice to see how I respond to it.
“All my training has been on my own, so I will be getting used to handling myself in a group again.
“But it will be good to see where I’m at and maybe pick up a few quid along the way. That would be a nice bonus.”
Nowell, who will race alongside Jake Womersley, has been juggling winter training with his studies but he reckons joining BIKE Channel Canyon has provided added motivation.
And he is expecting a tough test in Lancashire this weekend as he feels his way back into competitive action. Nowell added:
“It has been a little easier to get out on those colder days, particularly when you see the likes of Opie, Rory and Alex smashing out the miles.
“That has given me a bit of extra drive to get out at times when otherwise I would have said I can’t be bothered.
“I’ve had a good look through the Clayton start sheet. There are a good few hitters in there and a few of the GB squad, who will obviously be ones to watch.
“Madison are in there, too, and Ryan Perry is always strong. So there are plenty in there to keep our eyes on.
“I will be happy with just getting round and seeing what the legs are like ahead of Eddie Soens the following weekend. That is a big one for the team.”