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.