Sam Spokes is getting back in the saddle.
The former pro cyclist has joined the Avantis Pro Racing (APR) team. Formerly known as Mainpac, Spokes will take on a mentoring role with the team.
"There's a lot of junior riders and under-23 riders so the team were probably looking for a bit of experience, and someone that can pass on their knowledge," he said.
Spokes has plenty to offer, spending almost six years racing in Europe and riding in some of the biggest cycling events in the world.
He said it has been a bit of a whirlwind, the invitation coming "completely out of the blue".
"Kurt Pollock from the Avantis Pro Racing team, he contacted me on Friday last week (January 17) and floated the idea of having a crack at the Grafton to Inverell with the team," Spokes said.
"I did that last year with Bree (Breanna Chillingworth) and I enjoyed that."
"I had a good think about it over the weekend and talked about it with my family and friends."
"Obviously for me the biggest focus is my real estate business with LJ Hooker.
"That was my biggest thing. If I was to do it, that was a priority."
But the team were understanding of that.
The Grafton to Inverell is in May. Spokes will also do some other races with the team but hasn't yet locked in a program.
"There's a lot of strong riders on the team, I'm not automatically guaranteed a spot in each of the races," he said.
"It's about getting myself back to a competitive level".
In that regard it's about "training smarter not harder".
"I train most mornings anyway riding with friends," he said.
"I'll probably do a few longer rides and a few more efforts through the weekend."
Spokes retired from pro cycling in 2017 after his then team Drapac's merger with Cannondale left him in limbo.
At the time he felt he hadn't yet reached his full potential and "had more to get out of it".
As tough as that was though Spokes said he never lost the passion for cycling, and is looking forward to getting his racing cap back on.
"I'm actually excited," he said.
"The one thing I've always missed is the adrenalin of racing, and to be able to combine it with work and family life that's perfect for me."
He's also looking forward to helping nurture the next generation.
"Obviously I love being able to help guys like Luke Deasey and through NIAS," he said.
"This allows me a bit more of a hands on role."
Spokes was a similar age to many of the riders in the APR stable, which includes Tamworth's Steven Roberts and Armidale's Michael Harris, when he first moved over to Europe. He had only been out of school a year when he was offered a place with the Belgium-based Quick Step junior team.
He said at this point of their career's it's about enjoying the moment and racing smarter not harder.
"I think a lot of guys in their early years just try and race hard all the time," he said.
"Cycling is like a fuel tank you've only got so much. It's about learning when and not to use your gas."
"And also how to read a race.
"That can make a big difference.
"If you haven't got that tactical nous, you're not going to win many races."