Stolen from Nolan

Larry Nolan is one of my local heroes. And its not just because he has that rare tush that looks good in white shorts. The man is a champ, and in addition to work, family and training, manages to find lots of time to encourage and mentor beginners.

Larry is the main force behind the Early Bird crits. These pre-season races are meant as an introduction to the sport for both beginners and those left a little stale from the off season. It seems as if last week’s Early BIrds had several crashes and a couple of ambulance calls. Blech. So, he sent off an email to remind folks of the basics. Anyhoo, it contained some stuff thats worth repeating, no matter what your experience level:


“400+ riders enjoyed our incredible January California weather last Sunday. 70 degrees! It’s easy to say that the majority of the riders had a great time rolling around in the warm weather shoulder to shoulder with their new found friends and a few of our local professionals.

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the 9 crashes that we saw out there, including two ambulances. For our volunteer mentors and organization folks who take this very personally, this is NOT the way to start the new year.

Homework assignments for every rider thinking of coming out to the 2009 Early Birds…
– set a realistic goal for the day. Far better to come away with all your skin and an appropriate workout (off the front, slinky intervals, holding position, whatever) than a win in a training race, especially when some are racing for the first time in months.
– tone down the risk taking and practice those pack skills. You know, where you are holding good position in the field without pissing off people you’ll be racing with for years. Yeah, it’s January!
– have a minimum proficiency with these skills:
—-> know what an overlapped wheel looks like and stay away from it
—-> relaxing on the bike (arms, shoulders, head and smiling)
—-> capability to not overreact after contact with another rider (3 crashes in the 90+ rider 3/4 field all started with minor contact, including one from rubber necking)
—-> holding your line, including when there is an accident in front of you.
—-> ride predictably. Sure, we have lots of new racers but you would never jump out in front of a car, would you?
—-> how to panic stop
– practice your cornering skills (pedal and hand position, counter-steering, turning on a dime and tight figure eights)
– practice perfect pacelines”


And yes, those are all his world and national champ medals he is holding.

9 Responses to “Stolen from Nolan”

girochatterbox January 14th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

This one is my favorite:
“Holding your line, including when there is an accident in front of you…” That’s saved my tushie a couple of times at crits.

And, the related skill “how to panic stop”, which has saved my skin in races and while commuting.

hernando January 15th, 2009 at 12:41 am

i’m sorry, did someone say something ~ can’t seem to focus on words …

hernandos last blog post…..VN vs CN in america

Marc January 15th, 2009 at 12:54 am

The last ambulance was a junior whose helmet slid up and did not provide any benefit. He had a significant concussion. Please be sure those helmet straps are keeping helmets down near your eyebrows! Esp juniors.

Kevin January 15th, 2009 at 4:36 am

Sorry, but that can’t be all his world and national medals. Not nearly enough. Just this year’s haul I think.

Lar January 15th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Sabine- I see you caught my better side… I’m about to start a thread on the NCNCA forum about the EB’s and the crashes. 9 crashes last week and they were all avoidable, in my opinion. Happy New Year, Lar

Dane Hillery February 27th, 2009 at 2:34 am

There are quite a lot of bike accident lately, do be careful on the road. By the way, thank you for the informative post. Really appreciate it.

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