Partnerships are key to success in the world at large, none of us can go it alone with so many different priorities and needs. Last week, our partnership with IMBA brought CEO Kent McNeil and myself together to present to the Bentonville Bike Conference our shared goal of bringing more access for bike trails closer to home. Be it school grounds, city or county parks, or state and federal lands, the need for more access to trails is readily apparent to anyone living in or near large urban areas.
As well, the creation of new trail networks closer to home opens opportunities for many diverse populations that we are currently not reaching. Of course, we work with many local organizations on these same issues. Our leagues and even the teams themselves are driving much of this outreach. Hats off to you!
The Outdoor Economic Conference was also last week where I participated on a panel addressing the Next Generation Outdoors. NICA and its leagues are a great example of how much growth there is in local economies when kids get outside and active, in our case on mountain bikes. From the economic studies we have done over the last few years, the average economic impact to a community where a league holds a weekend event is $180,000! In our biggest leagues, this impact is 4-5 fold. Wow!
All that for having fun enjoying something outside with your friends!
Looking forward to many more decades of this!
What’s New Across America
Student-athletes play golf ball pick up. Photo: Ann Miers
Black Rock Desert Adventure Weekend
As many fall leagues know, it’s been a challenge creating fun opportunities for student-athletes to ride and have new experiences. Ann Miers and her husband Paul, head coach of Galena MTB with the Nevada League, and the team set out for an overnight of games, Strava art contests, and camping in the Black Rock Desert, home of Burning Man! You can read all about their adventure HERE.
Cartecay Lounge Hosts Lorenzo and Louisa.
The Latest from the Cartegay Lounge
The Gilmer Cartecay Composite Team with the Georgia League has dropped its latest installment of the Cartegay Lounge featuring highlights from recent Adventure Rides: limerick and don’t wipe out contests; first aid and survival tips from Charlie Company 1-111th Medevac Unit; and practicing skills on the edge of a lake. Check it out HERE.
Inventory Challenges Persist
As you may be aware, the United States continues to experience an unexpected bike boom, which has resulted in an industry-wide bicycle and parts and accessories shortage. The cycling industry has had booming sales because bikes have become an alternative for transportation and leisure during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Also, due to Covid-19, there have been major global supply chain disruptions. The combination of extraordinary sales and supply chain disruptions has made it difficult for companies to meet demand. This is true for nearly all of our bike brand supporters.
During this unprecedented time, we ask that the NICA community be patient as there will be product delays. For example, while the Trek student-athlete, Level 1, Level 2, and L3 discounts will continue, please note that your local Trek retailers are not required to participate in the program; they do so voluntarily and may not have the inventory in stock to honor a discount. Therefore, please be patient and courteous to your local retailer and work with them to meet your purchase needs and team support. Again, patience and kindness in these unprecedented times are paramount.
Isabella Accardi in her GRiT Ambassador Video
Spring Leagues – Look out for GRiT Ambassador applications opening up!
Check out the video submission for SoCal League’s GRiT Ambassador Program from Isabella Accardi with Ramona Composite. GRiT Ambassadors are student-athlete representatives for their state GRiT program. They help raise awareness about NICA’s initiative to #getmoregirlsonbikes. Also, they are local advocates that voice what our female-identifying student-athletes want out of our GRiT programs.
With the 2021 spring pre-season upon us, GRiT Ambassador applications will be opening up in NICA leagues across the nation. Wondering if your league has a GRiT Ambassador program? Contact your local GRiT Coordinator and ask! Not all NICA leagues have GRiT Ambassador programs but have many local initiatives to #getmoregirlsonbikes.
Want to find other ways to get involved with NICA GRiT? Contact your state GRiT Coordinator or League Director to find out about GRiT happenings in your state!
Super Volunteers Chris Boyle and Katie Fahey make their way up Jester Hill. Photo: Vince Nobel Photography
Trailer FUNdraiser for Ohio
On October 10th, the Ohio Mountain Bike League got creative as they climbed towards their goal of raising enough money for their League trailer. The idea was started by their Treasurer’s husband who wanted to climb Jester Hill (Cat 3) for 24 hours to help support the league. It soon morphed into one epic and fun community event where different dollar donations could send Jen, Joe, Chris, and Steve up the hill in a bunch of fun and wacky ways! Twinning on a tandem? Heck yeah! Playing Proud Mary on the Kazoo? Oh Boy! Single-speed action? Of course! People came out from all over Ohio to take photos, cheer, and ride some climbs from 10 am Saturday to 10 am Sunday.
