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Special edition news for September 18, 2000
June 3, 1976 - September 17, 2000
The death of US rider, Nicole Reinhart in the BMC Tour of Arlington, September 17 stunned the cycling community when it was announced. While any death is a tragedy for those near to them, the pain is felt by so many more if that person is well known and loved through their endeavours. Deaths in bicycle races are rare, even if crashes are not, and this is certainly a deep loss to the cycling world.
The following page is a collection of some of the messages that have been sent in following the accident. Gerard, Jeff, John and the team at cyclingnews.com extend our deep sympathies to the Reinhart family, her friends, the Saturn Team and those who knew her through cycling.
Nicole Reinhart will be eulogized Sunday, September 24, scheduled for 2:00 pm, at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. All are welcome to attend.
My sister was in my mind the best female cyclist in the United States. She taught me so many things in her life that I will never forget. She told me to be strong when I was scared, to go fast when I needed to be fast, to always believe in myself because anything could happen. She was the best sister I could have ever asked for and I will always remember everything that she has taught me.
Every race that I have left in my racing career will be for her, any result that I achieve will be from her because without her I would be a nobody. Her racing style was her own, and I know that it has touched me and so many others.
I know that my sister would not want anybody to stop racing because of this. She was in this sport because she loved it, and she would never, never want anyone to stop. I will always miss and love my sister, she was truly the best coach, friend a brother could ask for.
I love you Nicole and I know that you will be watching. I also want to thank everyone for their prayers because they are helping and we will all get through this.
Saturn team report
It is with the deepest sorrow that we report the loss of Saturn Cycling Team member and friend Nicole Reinhart.
Reinhart, 24 of Mertztown, PA, died today at a local hospital after crashing on the final descent of the BMC Software Tour of Arlington bicycle race, outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
Nicole's parents and other family members had flown in to see her race today, where she was a favorite to win the finale of the Saturn US Pro Cycling Tour and the fourth in a series of races sponsored by BMC software. After winning three previous BMC sponsored events, Reinhart was poised to win the $250,000 prize that was being offered to any rider who could a attempting to complete a four-race sweep of the BMC Grand Prix.
Reinhart grew up near Trexlertown, PA, where she got into a cycling development program after she quit gymnastics. She quickly became a promising track cyclist and, over the past two years, blossomed into one of the nations best road sprinters. Nicole was instrumental in helping the Women's Saturn Cycling Team attain a number one world ranking at the end of the 1999 season.
Nicole Reinhart loved to compete during the cycling season, but always looked forward to heading home to her family and friends. Her talent and youthful enthusiasm, as well as her presence in the peloton, will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
A release will follow with further information on correspondence arrangements.
Mercury team report
Today was supposed to be a glorious day for cycling in America. 2 riders going after $250,000 paydays. The BMC Boston Men's race was canceled after the death of Saturn rider Nicole Reinhart.
After crashing earlier in the race, Reinhart and her Saturn teammates fought back into contention and looked poised to bring Reinhart to the line. On the last lap, on the descent into town, Reinhart struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at 1:27pm.
She was young and had so much talent. Her efforts for the 250,000 overshadowed her other abilities and everyone liked her happy-go-lucky charm. She was just this week talking about her future and her desire to not be just a criterium sprinter.
All of the Mercury Cycling Team Family and sponsors give our condolences to her family and friends.
Our team had the honor of racing with Nicole and her Saturn team mates during most of the big races in 2000. She helped our riders to elevate their desire to race and to challenge their abilities. We owe her a debt of gratitude.
Additionally, I was honored when Nicole showed up for the second annual Clarendon Cup in 1999, which she swiftly diposed her challengers in. Afterward, she kindly obliged the local cable Access Station with an interview, which she did with the same professionalism she would also have used had the event been a World Championship, and she was being interviewed by Phil Ligget.
She returned for the 2000 event, and again, found the top of the podium. I expected her to remain on the top of that podium for years to come, until she retired.
Our kindest regards to all her family and friends.
As we all deal with our grief over the passing of a vital young woman like Nicole, it is understandably difficult to focus on anything positive. As I recall watching her and the scores of other incredibly talented riders at several events this year, I remember the competitive intensity, the physical effort, and the selfless teamwork. But more than anything I remember the pure joy of racing that was so obvious in all of them. It was easy to see that the brutal travel, year-round training, and continual sacrifices meant nothing compared with that feeling.
Whether we are sponsors, coaches, racers, or just plain fans, we should all be thankful for the gift that these young women share with us. Even those of us who did not know Nicole well know of her gift and her joy.
On behalf of Team 800.COM, Peter Kukula and I would like to offer our most sincere condolences to Nicole's family and friends, the Saturn team, and all fans of cycling.
J. Alain Ferry
Alain Ferry, of Velospeed.com has set up a similar tribute page to Nicole Reinhart. In addition, if you care to send wishes to the family.
The Reinhart Family
A memorial fund has been established in the Reinhart's name. Contributions can be sent to:
Nicole L. Reinhart Memorial Fund
I am just sending this out to let everyone know that the Mercury Cycling team is in deep distress after the tragedy that we were forced to watch in Boston today. Unfortunately for most of us we were the witnesses of the tragedy first hand. For those of us who knew Nicole, we felt unable to even attempt to race today. We were happy that the BMC company decided to call off the men's race. Prior to that we decided to stand in solidarity with Team Saturn and not start at any cost.
This tragedy has shaken my resolve and at this point I am looking at retirement from cycling. I am unable to come to terms with what I saw, and I am only consoled by the fact that it was not one of my Mercury brothers. At this point, I cannot fathom losing one of the men that I have ridden and suffered with the past three years. I hope everyone in Nor Cal will have a thought for Nicole. This is truly not the way I wanted to see the season come to a close especially with the growth our team has had this fall.
Team Shaklee arrived at the race site around noon, and we got ready to race on the sidelines just past the finish line. We saw the women come through at 2 to go. The Saturn women had the race well in control, setting up Nicole Reinhart. If Nicole won, she'd collect $250,000 bonus for winning all 4 BMC events. At 1 to go, same thing: several attackers riding just seconds ahead of a Saturn led main group, now less than 20 women strong. We heard from women who had been dropped that the descent was fast and dangerous: there had been crashes on many laps. We finished our team meeting in time to watch the women's finish. Amazingly, Nicole was nowhere to be seen and the only Saturn woman in the first group shook her head grimly as she crossed the line. Tina Mayolo of AutoTrader.com won the sprint. 2 minutes later it was confirmed that Nicole had crashed on the descent.
I went to do a lap of the course with Seth Pelusi, Tim Johnson and Peter Wedge. Halfway down the descent, on a straight part of the road, we ran into a mess of emergency vehicles. I stopped at the far side of the road. Saturn rider Dede Demet-Barry was standing on the sidewalk crying, and hugging someone. Nicole was being lifted on a stretcher into the back of the ambulance. I couldn't see her face. Dede walked closer to Nicole and I'm sure she was pleading for everything to be OK. Never did I think that Nicole was even unconscious.
Sobered, I remounted and finished the descent. The men were lining up. The announcer Jeff Roake called Team Saturn and Mercury to the front line, but then paused in the usual pre race windup. A couple minutes later the announcement was made that the start was postponed until 1:45pm. No reason given. At 1:45 we weren't lining up yet. Rumors went around that Nicole wasn't breathing after the impact and had to be resuscitated. There was no news from the hospital.
Mercury director, John Wordin talked to some of the teams about doing a "ride" instead of a race, allowing Fraser to win and donating the $250,000 bonus and all prizemoney towards Nicole's hospital bills. None of us could conceive that it could be worse than just injuries and an expensive hospital bill. When the announcement came that she had died and the race was cancelled, everyone started packing up in dumbfounded silence. About 30 minutes later about 50 riders from the men's field and several cycling fans boarded their bikes, and we all followed the Saturn team car around in a lap of mourning. Uninformed groups of cheering residents lined the course. It was jarring to hear them whistle and clap.
Just before the tree, I think it was Bart Bowen of Saturn that suddenly swung off. Moments later he rejoined the group clutching a red flower. We all stopped at the tree in front of 83 Highland Ave. I didn't even know Nicole, but I cried when the Saturn boys pinned their numbers to that flower and placed it at the foot of the tree. I cried for one so young having been taken from her family, friends, and teammates. While the rest of us looked on with our helmets in our hands and heavy hearts, the Saturn boys formed a circle and linked arms. After a few minutes, we set off and completed the lap. Uncertain clapping awaited us at the finish line and the loudspeakers played a somber tune. Not much was said as we all packed up.
