Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
– Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Lauren Haughey, Amanda Carey, and Kristine Urrutia Photo: Lauren Haughey
Dear NICA Community,
Women leaders have always brought a valuable and empowering perspective and 2020 has seen that recognized in the cycling industry. This month, we are turning the spotlight on women leaders and celebrating their success.
First, I want to start by acknowledging NICA National’s female leadership with Vice Presidents Amanda Carey, Lauren Haughey, and Kristine Urrutia and our Board Chair, Susan Helm-Murtagh. Each of these successful leaders provides a unique and valuable perspective, professional expertise, and a passion for getting more kids on bikes that is guiding NICA into the future.
I am pleased to congratulate Jenn Dice, the new CEO for People for Bikes and to announce NICA’s renewed partnership for 2021. As we all know, the benefits of cycling have taken on an even greater importance, providing opportunities for physical and mental health, transportation, time outside, camaraderie and lessons in perseverance. We are appreciative of Jenn’s vision and passion, and our shared dedication to building community, increasing access and improving lives, and look forward to what we can achieve together. You can learn more about Jenn’s road to success HERE.
Congratulations to Vanessa Hauswald, who is celebrating her 10th anniversary as the NorCal League Executive Director. She has, as they say, seen it all and we are lucky to learn from her experiences, setbacks and successes alike. We asked Vanessa to share her journey and vision for the future with us. You can read our interview below.
Two of our partner organizations have also named new female executives this year. Congratulations to Sally Grimes, CEO of Clif Bar and Skye Delano, Executive Director for Outride, both of whom started their new positions this summer and bring a wealth of experience, vision, and passion for our community. We are pleased these amazing women are leading the way for all of our student-athletes.
With Gratitude, Steve
What’s New Across America
Indiana League Director Margaret Barawskas (Photo: Daniela, GRiT Coordinator) and Student-Athletes (Photo: Joe Vondersaar) at the League’s Inaugural Event.
The Indiana League Hosts Inaugural Race
We are super stoked that the Indiana Interscholastic Cycling League hosted their inaugural race earlier this month! Almost 80 student-athletes enjoyed perfect fall weather at the event held at Southwestway Park in Indianapolis. Across NICA, all gatherings are held in accordance with state and local health department regulation.
“Taking over as the League Director over a year ago has been an incredible journey. I am learning a lot both personally and professionally. Being able to see our league put on a wave start race after so many years of envisioning it, it’s been a magical experience,” shares Margaret Barawskas. “To see our Strike Visuals arch up in our state was an inspiring moment. We had a lot of new riders and to have them have such an incredible and positive event, it’s going to be such a great opportunity for the entire state of Indiana. The number one comment I heard from volunteers who showed up to help and had no idea what NICA does, was that THIS is what youth sports should be. This is the feeling kids should have. It was a wonderful atmosphere and race for every skill level.” You can read more about the event HERE.
Stone Eater Bike Park Map
New Trail Partnership Announced
The City of Lebanon, Indiana, and NICA have announced their partnership to develop a world class bike park, destination trail system and professional mountain bike racing, competition and special event venue to be called the Stone Eater Bike Park. The park is being designed from the ground up as a family friendly riding hub for the local community and the greater Midwest region. “The investment we are making in this park will benefit the health and wellness of our community. We are always striving to develop new quality of life initiatives for our citizens and we couldn’t be more excited for the partnership with NICA and the opportunities this will create for our community and the region,” shares Lebanon Mayor Matthew Gentry. Read more about our partnership HERE or watch a video about the park HERE.
Lebanon City Engineer Kevin Krulik spoke with Steve Matous about the new park. Listen to the podcast HERE.
NICA Campfire Chat Registration Open
Registration for our next NICA Campfire Chat on October 12th is open! NICA Campfire Chats are a semi-regular series of moments for student-athletes from all leagues to come together in a virtual campfire setting. The next chat will feature a conversation all about bikepacking with Blackburn Design and Bikepacking Roots. There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions so that our student-athletes can engage with each other.
Campfire Chats are held over Zoom and there is a cap on attendance for each session. You must register in advance, registration is first come, first served. After registering HERE, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Nielson Powless and Sepp Kuss on the Champs Elysee after the finish of the 2020 Tour de France. Photo: James Startt
NICA Alumni In The Tour de France
How exciting was it watching two NICA Alumni crush the Tour this year?! Both Sepp Kuss who rode with the Colorado League and Neilson Powless, who rode with the NorCal League finished the Tour, made substantive contributions to their respective teams’ success, and celebrated their birthdays while on the Tour. Their success was a wonderful tribute to team work and perseverance and allowed each of them to show off their rad climbing skills.