“The best part of the whole weekend was watching the kids that came for the bike craft station run over to put their OMBL Launch Sticker on their bikes and hearing them say ‘Is this what a NICA event is going to be like?!’ and ‘Can we start a team at our school!?’” shares Jen Malik, Ohio League Director. “A big thank you goes out to everybody involved. The OMBL definitely knows how to put the FUN in FUNdraiser!”
Fast Facts: 20 Riders 815.63 miles of repeats (1.5 mile climb) 145,144 ft of climbing
Tina Khan, with race director Curt Shelman, received the matching funds from Sunflower Outdoor & Bike’s Dan Hughes and Matt Gilhousen. Photo credit: Tina Khan
Kansas Looks To A Future With More Kids On Bikes
Even during a global pandemic and uncertain economic times, one thing is certain: more kids on bikes are good for everyone, especially kids! That’s the rationale behind a locally-owned business’ philanthropic effort to help kick start the formation of the Kansas League. Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop offered the League a $100,000 matching grant.
“Things are super crazy right now,” said Sunflower owner Dan Hughes, “but even amid the chaos, we’re looking to the future of cycling in Kansas and we were fortunate enough to convince some generous folks to come along for the ride.” The grant comes in the form of matching funds up to a six-figure cap, with the proviso that the Kansas League launch an aggressive, statewide, 30-day campaign to maximize the contribution. “Building our youth cycling community takes great partnerships, we’re excited to have just that with Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop,” said Tina Khan, Kansas League Director.
On October 16th, Sunflower provided a check for $39,091!
Bryce Longacre working a SoCal event and his interactive map. Photo: Bryce Longacre
Bryce Longacre: SoCal Alumni, Chief of Scoring, and NICA National Timing Trainer
After graduating from Murrieta Valley High School in 2014, Bryce Longacre reached out to SoCal League Director Matt Gunnell to see how he could continue to be involved with NICA. Matt quickly brought Bryce onto his team and during his training, RaceRite owner and Chief of Scoring for the Colorado League, Mark Bockmann quickly realized Bryce’s talent and hired him to support his growing business.
Today, Bryce works full time for RACE RESULT, is the Chief of Scoring for the SoCal League, and is a National Trainer for NICA. “One of my favorite parts about being involved with NICA and training nationally is traveling to new leagues, seeing new places, and meeting new people that I wouldn’t normally get to meet,” shares Bryce. Bryce has great insight and advice for student-athletes on post-NICA employment, internships, community, and more! You can read Jerel’s conversation with Bryce HERE.
Bryce created a map of race venues around the US on a Google map so he could see where each league raced across the country. Over the years it has evolved and he recently completed a huge overhaul on the site to allow staff members from each league to contribute to the map. You can check it out via the link to the interview above.
Did you know that every time you shop online with Amazon that you could be supporting NICA? When you select the National Interscholastic Cycling Association as your chosen charitable organization, the Amazon Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price that you pay when choosing products that are marked as “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation.” It’s very easy to start, all you have to do is follow this link to AmazonSmile, login to your Amazon account, and start shopping! Just remember that every time you shop though you’ll need to bookmark the Amazon Smile page so that NICA can continue to benefit.
Safety Tip of the Month:
Reminder to get out those lights!
While lights and bright or reflective clothes are always beneficial to improving your visibility and therefore safety, they’re most important as we head into the darker months. Whether commuting or attending a NICA activity, you’ll receive the most benefit from a front (white) and rear (red) light. For more tips on being seen and keeping riding during the changing seasons, please see this People For Bike’s Article: Stay Safe, Stay Seen, Stay Pedaling: Helpful Tips to Keep you Riding.
NICA Student-Athletes in their Borah Jerseys.
Borah Teamwear Freeride MTB Collection
Borah Teamwear is excited to expand its popular Freeride MTB Collection to include new baggy shorts, and new long and short sleeve jerseys designed specifically for young NICA riders. Our high-touch customer service and Fit Guarantee ensure ordering for your team is seamless and risk-free. Borah is a leader in the USA made custom cycling apparel, and we are proud to be an official NICA sponsor. Borah – Built Here. By Hand. Since 1997.
Giant Recon HL 1800 at work on the trail.
Shines Brighter, Runs Longer And Works Smarter
The Giant Recon HL1800 provides a more consistent lumen output and a longer run time than any other comparable light on the market. It’s also part of Giant’s first headlight series which utilizes a smart function that adjusts your light output depending on your speed and the amount of ambient light. From casual commuter to seasoned pro, wherever and whenever you ride, the Recon headlight will give you the power, dependability, and safety you need. You can learn more HERE.
Gain extra hand positions, climbing leverage and Togs look cool on your bike.
Great gifts and team/rider incentives. Made in the USA. Use NICA25 code at togs.com.
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!