Today my wife Dawn had her first day off (in the last 2 weeks) from her veterinary internship. Despite having a severe cold and on the brink of total exhaustion, she came to watch the race. We had only known each other a few months when she came to watch me race the '94 Athens Twilight Criterium. In front of 25,000 screaming fans, my Coors Light teammates and I put on a real show and we were leading on the last lap when a drunk clambered over the barriers to step out right in front of us. My teammate Chris Huber hit the guy, and I went headfirst into the barrier at 50kph (30mph). I compressed two vertebrae in my middle back and suffered for months after that.
Dawn has been my greatest supporter since then despite having seen firsthand how dangerous this sport can be. I'm one of the most cautious riders in the peloton. I don't participate in the most insane field sprints, and am often reminding people that it isn't worth a $2000 trip to the hospital to win $100 for 8th place. Dawn knows I am careful and experienced. Then again, so is Frank McCormack but he fought for his life after a crash in Japan last year. She and I didn't say a word about it at dinner in Boston or on the way home.
This tragedy today has really taken the wind out of my sails. Now I know how difficult it must have been for the TdF peloton to continue after the death of Fabio Casartelli several years ago. It's really hard to say this right now, but I love this sport and this job. All of us who promote and participate in bike racing must redouble our efforts to mitigate the risks.
My prayers are with your family and friends, Nicole, and I know that you are in a beautiful place now...
I cannot believe this tragedy. I knew Nicole myself and saw her come up through the ranks at Trexlertown Velodrome since she was a young teenager. You have no idea how nice she was and how much people loved her. Everytime I saw her at a race, she would always smile at me and say hello. She would always talk to me if I saw her at a motel or in an elevator.
She was a beautiful person.
Joseph M. Papp
Having known Nicole Reinhart since we were Juniors first racing in Pennsylvania, I was horrified to learn of her death today at the BMC Software Grand Prix. While I barely saw Nicole this season, I fondly remember the time we spent racing on the Vandedrome and at the Pan Am Championships in Venezuela. She was the classiest of riders and her death is a terrible loss for us all.
As it was noted, Nicole got her start at bike racing, at the Lehigh Valley (Trexlertown, PA) Velodrome, known as the best track racing in the states. There, along the railing, spectators can bring bar stools and stake claim to great racing action each week during the summer. The next time I get to venture to the track, I hope that Nicole's parents will have a seat there for Nicole, as she will always be a part of the sport for me.
A paradox, she was fiercly competitive on the bike, yet was the most earthly of people off the bike. Besides her personality, she was intelligent, and it showed in her bike racing, with smart rides that made the most of her speed. I also saw a team player, which is why you'll not see or hear of a bad thing about this incredible person.
Thank you again for letting some of us let you know about her. I hope that some will search for the best in ourselves and our sport, just as she did.
I didn't know her, have only seen her race a few times, most recently winning the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. I guess what comes to mind is the frailty of life and the knowing that it can be gone at any moment. We all take the risk when we line up, the possibility of the crash is always part of the race, but I personally can't say that death has crossed my mind when racing, it just seems so remote. I have shed tears today over the death of someone I personally did not know but then felt as though I did and in the end I guess I had tears because most of the pictures I have seen of her.....she was smiling. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.. and Nicole.... God has her now
At 1:27 pm EST yesterday, Saturn rider Nicole Reinhart was pronounced dead as a result of multiple head trauma suffered in a crash at the BMC Tour of Boston. The how and why are best left for another time - for now, I'd just like to extend the sympathies of the entire 7 UP/Colorado Cyclist family to the Reinharts, and to Nicole's Saturn mates.
I was in Arlington when it happened, and it was just awful - when I heard the reports, I thought it was some horrible joke. I'm not alone in wishing that it had been. However, if there can be any sort of good to come out of such a tragic loss, I think I saw it yesterday. As the news circulated among the other racers, the petty bickering inherent in cycling stopped, to be replaced by, well, a sense of unity, of family. Riders who might not even speak to each other under different circumstances found themselves consoling one another- partly because of the realization that it could have happened to any of them, but mostly because they suddenly realized that, despite their differences of opinion, they were all united by a love of cycling....and that they'd lost one of their own.
So, if we want to truly pay tribute to Nicole, it won't be through memorial races or trust funds- it'll be through remembering that, despite our differences, we're all in this sport not in the hopes of being rich and famous, but because we love it. If we argue a little less and treat each other a little better, I can't think of a better way to honor Nicole.
I'm sitting in Portland, OR completely dumbfounded at Nicole's death. She taught me so much about life and loving. Her passion unsurpassed. Her goodness. Her fire. Her strength. An angel amongst us for too short a time. I think of the little silly things and I'm so confused. I've never felt a person glow the way she did. I am forever grateful for her in my life. Nicole, hats off. You've always amazed us all.
Love to the extended family (cycling community)
Since the news of Nicole's death I've exhausted myself with tears and questions. Rumaged through all the unspoken words between us and tried to place the fate of why. I find myself looking up. I think because the sky wanders into the biggest realm of the unknown and if I know Nicole is not here, feet on the ground, she's got to be there.
Its three a.m. September 20th, and I was just sitting on my front steps with my roommate. Sleepless and lost, looking up and the most phenomenal thing happened. It wasn't a shooting star but more like a falling planet, white hot as the moon with a firey tail and falling straight down to the earth for no less than 4 or 5 seconds until disappearing behind the trees. I looked at my roommate to see if I might have maybe been hallucinating in my pain, but he sat in the same amazement. She famously waved, smiled, and said hello.
Nicole is sprinting in the sky. Heaven. I had to share the beauty of her post card.
Dick and Terry Kelly
Nicole lived a huge life. She pursued it with grace, dignity and a burning passion for the thing she loved most. Her forever smile will shine in the hearts and minds of the lives she touched. Nicole's involvement in cycling has made it a better place. She not only was a gifted athlete - she was a loyal and loving friend to our daughter, Ryan. Nicole nursed her through a serious injury, helping her to get back up to speed. They laughed together in good times and bad and when they needed to talk, they cooked and shared amazing meals. The Reinharts are Ryan's extended family in T-Town and consistently shared their warmth and hospitality. We will always be grateful.
Nicole left us at the top of her game, a true champion on the verge of yet another breakthrough season. If only we could all say that about ourselves. She was a gift we should all treasure and a star that will continue to shine upon those still aspiring to reach her level. Pam and Mike, we can't begin to share your pain, as only a parent can know but we offer our love and support. Be comforted in the knowledge that Nicole is a hero who lives in the admiration and love of all who knew her. She will not be forgotten.
I woke up this morning in an unfamiliar hotel room in the dark, as I often do. And instead of blinking at the light creeping through the shades, wishing I was home in my own room and bed, I wished it were yesterday morning and I was still in Boston and that I had just awaken from only a bad dream. I went down to the lobby and waited for the shuttle that would take me home. And I tried to forget.
But I couldn't. I picked up the the USA Today and flipped through it, trying to forget. And there it was. That smile. Her smile. So bright , that even though it was a small picture, it leapt great heights and filled me, as it always did in person, with happiness.
We'll miss you.
To the family, friends, and teammates of Nicole Reinhart: My teammates and I wish to offer our deepest sympathies, thoughts, and prayers upon Nicole's tragic death. As the members of the cycling community may recall, our teammate, Carl Zach, was killed in a race earlier this summer. Hardly a day goes by that images of his accident don't still haunt me. No doubt you are all in a state of shock and disbelief. There's simply no way to make sense of the death of someone so young and healthy, especially when it occurs while doing what he or she loved so dearly.
Although I never met Nicole, I've seen her race, and the bond that she and her teammates shared was obvious. It will be strange riding without her, but I encourage you to continue, both for your own sakes and for the sake of her memory. I'm sure she would want it that way. May she and Carl both ride with the angels.
I just finished hearing of Nicole's tragic death from the New Mexico bike-racing mail group and consequently from the link to cyclingnews.com. I am sitting here in my office with tears in my eyes and distraught with grief from the news.
I met Nicole back in the mid-90's when she was just turning senior from a brilliant junior career. I did not know many of the racers on the national team and she was always a friendly and happy person, willing to spend a few moments chatting and wanting to talk about her day's ride, training, or just home, friends, and family. She was an incredibly hard worker, often having to be told to rest and do LESS than what she was doing. I remembered how that motivated me to work HARDER. She was an inspiration. I remember her very well and how she made my experience on the national team in 1995 pleasant. I (unbelievably to me!) won a gold medal in the '95 Pan Am Games; upon returning home, guess who asked me the most questions about it? I knew she was a special cyclist and person.
I lost contact with Nicole after all but leaving elite cycling in '97. I began to get news of Nicole's success and I remembered how that brightened my day. My thoughts were that it couldn't have happened to a better person. Cycling is a great sport, and it was made greater by Nicole's presence.
My rides after work will be spent remembering her for a while. The news of her death has traveled quite far now and has an effect on anyone who has ever known her, or even known of her.