NEW GRiT Student-Athlete Designed Merch Available
NICA is happy to announce that our new GRiT Merch items are available and ready for purchase in the NICA Store. Our newest items for sale include sweatshirts, buffs, and tank tops! Unisex sizes are available.
A huge thank you and shout-out to the Rapha Foundation for their annual gift to NICA National enabling our support for GRiT programming and projects happening on the ground. All 19 leagues that applied were awarded funding that will go towards recruiting more female-identifying coaches and student-athletes.
Thank you to these amazing NICA Supporters!
Cancelled Events and A Limited Edition Bike Rack Become Fundraisers for NICA
There is big news this month on fundraising support for, and from, the NICA community! First up, props go to 1Up USA for their generous donation from the proceeds of a rad Red, White, and Blue bike rack and other patriotic items for Memorial Day.
When organizers of three leading off-road events had to cancel their plans this year, they shifted gears and turned their cancelled events into fundraising opportunities. Registrants of Crusher in the Tushar and the Leadville 100 were given the option to donate their cancelled 2020 event registration fees to NICA. In addition, organizers of the 2020 Steamboat Gravel event, a.k.a. SBT GRVL, responded by getting creative when their event was cancelled. The result was a free, virtual community ride that could be accomplished anywhere in the country and brought people together virtually. Participants had the opportunity to donate to one of five chosen organizations and NICA’s GRiT initiative was included.
It didn’t stop there. Roadless Races also made their Sprocket Fuel MTB Challenge a virtual event for 2020. Participants were challenged to ride and accumulate 100 or 200 miles over a month-long period this summer. NICA was selected as one of charitable partners as the event became a fundraiser too.
The response to all of these fundraising efforts was huge! Colossal thanks to Lifetime Fitness, Amy Charity, Roadless Races and 1Up racks for setting up these fantastic opportunities. Multiple thanks also go to all the participants who generously showed their love for NICA and donated towards our mission to get #morekidsonbikes and #moregirlsonbikes. Thank you all for your support!
Vanessa Hauswald summits Mills Peak in Plumas National Forest. Photo: Yuri Hauswald
Celebrating Female Leadership with NorCal League Director Vanessa Hauswald
Vanessa Hauswald co-founded a high school mountain biking team in Northern California 17 years ago. Fast forward to today and she has been the Executive Director of the NorCal League for over 10 years. Her leadership of the NorCal League has helped empower NICA to be what it is today, a nationwide youth sports organization with over 24K student athletes participating annually.
As we celebrate female leadership this month, no conversation around NICA would be complete without hearing more about Vanessa’s experience and insight. She is an inspiring leader, empowering organizer, and courageous cancer survivor. Her infectious optimism and joy for “just riding around on dirt” will inspire you.
We asked Vanessa to share her journey and vision for the future with us. You can read our interview HERE.
Safety Tip of the Month
Brush-up on your awareness of concussion safety with NICA Alumni Kate Courtney! NICA Safety Reporting shows that less than one percent of student-athletes reported concussions in both 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Due to the seriousness of concussions and known benefits of seeking early help if symptoms arise, we recommend students-athletes and coaches proactively familiarize themselves with concussions in case of a hard fall. Everyone can watch Kate Courtney’s CrashCourse Brain Fly Through HERE.
Nominate Your Awesome Coach Today!
You can nominate a deserving coach who has at least 3 years of experience for the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal Coach® Awards. * 100 Regional Winners will be named in February. * 25 National Winners will be named in March and will each receive $1,000 and recognition on PCA’s website, newsletters, on social media, and in local and national media outlets. * One coach will be named the PCA National Coach of The Year and win $10,000 – $2,500 to the coach and $7,500 to the youth sports organization or school of their choice.
Please note, nominations close November 30th. Learn more HERE.
The Right Shoe for Every Rider and Every Ride
Shimano footwear redefines off-road performance with modern innovations in sole and upper designs for durability and optimal power transfer. Learn more HERE.
Hardtail vs. Full Suspension: which is right for you?
Are you in the market for a new bike but can’t decide between a sick new hardtail or a gnarly full suspension? Check out this helpful video from NICA Lead Sponsor Trek, hosted by Trek Factory Racing’s Emily Batty to see the advantages of each. #gobybike
NICA exists by virtue of our generous sponsors, boosters, foundation partners and individual donors.
We are extremely grateful for your continued support of our mission to build strong minds, bodies, character and communities through cycling. Consider supporting NICA or your favorite league today and help us impact the future of cycling!