Jamie Kim co-editor-in-chief
Whizzing past on the bumpy roads, he pedals even faster to be the first to finish the mountain range course. But this is a grind he has grown accustomed to, since senior Jackson Nol has been an avid road cycler since the age of five.
“I can’t really remember how I first got into road cycling, but it’s just something I always did when I was younger. Everyone bikes when they are young, but I’m the only one who kept riding every day and ended up riding seriously,” Nol said.
“I love riding with my friends, but sometimes, you just want to zone out, listen to music and power through,” Nol said. “It’s also harder to ride alone because you are riding into the wind so it builds more strength.”
To practice for his races, Nol cycles on the paved mountain roads.
“To practice, I plan out solo rides on a map, so I know where I’m going to go, how many feet I’m going to climb or where I’m going uphill or downhill,” Nol said. “With the clubs, we just decide on different rides to Malibu, up and over into the Valley.”
Nick Kota, one of Nol’s fellow cyclers, met Nol in June through the Performance Rides Series, a club in Santa Monica. They ride together at least once per week.
“As a cyclist, I’d say that Jackson is just all effort. I know that he just started riding again in June after he slipped a disc, and since then, he’s just been riding non-stop,” Kota said.
On top of that, Kota believes that Nol is a hard worker.
“Jackson is riding with people who have been riding longer than he’s been alive, not to mention the pros that we have in our group. He just works and works, and he’s already faster than most of us,” Kota said. “I know he has a race on Sunday and I can’t wait to see him crush it.”
Ever since his injury, Nol hasn’t competed in many races, but seems optimistic for his upcoming one.
“Everyone rides at the same time, but is scored individually, so I’d be a position in under 18 as well as overall. Also, since I haven’t raced since the injury, I don’t have any places, but I expect to get first in under 18 on Sunday,” Nol said.
Nol’s favorite aspects about road cycling are the adrenaline and competition that come with the sport.
“[Cycling] is just fun. You go fast, really fast downhill, pretty fast uphill, and you’re racing other people,” Nol said.
However, Nol plans on continuing with this sport only throughout college, as he hopes to look for a “real job” afterwards. Currently, he is hoping to be recruited by colleges. Nevertheless, he is grateful for the lessons he has learned while cycling.
“Cycling has taught me focus, balance, just trying to hone in on one thing that you have to do and get better at it,” Nol said. “Do it over and over again until you’re the fastest.”