If there is anything I can do for her family or in her memory, I'd like to know. I also appreciate cyclingnews.com for the kind words and information on this tragic occurrence.
Kiersten, Chris, Douglas and MaryAnne Johnson
Nicole and I grew up in the same town, went to the same high school, and progressed through the same developmental cycling program at T-Town.
We trained together, competed together as juniors. After we parted ways for several years, she to the pro circuit, I to the books, it meant so much to me to ride with her again in 1999 and 2000. I will never forget the 1999 points race Nationals, in which Nicole, Jeanne Farrell and I rode around the top of our home track together - it felt like old times when we were juniors, when racing our bikes at T-Town was the purest of fun.
It never occurred to me that it could be one of the last memories I would have of Nicole to cherish.
Nicole's sweet disposition, her infinite toughness, and the sparkling brightness of her heart, mind and spirit will never fade - not from my memory, nor from the memory of anyone fortunate enough to have known her.
Nicole, sprinter-girl with the big brown eyes, little toughie, sweetheart: we love you, and you will always stay where have always been... in the warmest place in our hearts.
I met Nicole at a race in 1999 - she was the winner. She took the time to speak with me and a really appreciated it. She was a very talented, nice young woman. We will miss her greatly.
Nicole and her team mates came to our crit this summer in Syracuse. As the announcer I read her bio and was amazed at her accomplishments. Nicole won our race handily and was the racer who most impressed our local Saturn sponsor [Patti Vinceguerra] because she took it upon herself to spend time with all the 'kid racers" I got to shake her hand, wish her good luck,and invite her back .Our sponsor had said 'I want Nicole back next year"
It was Patti who just called me to tell me that cycling has just lost a friend.
Jenna Loyd & Jason Salkind
The loss of Nicole Reinhart from our world is still unbelievable. One realizes that the future one didn't even know one expected will now be totally different. And in part because Nicole was such a bright part of that future. I recall Fitchburg Longsjo this year. It was the final lap of the road race, the final heated climb and Nicole quietly encouraged me, "Great job hanging in there!" With all the attention that one has to devote to getting up that last hill, Nicole still had something extra to offer someone else. And this is but one of the tiniest yet most meaningful ways in which Nicole has touched our lives.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Nicole. She will be greatly missed by us and the entire cycling community here; Nicole will not be soon forgotten.
To Friends and Family of Nicole Reinhart,
When I read about the tragedy of Nicole's death on Cyclingnews I felt a twinge of pain, but when I saw the pictures of her and read the first hand account of her death tears began to well in my eyes. This shouldn't happen to someone so young and beautiful, but it did. Her smile tells all a lot about her, happy, kind, friendly and enjoying what she was doing. My heart goes out too her family, friends, and teammates. The sport of cycling has lost one of it's best. As a father of an 18 year old daughter, a cyclist and a complete stranger let me say, though it brings little comfort, how sorry I am.
Words can't come close to expressing my sorrow.
I am sorry. Winter is early this year. I froze for several minutes after the icy words first met my eyes. It was a slow shock. I couldn't fathom... I still can't describe the slow derailment and sinking feeling. It took some time for the reality to unrefutably reveal it's ugliness.
It was the many smiles and hellos at the velodrome that brought my tears. The track will be a colder place for me...
Mike Creed, Sr., Michael Creed Jr.
Nicole Reinhart's death came as a great shock to all of us here in Colorado and to a group of young American cyclists in Belgium that learned of the tragedy via the internet. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Reinhart's family. Our cycling community is a very close knit group, we may not always agree with each other, but when a tragedy of this magnitude happens it becomes apparent what we all share in our hearts, the love of a sport that can be so hard and yet potentially tragic.
Life is fragile and Nicole lived it to the fullest and was well aware of risks. She died doing what she loved best... racing her bike. Most of us if we had the choice would probably choose to go out doing something we had such a passion for, but for someone so young and full of life it is very difficult for all of us to understand or accept. Having known Nicole and her family for years and her stay as a guest in our home makes it even more difficult for us to accept. Nicole was one of the most talented, fun-loving, and caring persons we have ever known.
Honor Nicole everyday by embracing life and family as much as she would day in and day out. When you go out the next few days on your bike, as hard as it may be think of Nicole, not in sadness, but in joy. The sunshine, fresh air and the feel of being out on your bike is what Nicole enjoyed so much, and remember that Nicole is with all of us everyday. We will miss you Nicole, God be with you.
I live in Arlington, about a kilometer from what was the start/finish area. As an amateur racer myself, I was so excited to have the big names in US professional cycling coming to my town for a race, as were all the other racers I know in this town and in the area. We had been talking about it often ever since the course was announced earlier this summer.
I regularly do hill repeats on the hill that was used for the course. It's well known in the local area and people come from miles around to beat themselves up on that hill. There are many ways to get to the top where the QOM spot was. When I do repeats, I generally go up the hill against the direction of the BMC course. I go through the intersection where Nicole made her last turn and continue up to the QOM spot. The area right after that turn is quite steep. I'm guessing 10 to 12% for about 30 or 40 meters and then it gets easier for the remaining 300 meters as you approach the top and the QOM.
After my repeats are done, I go down the hill in the direction of the course, make a left turn (just as the course does) and continue down Highland Avenue, through the turn that Nicole would have made in another few seconds, to the main road and home. You can imagine that Nicole's group had a good amount of speed going into the first turn due to the hill and then they continued to blast away on the slight downhill leading up to the next turn. The turn that she didn't get to.
I go past the location where she crashed and that damn tree often but of course it never meant anything to me. It was just another piece of lawn and just another small tree on a street with fifty lawns and probably one hundred trees. Until yesterday afternoon. I don't think I'll ever be able to ignore that portion of the road again.
In light of all this, several of us here have been thinking about why we race. We're not professionals. We don't get paid to do it. We don't get paid to take chances. We're out there to have some good clean fun and we have to go to work on Monday morning. It could happen to any of us in a blink of an eye. God, this makes you think a lot about why you race.
There is some talk of organizing a memorial ride within my club. Maybe get some people from some of the other local clubs too. Go up the hill to the QOM, stop at the spot, come down. Perhaps this Saturday.
I have watched Nicole at T-Town, grow from a junior to one of the few riders who's presence radiated beyond the track. If only we could all embody her combination of grace and tenacity.
When you met Nicole Reinhart, you where struck by her readiness to talk about the things that mattered, no matter how big or small. I had the pleasure of catching her just prior to the women's race at the Chris Thater Memorial, last month. She was about to go one-on-one with a female national champion in-line speed skater, all out in a 400-yard dash. Nicole of course was thrilled to lend her name and sprinting expertise to an event with a good cause. We talked about her not making the Olympic team, a slight it may have been, but as Nicole shrugged and said "it may have been political. I'm happy for those who made the team. I have four more years to prove myself."
You see, like many of the cyclist's to come out the ranks of the Lehigh Valley Velodrome cycling community, Nicole had eleven national championships to her name. But, that was on the track. The road needed more time, more miles, more victories. I had photographed the Junior Nationals here at the Velodrome and was witness to her brother Tim and his transformation into a powerful sprinting force. Nicole beamed with pride at the thought that Tim could give another Lehigh Valley resident, Marty Nothstein, and a sprint for his money. Collectively, the mood at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome offices was one of a heavy heart today.
As Pat McDonough, the head of Lehigh Valley Velodrome put it "Nicole was a unique combination of a person who didn't put themselves first. A rarity for an athlete these days". One of Nicole's last acts of kindness was to donate her organs, so that another human being could be afforded the gift of life. Plans are being made to establish a memorial fund in her name. A memorial service will likely be held at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome at the end of this week.
I was devastated to hear the news of Nic's death and I am still struggling to come to terms with it. By spending many seasons in North America and at T-Town I was one of the fortunate ones to have known Nic and watch her develop into a brilliant cyclist. I still sit here in amazement as I recall the way in which she used to race and the way she could handle her bike in the tightest situations.
But it's not the loss of a great cyclist that is so upsetting to me, it's the loss of the most beautiful person. I will always remember Nic for her warm, friendly smile and great personality, its these memories that will remain with me for a lifetime.
My thoughts are with her Family right now and I can barely comprehend what a feeling of loss they must be going through. I hope that they can take strength in the knowledge that their Daughter's beautiful nature touched many people.
Rest Peacefully Nic.
The tragedy that struck the cycling community as well as Nicole's family is still unbelievable to me. It seems so unreal, as though it is all a bad dream. For how could something this horrific happen in real life. The reality of it all is sinking in slowely, through flashes of her smiling face and laugh which make me smile, then followed by the realization that I will only have memories of her smile and the sadness that overcomes me crushes me into tears. Still after days it is just so unbelievable. It really hits me hardest when I think that it could've just as easily happened to one of my riders, not to say that it is better the way it is now, but the reality just hits harder.
One of my riders did in fact go down in the early crash and had to be taken to the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital to pick her up I heard about the severity of Nicole's crash. All I could do was hug my rider being so glad that she was ok and not more seriously hurt. Sometimes we forget that life is so precious. It is a shame that it takes such a tragedy to make us realize it.
I too was, and still am, touched by Nicole's drive for competition while maintaining such a glow of warmth off the bike. Everyone who knew, and even ones who did not know Nicole, are shaken to their core with the realization that such a fine person has left us. Nicole will be deaply missed in the peleton and in the group rides for years to come. Nicole had such an appreciation for life, I wish everyone could have met her to experience the glow we talk about. Nicole was one of those people that no matter your mood, a flash of her smile would warm your soul and let you know that everything will work out.
I for one will never forget this wonderfull woman. Eventhough our times together were short, she will always have a place in my heart and my memories. I wish to God I could hear her laugh and see her smile for one more time. I know Nicole is in a better place right now, I just want her to know how much she's meant to so many of us. You will be forever missed. And forever loved.
I woke up tired Monday morning to a ringing phone, it was a friend asking if I knew what had happened to Nicole - I didn't. He said he thought she had died. I hoped he was wrong, but how could he have been? Who could've spread a rumor like that if it wasn't true?
I grew up racing with Nicole at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome and we were teammates throughout our junior years in the Future Champions Cycling Club. She was always a special rider and a special person - everyone who knew her knows that, but that is generic talk and Nicole deserves better than that. Nicole was the star. You suspected it before you even saw her ride, pony-tail bobbing in time with her pedal stroke. It was in the ease of her gait, in the sincerity of her smile and in her eyes - eyes that somehow allowed you to believe that you were a star too as you looked into them.
By knowing Nicole you were always privvy to the benefits of her aura. I'll never forget being the envy of my Jr. National teammates at Redlands in '95 when I got a hug from her before the start of the Lake Perris Circuit Race. To them she was somebody important and that gesture was something special. They were right, but that was just Nicole. It was just Nicole too, who told me once as an awkward junior, "Don't ever change Joey, I like you just like you are." Those words from the great Nicole Reinhart . . . I think the fact that I can repeat them verbatim over six years later speaks for the significance they held over me at the time.
The last time I saw her was at Fitchburg this year in the parking lot of the Motel 6. It had been a while since I had seen her and I contemplated mentioning to her how much those words of hers had meant to me as a gangly youth. Regretfully, I did not. Instead I talked to her in the familiar way - updating her on my latest insignificant results and my plans to race in Europe and all the while allowing those brown eyes to convince me that there were two stars standing in that parking lot when really, there was only one.
It just doesn't feel right that it took something of this magnitude for me to finally get in contact with Nicole's family. When I used to live in Trexlertown, Nicole's family took me in and her little brother was like a pesky little brother to me. We are practically the same age; Nicole was five months older than me. It drains me to think that this vivacious, cheerful girl is no longer among us. For those who knew her, we are better off. To be a good child, one usually has incredible parents and it was so true in this case. Mr. and Mrs. Reinhart did a tremendous job in raising two excellent bike racers whose talents were only overshadowed by their character. My deepest sympathies go to Nicole's younger brother and her parents. May her warmth provide some solace in these darkest of days.
It has taken me all day and much of the night to finally sit down and write something about this. I, like most, have been at such a loss. I worked for the Saturn Cycling Team from '97 through '99 and as a result with Nicole during my last season.
I remember how she came into training camp in January '99 like a bright ray of sunshine on a dreary day. Each new person she met during that time she treated with great interest, respect, and kindness. Here she was, the new kid on the block, and yet everyone was drawn to her. From management, to staff, to riders, all were inexplicably drawn to her positive demeanor, her care, her friendliness.
I remember many, many good times with Nicole. Bright golden nuggets of time spent in a hectic lifestyle on the road. In Killington that year I drove the team car in the women's caravan while Nicole battled a course not entirely suited to her talents. She was dropped (although not badly, but just bad enough) on the Brandon Gap climb and as I went around her and offered encouragement and a bottle she said, "stretch that caravan, Brian, I'm serious!!"
She had every intention of clawing her way back to the field, you see, and knew that if she made it over the top with the caravan that she stood a chance. It was not to be on this day, and she rode the rest of the stage alone, with only one bottle as I was really busy much farther up the road. After waiting for her at the finish of the stage at the top of Killington Moutain, I apologized for leaving her alone out there with so little to drink with so far to go. It had bothered me the entire race.
"Oh," she said having apparently not thought anything of it, "it's OK, Brian, I know you were busy." Then, as she turned to ride back to the hotel she whimsically said, "You know Brian, one day I'm gonna learn how to climb these hills!!" I certainly wish she hadn't learned how to climb as well as she did, and being a sprinter in a crit happy country she really didn't HAVE to, but it certainly wasn't in her character to not try.
Earlier this year I swung through Redlands on vacation to say hi to the Saturn gang. I missed the women's race and was upset because I wanted to say hi to Nicole, even if for just a moment. I finally caught up with her at the team hotel the next morning as the they were packing up to head up the coast. "Hi skinny," she said brightly when she spotted me, and got up on obviously achy legs to give me a big hug. It was a small gesture but one with a lot of meaning for I realize now how she had the ability to make whomever she was greeting or talking to feel like the most important person to her at that time. She didn't have to get up off that curb to greet me the way she did, but once again I don't think it was in her character not to.
Nicole was a bright, bright light burning for much too short a time. She was a jewel to be cherished. I am so thankful to have met her, interacted with her, known her, laughed with her, learned from her.
My deepest sympathies to her family, her loved ones, her teammates, her friends, and all those that were touched by this angel in some way.
Ben and Meredith
Disbelief, bewilderment, shock, denial, and deep, heart-felt pain. Those are the feelings that immediately coursed throughout my body after reading the news of Nicole's tragic death.
I remember the first time that I talked to Nicole was earlier this year when I rode with her and her friend, Jenny Reed, here in Oakland. Riding with a professional female cyclist was certainly a bit intimidating for me at first, but Nicole's sweet demeanor and wonderful personality quickly put me at ease. Over the course of the year I was fortunate enough to ride with Nicole several more times around the East Bay and also got to talk with her a bit more at the races. I will certainly miss her beautiful smile, her graciousness, and her gracefulness on the bike.
My heart goes out to the Reinharts, the Eisentrauts, and all those who were touched by her presence. In the world of athletics, the cycling community is a small one and we all will dearly miss Nicole. Her spirit and energy will certainly live on.
Being the camerabike driver for many professional races, including some of the BMC races, I was shocked and saddened to here of her death. She was an incredible rider who counted on to be a contender at the finish. My deepest sympathies to her family, friends and team mates. She will be missed.
Michael Barry, Saturn
In the last three years I have had the opportunity to hang out with my wife, Dede, and the Saturn girls while at the races and on the road. During that time I learned a lot from them and their motivation, dedication and team spirit inspired me and many of the guys. We looked up to them as they are an incredible group of girls with an intense fire of passion burning inside.
Nicole was a spark inside this fire. She was an ebullient star whose warmth and light shone on each and every member of the Saturn Team and cycling community. She was always up and happy.
This spring we were put up in host housing while in California. It was raining and cold and the early season racing was tiring but each morning Nicole was up and smiling, ready to tackle the day with effervescence.
Her smile touched millions of people and will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. And when I look up in the sky and see the stars I know that the one shining brightest is the one she has lit.
Thank you Nicole for bringing such positivity to my life, our team, our sport and to this world. Your smile has lifted us all.
Dede Demet Barry, Saturn
On September 17, 2000 Nicole Reinhart went out like a shooting star. She was pursuing her dreams in the sport she loved. She was going for one of the biggest wins of her career. She was more fit and better prepared than I had ever seen her. Her energy was emanating from the time she awoke with a big smile to the final moments in Arlington as she was racing like a champ. Nicole's last hours are some of the best I ever experienced with her.
Nicole was a passionate person. She joined Team Saturn in 1999 and it was at this time I really got to know her. From the first day of training camp she was like a wide-eyed kid in a candy shop loving every moment of each experience. Her radiant smile would light up every room she walked into. She had fire and drive on the bike and a relaxed demeanor off the bike. She was sweet to everyone and her presence has always given me a warm feeling.
Nicole had many successes on the track before becoming a road sprinter on Team Saturn. When she first joined Saturn she was insecure about her abilities on the road; but, driven by the new challenges she would face. Her nerves were trembling in our first race of the ‘99 season when she was to be the designated sprinter. She had been used to pursuing wins on her own and not having the pressure of the whole team behind her. She was timid and seemed scared, but we all believed in her abilities. It took a few races before we were all able to click, but the confidence of the team finally carried over to her and with her abundance of talent, in two years she was able to mature into one of the best road sprinters in the United States.
Nicole has touched the hearts of thousands of people around the world through her performances on the bike and she has been an inspiration to all of us who had the opportunity to get to know her.
Nicole pursued everything with all her heart. She always gave her best effort. I feel fortunate to have been a part of some of her finest moments in sport. In Arlington, Nicole was very close to accomplishing a goal she had strived for all year. Everything was on track for another win. I could hear the confidence and excitement in her voice as she spoke to us in the radios throughout the race. She was totally in control. She exuded her style and grace even in her final moments as she went out like a shooting star, but her spirit will remain in the hearts and minds of each and every one of us and her spectacular smile will never fade away.
It is late, and here I lie trying to fathom the last two days. I am in disbelief. Things like this are not supposed to happen in North America. People are just not supposed to die while racing. It was so unexpected, we wear helmets, and it is not like we were descending the Alps of Europe. Why?
Sunday's race was supposed to be for two fabulous riders, Nicole, and Gord, to show their stuff. Relatives gathered prepared for a celebration...How could this happen? I keep replaying the race in my head.
What if there had been hay? What if the race had finished on the climb? What if the course had not been changed? I wished that when Nicole crashed with me earlier in the race that she had stayed with me why?
None of my questions or thoughts can change anything. The end result is final. It could have been any of us. Having this happen in the women's pelaton, and in North America has really hit home.
My heart truly goes out to every Saturn rider, and family member. I could not imagine seeing one of my own mates laying there. I could not imagine this ever happening to any rider. Oh my god, it is just so shocking and hard to absorb.
I did not know Nicole well, she was a fellow rider who always wore a smile, our conversations always upbeat and pleasant. Her death is tragic. I cannot think of a single thought or thing that will make this empty feeling in my heart go away. I pray that her smile, bright and beautiful, will last forever.
I would like to send my deepest condolences on behalf of the whole Elita squad.
Our revels now are ended. These, our actors,
The Tempest, Act IV, Scene i.
Truly, there are no words to describe the emotion that stirs when news of the death of a fellow cyclist reaches me. The breath left my body and time lost relevance as I read of the details of Nicole's death. The power and strength of emotion that lies beneath the surface of our sport rose up in me, and displaced all temporal knowledge, leaving me instead empty, and without reference as the words that described her passed beneath my eyes.
I am simply stunned.
But then, out of this tragedy, BMC makes the extraordinary gesture of donating the prize money to fund a foundation to help up and coming cyclist, to continue Nicole's legacy with a new generation. This show of support will help to mind the cycling community together in the face of this loss, and will, in her memory, seek to spread the joy of her name, her style, her grace and her intelligence, to legions of new riders.
While I did not know her, I have felt the harsh bite of the pavement, and I have known the still, stale air of the emergency room in a bloodied state of semi-consciousness. While teetering there on the brink between life and death, lost in the gray haze we find in our own minds in those lost moments, where all cyclists someday seem destined to find themselves, most often, we pull back.
So when we hear of that one cyclist who could not pull back out of the haze, who got lost and wandered over the border never to return, we can all feel that. We all share in that moment. For once you have confronted those barriers within yourself, it simply not possible to sit passively by and regard the passing of life with a bare animal curiosity. We are participants in this drama, and as it unfolds all of our lives are bound up in its twists and turns, carried on the wave of emotion, and, as has happened here, left stranded on some high, dry place, eyes seared with tears, circled in dust and doubt, seemingly alone.
That is why I cried when I read of the fund for young cyclists. She did not pass in vain, she will live on, she will continue to inspire. Thank you to BMC, thank you to everyone that has written and will write, thank you to all those who have felt and heard and shared in this outpouring of emotion in this time of struggle, you have provided a raft, a guide, a signpost in the wilderness to pull us from tragedy and lead us toward redemption. That is why, despite the insubstantial nature of this little life, Nicole in passing leaves behind a legacy that will, in coming years, spread to the beyond the confines of our insubstantial pageant, and enrich us all with the memory of her joy and passion.
When I received the call on Sunday I could not believe the news that something like this could happen. Every weekend we line up looking forward to the challenge ahead, laughing and joking with our friends. Maybe we only see them on weekends, but we expect to see them every weekend from March till September. We take it for granted. In nine years of racing I never once thought about a tragedy like this occurring to myself, teamates or friends. At times we all get a little too serious about the sport and say or do things that we later regret. We all must remember that it is a sport and we ride and race because we love to compete. Cycling makes us feel alive. Nicole loved the sport of cycling, which was obvious by her smile while competing. She was living her passion; her dream. Hopefully we can all take some comfort in that she was doing what she most enjoyed; and most likely she was smiling.
The frailty of life hit me when I got home from work on Monday, looked into my mailbox and picked up my copy of "The Ride" magazine. I look forward to the magazine due to the local flavor, but on the cover was a headline referring to Nicole. This was obviously a pre Arlington Race article which made it all the worse. It took me a while to pick up the magazine and read the article. While reading the article it was haunting to read about how she looked forward to this race, the off season and spending time in California. Then the tribute during the Olympic cycling events was broadcast which confirmed how she was loved and well respected in life and the cycling community.
We have all lost a wonderful person but let us take away her love for the sport of cycling and life and apply that to our lives.
On behalf of the Target-ICE Cycling Team we express our deepest sympathies to Nicole's family and friends.
Sandra,Johnny & Brice Jones
To Nicole's Parents,
We visited with Nicole in Downers Grove, just as we did each time we saw her at a cycling event. You raised such a wonderful, friendly young woman. As a parent of a child who has grown up on a bike I understand how deeply cycling has been a part of your lives. I know that you all were more excited and happier over Nicole's victories and successes that she was, and you also felt the pain more deeply than she did when she had a bad day.
She was happy and loved what she was doing. Her life was in the fast lane pushing the envelope. Realize that you did not hold her back, you let her soar! She saw the world and had friends everywhere.
We are so sad and I am thinking of her constantly, as cycling is our life also. Brice called from Belgium as soon as he heard and could not believe she was gone. They were good friends, having spent time in the track program together. He has gone down a few times this year, the last time in a sprint, but the desire to race is still there. Nicole would not want all of her friends fires to go out. She would want them to continue to race to the best of their abilities.
She will always be in our hearts!
My love goes to you and your family in darkness and lightness of times. Your passion lives within me...
I really don't know what to say. This is so hard to take in. My thoughts and Prayers go out to the Reinhart family. Having raced in Trexlertown several years myself I always remember the Reinhart family being there for each other. I don't believe there could be a closer family. Which makes it all that much more grieving. I can't comprehend what they are going through. I know that for myself I will always be thankful that I had the chance to know Nicole. She always brightened up my day even if just to say hello or make small conversation. It was a amazing to see someone with so much talent, and work ethic, rise to the top of her sport.
I know that in Trexlertown it was a very close community and she touched many people, the extent to which we can never know. She well always be remebered by myself and everyone that knew her.
My deepest condolences to her family, the Saturn Cycling team, and the U.S cycling community.
Nicole Reinhart. My coach Phil called me with the news, and it made me drop to the floor instantly. I had just called her and left a message the other day... We were finally going to get to ride together now that our seasons were finishing up...we had been planning on riding over to Half Moon Bay and down the coast for the longest time as a sort of "end of season finale."
I'm still going on that ride. Nothing could keep me from it. It will mean more to me now than ever before.
East Side Wheelmen
We will all miss her.
East Side Wheelmen & Cody Racing Present the 2000 Masters District Track Championships. In memory of Nicole Reinhart (June 3, 1976 - September 17, 2000). http://www.colorado-velodrome.org/
Nicole was a great athlete and role model for women in our sport. She was fierce and competitive on her bike, yet genuine and down to earth. She was always friendly and kind. She never looked down at cyclists who were not at her level of skill. Her words were always encouraging, never demeaning. Nicole was a real stand up gal in my book. She was exactly the type of person I respect and admire as an athlete and human being.
Even though she would never tell me what gear she used in the 200m on the track, she has always had my utmost respect as a competitor who modeled decorum in women's sports. She will be missed by all those whose path she came across.
To Nicole and her family; take comfort in knowing the impact you have had on people and how wonderful a person your daughter is in our memory.
I remember Nicole's first Tuesday night at T-Town. She was a skinny little kid that was so excited she vibrated. No one knew that for years after, the rest of us would vibrate when she raced. She was electric, she truly loved to race and it infected everyone around her.
Over the next few years I watched her play hockey and run track and of course ride. She did it all with a delightful obvious joy. But racing her bike was what she liked best. Notice I said racing - she wasn't always thrilled about training back then. I remember telling my son Matt to force her to finish the hilly training rides. Matt and the other boys in the FCCC would pull Nicole up the hills by grabbing her saddle and dragging her up the hills so she could maintain contact with the pack.
Nicole started to win National Championships after her first year of racing and she began to get offers from other teams, teams that could offer more support than FCCC. Even though she became a hot commodity and wore other team's colors, Nicole always kept her ties to FCCC. She was one of the T-Town kids and very proud of it.
By the time she was 16 she was winning everything, representing us at Junior Worlds and travelling alot. She always came home with eyes full of wonder and stories to tell. The great thing was that she never changed. She was still that little girl who loved to race.
I remember times when she did things that amazed herself. Like the first time she won a Friday night Miss and Out. We had talked about a strategy and when she made it work she was amazed.
I remember the early spring training session on the track when she crashed and skinned her back the day before her prom. She had a backless dress that showed a big patch of road rash.
She often came to my office and we'd talk about her future. She wanted to go to college but the racing didn't alllow her the time to really do it full time. I remember when she deciced to sign with Saturn and become a roadie full time. We laughed together about her love of hills when she was a kid.
I remember that when she would return to T-Town she still seemed to know all the kids, and she always had time to talk to them.
Mostly I remember that she never changed from that wonderful little girl though she had matured into a woman, a very special woman. It was very easy to love Nicole because you were sure she loved you back. She loved her family and her friends and her sport. We are all diminished by her passing and blessed to have been in her life.
I always called her Nickle, goodby Nickle, I love you.
As I read through various cycling related web sites today, I learned of the tragic death of Nicole Reinhart. I had never met her and had only heard of her in passing a few times. As I continued to read, especially letters by those who did know her, I found myself moved to tears. The cycling community has lost a bright and shining light that cannot be replaced.
This random, senseless accident could have happened to anyone in the field and leaves you dumbfounded. How could it have been prevented? It makes you want to do SOMETHING. But what? For myself, a vow: To never give up this sport that I love, to savor every moment of every ride no matter how painful, to take the emotion I felt today and channel it into my cycling. Nicole can't race anymore, I will race for her. watch out.
The Staff at Gita North, Canada
Our deepest sympathies to the Reinhart family. Our prayers are with you.
A very deep, shocking to loss the cycling world, I send my deepest condolences to the Reinhart family. I am a fairly new fan of road cycle racing, and Nicole Reinhart was the winner of the first professional road race I've ever seen which was here in my home city of San Jose, California. It was an exciting race, Nicole was a talented, fantastic and spirited athlete, and from these attributes that I saw in her as a racer that day, it shined through that she was a genuinly spirited, kind and fun loving person as well. This photo I took of Nicole as she crossed the finish line as the winner of the BMC Grand Prix of San Jose held in June of this year.
As a parent and a member of the cycling family and having lost a loved one I know that there is little consolation in words. I hold to the hope that "we" will be reunited in the future.
I was there in Arlington sharing space with Pam and Mike Reinhart at the Start/Finish, screaming and cheering and acting silly. We bonded instantly because we shared something very unique - we were parents of Saturn Women. And I will be forever bonded to the Reinharts because I shared the last two hours of their beautiful daughter's life with them. Nicole inherited her grace, charm and personality from those two incredible people. They were so proud of their daughter. They would drive 8 or 9 hours just to see her ride a two hour crit.
When Nicole crashed early in the race, their demeanor did not change for a second because they knew her team would get her back in the winning pack and they knew she still could pull it off. And when they announced that she had taken the lead coming up the last hill we all cheered ourselves hoarse.
But when she didn't cross the finish line first, we all became silent. When they said Saturn riders were down, we froze. Pam and Mike left when they said Nicole had crashed. Mike was confident that Nicole would be fine. I waited...and waited...for my daughter, Julie Hanson, to cross that finish line. She didn't come...and didn't come. I heard sirens.
Finally a Saturn car pulled up delivering a sobbing Julie into my arms. "Mom - it's really bad. She was like a sister to me." Julie sat on the curb and sobbed for 10 minutes. When I knew Julie was okay, all I could think about was that other mother, Pam Reinhart. Saturn's Andy took Julie to the hospital - we followed. When we got there Julie was waiting outside the emergency room. She said "she didn't make it." I have not been the same since I heard those words. I cannot shake this gloom that has engulfed me. I heard Mike Reinhart, Nicole's father, offer the most beautiful prayer in the presence of the Saturn team and staff. I heard him encourage those sobbing, grief struck cyclists to press on. How does one do that?
Nicole was mature beyond her years. She loved life and everyone around her. She crossed generations in her ability to exude warmth. She played peek-a-boo with my 18 month old granddaughter and charmed my 80 year old mother. Nicole was an outstanding cyclist but more than that, she was an outstanding woman. There is a void in the hearts of all those who knew her. My heart aches for her family and friends.
After many years of reading about Nicole in USA Cycling, VeloNews, and other cycling pubs, I was always a big fan for Nicole's. Upon reading in the Velonews she was contracted by the Saturn Cycling team, I felt this was going to be the one to watch grow and flourish into a seasoned professional and she did just that.
I was on vacation in Las Vegas Nevada upon hearing the tragic news about Nicole, I was completely stunned, I had to sit down on my hotel bed. I could not move for at least an hour.
To Reinhart family, my deepest sympathy, Prayers go out to you I feel your pain I just recently lost my mom so I know your pain. Nicole is forever etched in the memory of all who have come to know her. When you're feeling down look to the fond memories of Nicole, fun times during her childhood, the laughter the jokes, all of those good times you've had with her those are the things that will help ease some of the pain.
To the Saturn Team, I also want express my deepest sympathy, and Prayers, you've lost more than just team mate, but a sister also. We did not lose Nicole but she has become an example for so many of us to smile more and enjoy life. Nicole's beautiful smile and bubbly personality is forever engraved in our hearts, our minds, and our spirits, She's a star that will shine forever burning brightly.
Judy and Dave Miller
I will always remember Nicole with the great smile on her face and her competitiveness. From the time when she was racing as a little girl on Tuesday nights at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, to watching her in the BMC races, I will always remember her smile. She would see me walking toward her and she always had time to say "hello Mr. Miller." Our small talk before the race now becomes only a memory, but one that I will always remember.
As Nicole advanced in her level of racing I officiated at more and more of her races. I was officiating during the tragic race Sunday, but I will always remember the tough and determined look she had that day. The look was the same as the one in the early days of racing, with just some age added on. Judy and I will always miss you. When the next little girl comes to the velodrome for the first time, we can always tell her about "Nicole" and what she did while starting on tuesday nights.
It has taken me a few days to finally get a clearer head following the tragic news about Nicole. I heard about it approximately one hour after the accident had occurred. Via cell phone, my very shaken wife gave me a call from the race site. She called to let me know that physically she was O.K., and she had just pulled off one of her best finishes of the year. But mentally, that was a different story! I too was shaken because of the reality that Caren was just to the side and back of Nicole, and unfortunately got to witness the whole event first hand. She is telling me that even days later, she is still having nightmares about the incident.
This whole event is hard to understand and imagine, and even harder to believe. Unfortunately we cannot do anything to turn back the clock, and erase this event from happening. If we could, god knows that we would! But with the time that we spent around Nicole, we feel that we were very lucky. She left us all too soon with some fun and lasting memories. Those are what I will try to remember about her. I will always remember her smile and funny sense of humor. Such a humble and talented athlete.
At Manhattan Beach G.P. this year, as Caren, Pam Schuster, and Nicole were standing on the podium, with all eyes on them. Pam was giggling and joking about how slow that her sprint was. Saying that she had to start her sprint with half a mile to go so that she could still see Caren and Nicole at the finish line! Caren commented that "I gave Nicole ten feet, and she took a mile!".
Nicole would just listen, smile and graciously blow off the compliments. She was confident, but never rubbed it in anyone's face. The three of them were standing on the podium, flowers were handed to Nicole, and the crowd was quiet listening to the announcer. Then, after the pictures were taken, the race people hand Nicole the winner's jersey for her to put on. She begins to oblige. She is fumbling with her huge bouquet of roses, all eyes on her as she desperately tries to put on this darn jersey.
As she gets the thing almost on, in complete silence of the crowd, cameras clicking, news cameras rolling film for later broadcast, the announcer begins talking once again. But this time he is not talking about the women's race any longer, but has moved on to start announcing the men's pro race. Nicole, now three quarters flustered with this jersey, the time pressure and everyone watching, all added to the obvious change in the announcers attention, says with this soft, sweet voice and smile, "I guess we have overstayed our welcome girls!".
Nothing more than an innocent statement from a very wonderful girl. I am going to miss seeing her at the races, and being able to tell Caren to "grab Nicole's wheel, she will take you to the front!" The world has lost a really cool person and unique friend.
God speed Nicole
Nicole Reinhart lived a life that is a gift to many. I first met Nicole when she took time out of her busy National team schedule to give a talk to inspire our club of Junior riders. It was really a special thing to have a person that had won so many races and National championships to take an interest in these young riders. Nicole will be sorely missed because she was not only a Champion of Cycling but a Champion of Life. She saved her competitiveness for when she was on the bike.
Today there are a lot of good athletes, but athletes that carry themselves with grace at the same time are a rare breed. Nicole was always outgoing and ready to say hi and ask how I was doing, She always made others feel important too. I thank her for her good example she gave to us and willinness to pass on her knowledge to young riders. If you have ever met her parents or brothers you know why Nicole was so great! Thank you to her family, her life is a gift we will always remember!
I had the pleasure of coaching Nicole when she just started getting serious at T'town and she got as great as she was by hard work and perseverance.Often when I sense that some other rider might be doubting their ability to improve or even their reason in being out on a particularly tough ride I gently remind them of the time, in the middle of winter when we commenced training, of having to push Nicole up various hills to get her round. This inevitably has the required effect of putting the glint in the eyes and having the rider bear down to the task at hand which Nicole got remarkably good at.
In these days of swashbuckling swagger Nicole's calm demeanour, even in the face of adversity,were a tribute to her Christian upbringing and it was immensely satisfying to constantly read about her road exploits in between seeing her during return visits to regain her track legs back east. No doubt Nicole is encouraging and praising still wherever she has found her new home.
It gives me great sadness and brings tears to my eyes to hear of the death of Nicole Reinhart. I didn't know Nicole personally but everyone at the T-town Velodrome new Nicole. If you would see her on the track she would always give you a hello and a smile. She would radiate of someone who was happy racing and riding her bike, someone who was happy with her life. My condolences go out to the Reinhart family and friends.
We live in the road. Some of us are privileged to die in the road. But for a nice and young girl like you it's horribly unfair. And yet - you'll always be with us in every pack and breakaway. Come on, take the wheel and then attack the way you did in the past! You'll be first across the line as long as we are alive. As long as this dangerous but magnificent sport is alive. Till the end of times.
David H Genest
Nicole served as a wonderful role model to our young female cyclists. Her friendliness, competitive spirit and significant accomplishments will be well remembered and used to guide the next generation of professional female cyclists.
Nicole will be missed dearly, but never forgotten.
David H Genest
Our thoughts and prayers reach out to Nicole's family and her many many friends within the cycling community. In her final moments, Nicole, along with the help of Team Saturn were truly an inspiration as they banded together to overcome their earlier setback. It was a performance we will never forget. Our hearts are heavy with grief. Nicole shall forever remain a true champion.
I've spent the past few days scanning the internet for more information, as it unfolds, about the tragedy in Arlington. Like many who have written earlier, I had never actually met Nicole but had only seen her race at the BMC crit in San Jose. When she was called to the starting line and was introduced, I remembered thinking what a beautiful smile she had. She won the race, and after, she seemed go genuine and classy - and always with that bright smile.
I want to give my most sincere condolences to the Reinhart family, Nicole's friends and her teammates. From everyone's account of her, it's clear that she was an amazing woman. I'm so very sorry for your loss.
Goodbye. I'll miss you. I'm just a fan, a woman racer who's "lucky cap" is a Saturn team cap. I love to sprint, and Nicole was one of my heroes. I never met her, but like many, I've followed her and the Saturn Girls' results through the season. I've been in a few races with them and been honored to be there.
My deepest heartfelt sympathy from myself and all the members of "Bite Me Racing" goes out to her little brother and her parents; I can't fathom their grief and am SO sorry. Also to the Saturn team who also lost a loved member of their family, too; my thoughts are with all of you.
When I heard the news, I wept, but I never thought about quitting, because I knew Nicole would be shaking her head at such a thought! I quickly vowed to become a better sprinter; to always sprint with all I have and all I am, for Nicole.
Fellow cycling friends and friends of Nicole
My name is Greg Combs. I am looking to help raise funds for the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund. Nicole and I used to go on daily traning rides in Colorado Springs when I was training for the Road and Team Pursuit Trials in 1996. I remember on one special training ride, we were caught in a snow storm during a winter camp. We had to stop every 15 minutes and walk to get blood back to our feet. At one time the snow was coming down so hard we had to stop and take shelter under a highway over-pass. Nicole and I wrapped our arms around each other to attempt to stay warm. Nicole was giggling and I asked her what was so funny? She said, "Isn't this great we are riding with some of the best riders in the world!"
Nicole's warmth and kindness will never be forgotten. She was such a special person. I was so blessed to become one of Nicole's "many friends." Nicole accepted everyone for who they were and brought such joy in my life and everyone's lives. I will always regret that I took our friendship for granted and lost touch with Nicole these past few years, albeit, I followed her success closely. My prayers and thoughts are with Nicole's family.
Please let fellow riders know I am volunteering to fly cyclists to events and conduct development cycling camps. I can carry four passengers plus bags. I am unable to take bikes but possibly they can be shipped in advance or via ground support. Possibly my employer will allow me to take a larger jet but doubtful. I would also like to fly officials and family members to events as well. All funds earned will go to Nicole's Memorial Fund. My phone number is (210) 545-7681.
Lastly, I would like to reach out to some cyclists that I have lost touch with but have made a very positive impact in my life and I will always consider them to be lifelong friends: Clay Moseley, Dede Demet Barry, Roy Knickman, Chris Wherry, Kent Bostick, Karen Dunne, and Mariano Fredrick. If any of you are in the San Antonio area please call me. Also, if you would like me to help you in conducting camps or other benefits for Nicole's Memorial Fund, I would be glad to help in anyway I can.
As many others have said they did not actually know Nicole personally. That goes for me as well. Since I heard the news, that has been the last thing on my mind before I fall asleep at night, and there the the moment my eyes open in the morning. It will be a while before that changes.
It is so very comforting to read the many tributes others have sent in. I wish we could have predicted this so she could have said to so many people that loved her, things she will never have had the opportunity to do so.That may sound wrong, but it fustrates me so, that this is the way it is now. We need to all realize this because we do not know when that can be taken right out from under us.
I spoke to Nicole's mother earlier this year at the Hellertown/Bethlehem races. I did not know it was her. She had her young Border Collie with her and we just started talking about racing and dogs. She then introduced herself as Nicole's mother but in a way that was so normal. You could see it in her eye when we spoke of Nicole, the love and how proud she was of her. I remember that conversation clear as day.
I recently saw Nicole at the Chris Thater Race in Binghamton casually speaking to fans,friends,and other racers. For some reason that conversation I had had with her mother came over me. I think it was the "normalness" her mother had ,Nicole had too. I also noticed many other qualities when I saw her and it is strange because they have been descibe over and over by so many. She will definitely be missed and I am sure never forgotten.
I was in Arlington on Sunday and am devastated by the loss. Here is a picture of Nicole that I took at the Fitchburg Criterium this year, doing what she loved to do. She was obviously a very special person. My deepest sympathies to her family, friends, teammates and fans.
I've been reading the various tributes to Nicole and still can't believe that the young, strong, vital, woman that Nicole was, is gone. I only met her Friday during a BMC pre-race rally at the Waltham office, when she helped me complete our week long activities by drawing a winner of the BMC bicycle. Nicole was by far one of the sweetest women I have ever met. Sunday I also had the great pleasure of meeting her mom and dad and the entire family that were in Arlington for the race and sincerely extend my prayers and best wishes to them all. Nicole will truly be missed and definitely in my heart forever!
This is very hard for me to write so here I go. Nickel the pickle I've made you, mad, cry, throw-up, work hard, set goals, grow-up, focus, dream, fight, and believe. But most of all thank you for giving me the honor to have been your coach!
"When she shall die,
...adapted from R&J 3:2
I've been following pro cycling for about four years with varying degrees of intensity but never too critically. Largely I know only Euros, mainly from watching the 98/99/00 TdF's and from buying the obvious magazines at the bookstore.
Maybe I saw Nicole in Philly during a CoreStates or First Union? I couldn't even say. But today I logged on to cyclingnews.com to find out how Marty and Lance are doing in Sydney - I'm living in London right now, moved here one month ago from Philly, and it's been hard to keep tabs on the American Olympians on this side of the Atlantic.
So I meant to check on Marty and Lance... but I couldn't stop reading about Nicole. I was initially upset by the news of her passing in the way that any fan of sport would be touched by such a tragedy, but I was altogether devastated the more I learned about her life, her accomplishments, and her personality from the letters I read online. I may never have seen her race or have even known who she was until earlier this evening, but merely from what I've read tonight, I can say that Nicole's life has affected mine, if only by dint of the stories told by those who knew her and loved her, far more than Marty's life or Lance's life ever has.
I believe that's just about the greatest legacy a person can leave behind. Nicole's family should be extraordinarily proud, knowing what an influence and impact she made on everyone around her. The comments I've seen seem to speak to a common theme: Other people felt better about things, about themselves, simply by being around her. To engender that sentiment is a rare and special thing. Reading the testimony everyone has offered makes me wish I had known her myself. Not as the racer she was, but simply as the amazing person everyone around her knew her to be.
If Nicole and I had something particular in common, it was we were both fortunate enough to stumble across a sport that we truly loved. A sport in which we found a challenge, a sport that had us each setting personal goals that inspired us to keep reaching for new heights. We were also both fortunate enough to come across Trexlertown Velodrome - for me in another continent, for Nicole in her own back yard, but for each of us it was a place that let us realize our dreams with so many magical and rewarding moments. I'm sure that Nicole will hold those moments in her heart forever, just as I do, just as we all will remember Nicole and the sparkle she had in her eye doing something she clearly loved.
She will be missed by all those who knew her.
Nicole was one of the best people I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Even though I am out of competitive cycling now I have remained friends with the whole Reinhart family. Whenever I got the chance to see Nicole she would always take the time to come by and say "Hi Shlong, how are you doing." That was one of the best qualities she had, she was on the top of her sport but her mind was always on the ground.
Some of the best experiences and memories of my life came with Nicole and her younger brother Timmy. I'll never forget our mountain bike ride together in the pouring down rain and we were all upset but Nicole just had a giant smile on her face.
She would also always take time out of her schedule for us. Most older siblings never want their younger siblings and friends around them but not Nicole. Whenever she would come home and go to the gym she would invite Timmy and myself to join her. She would also always invite us to come along on rides with her and the other top riders in the nation.
She taught me to never give up and to always try my hardest. For many reasons I will always remember Nicole and miss her. Nicole you will always have a special place in my heart and I love you girl.
Dear Family and Friends,
I had the opportunity to meet Nicole several times over the past two years. Each time I left the race with a smile on my face due in part to her genuine warmth as a person, not as an athlete as much as being a genuinely good person. I am so sorry that on what should have been a fairytale weekend for you turned out terribly wrong. I am happy to know that she had t
he opportunity to be around her family this past weekend.
Nicole raced a lot in the North East and had won the 'big' pro-race in Arlington, VA two years in a row. The race is only a few blocks away from my house. In 1999 I took some photos of her as 'official race photographer'. I placed some photos of Nicole on my web site which was linked to the Clarendon Cup web site. A few months later she came up to me, called me by name and thanked me for such sweet words on the web site and told me how her family had saved the images that were on the web site. Nicole did not have to come up to me and thank me, I was walking with some friends down the street when she went out of her way to thank me. How many people come up to you and do this, let alone people who are preparing for a race that begins in 20 minutes?
This year I saw her I talked to her a little bit about the Olympics and her plans. I was getting ready to leave when Nicole asked if I would like to take a photo of her. I told her I did not want to bother her after she had just finished a race. She looked at me, made a slight little frown, and said it was no problem at all. She then gathered her teammates from the race, pulled her hair back into a pony tail, and let me take a photo or two.
These are only a few of the stories I can say about this kind, gentle, and warm soul.
Each interaction with Nicole show the amazing qualities that she possesed. Those qualities did not come from any PR lesson that she may have received at a training camp. These qualities came from within.
She was a great champion. Not only with respect to cycling but as a person. There are people that can train and train and may or may not win races. However, there is a certain inner beauty and kindness that you cannot train for. You may train and you win bike races, but you cannot train for those intangible qualities that Nicole possessed. You cannot train to be so genuinely warm, caring, cordial, and just an amazing person.Those things come from one's heart, from one's soul.
I will miss her greatly. As you will, as everyone will. To see her smile, her genuine warmth as a human being, her everything. ... just being Nicole.
I wanted you to know that the world was a better place because of Nicole. A smile that would light up a room, a warmth that left you with a smile almost as large as hers. I am privileged to have met her and deeply saddened by her loss.
With my warmest, most sincere and heartfelt wishes.
Sam Marye Lewis
Warm Summer Sun, Shine Kindly Here;
Sam Marye Lewis
I count myself as one of those not fortunate enough to ever have met Nicole. However, after reading, editing and posting all these tributes I can imagine what a beautiful person she must have been, outside her impressive achievements on the bike. Reading some of these tributes and fathoming the loss is enough to move anyone to tears, but there are some positive words within.
When I first learned of her death, the Vuelta had just finished, the Olympics had just started (with its own mix of emotions), and of course time was rather tight. It was one piece of news that I wish I didn't have to publish, as I knew the effect it would have on those that were not at the race. Her death was felt by so many, and we at cyclingnews.com were overwhelmed when the emails and tears flooded in.
Nicole, you were greatly loved in the cycling community, and I am very sorry that you are gone. To the Reinhart family I send my sincere best wishes. May the future treat you more kindly.
"Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same".
Nicole you leave your footprints on my heart as well as on the hearts of so many others. With your kind eyes and your unforgettable smile I thank God for giving me the chance to know an angel.
Thank you for setting up since a nice memorial for Nicole Reinhart. She obviously has touched many lives. Reading this page, I realize that I am one of many whom have been blessed by knowing Nicole Reinhart.
I met Nicole at the Lehigh Valley Cycling Academy in 1998. I knew who she was before she introduced herself as I had volunteered at the velodrome that summer and had seen her race. I knew that she was well liked and respected. As soon as Nicole learned that I used to run, we hit it off as Nicole had also ran track. As a new cyclist, I really appreciated her generous encouragement. She always knew what to say at the right time. One particular ride, I had fallen from the group on a climb, she smiled as she passed me and said "pretend that you're running, you'll make it."
After Nicole moved, I would see her at races and she would always take the time to catch up with me. She truly wanted to hear about my Cat IV races and didn't hesitate to introduce me to her teammates. Nicole never put herself on a pedestal. She treated everyone equally regardless of one's cycling ability. Nicole is a true champion, not just in cycling, but in all facets of life. I'll miss her.
As I read through the wonderful sentiments and stories about Nicole, something came to mind. A quote from "Braveheart"...
William Wallace said, "All men die, not all men really live." I've always tried to live that way and to take from every moment all that it had to offer. It seems too obvious to say that Nicole did the same. As I read on, I felt sorrow, and sympathy for everyone affected by her passing. I also felt joy and pleasure for those she touched and for my involvement in cycling. At the Tour de 'Toona this year I raced the fours and watched as Timmy tore up the threes. He did it all with a smile on his face and a bashfulness on the stand that seems indicative of a Reinhart.
Nicole will surely live on all everyone who knew her, rode with her, or simply heard about how she embraced her life, the sport, and its many players. Nicole really lived! She also helped and will continue to help so many others do the same. Thank you, Nicole!
Thank you Reinharts... and please accept my condolences.
Kurt Marion and Gretchan Jackson
This has been a tough week for me. I was fortunate enough to live with Nicole, Ryan Kelly, Phil Claud, Norm Carter, and Kenny Zielinski in Portland, OR for almost a year. Most of the funniest stories of my life come from this chaotic period. There was never a shortage of laughs or some type of issue in the house.
Who could forget the day an intense ergometer session, ala Phil, saw Nicole sprawled out the back door puking in the grass as Phil looked on like a proud father? How about the day Phil convinced Nicole that Belutti had quit cycling and decided to become an Archery expert? Constant hiccups?? Huge, gourmet meals??? What about watching Martha Stewart EVERYDAY, then trying to make whatever she made on the show???? MarioCart on Nintendo--trash-talking each other, throwing elbows at each other (little innocent Nicole the WORST OF ALL!! hahaha)??????? Your first cyclocross race in Portland?????? It was all so fun...
How come it ended so soon? I have no answers, I am at a loss. I only know that I was priviledged to know you and I am sooooo glad you harassed me into driving to see you race at Red Zinger in Breckenridge this year. I didn't cheer that last lap when it was you vs. Mari, but I was glad to see you win...Thanks for the lunch afterward. Thanks for helping my wife out at Superweek. Speaking of which, I gave you a feed at that race in Oneida, and you never gave me that bottle back...only you Nicole.
I love you and thanks for the laughs.
Words for Nicole
I wake to a world without you.
Coffee is as coffee does.
A cup of comfort comes.
And I want to grieve.
Because I know that could have been me.
And it's right before the race.
I put on a helmet and my sunglasses.
Forget that we had been teammates.
Forget that you died doing what we love.
Nicole I'm so sorry.
And how other riders need,
And how a couple of hay bales placed strategically
I wake to a world without you.