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Singletrack Times

NICA-project

March 2024 Single Track Times Newsletter

The 2024 Season is Fast approaching!

Our staff is hard as work planning another amazing season.  With our regional races and ALL League Races, we want to keep you “in the know” so stay tuned!! 

In this newsletter, we discuss a few topics surrounding the season and, my friends, this is a big one newsletter so grab a cup of coffe: 

  • Preseason
  • TTC Hours Update
  • Grit Gear Requests Open
  • Pitzone Dates
  • Outreach Opportunities
  • Pathfinder Scholarships
  • 5th Grade Inclusion for 2024
  • Season and Events updates

Pre Season is almost here.   Coaches are able to register now in the pitzone.   Starting April 1st we will open the pitzone for athletes to start registration for the 2024 Season.    Each team is eligible (but not required) to host 6 pre season events before July 1, 2024.   In order to attend a pre season event, your athlete must either sign a One-time Waiver, or be registered in the pitzone.

TTC Hours update:

Remember, Teen Trail Corps Hours can be captured starting January 1st, 2024. Head Coaches and Directors will need to track their athletes hours manually until Pitzone opens for athletes on April 1st, 2024.

 

 GRiT (Girls Riding Together) 

We are working harder than ever towards gender equity and our GRiT initiatives are helping us to get more girls on bikes.  Teams can apply for GRiT Grants to be provided funding at the team level aimed at recruiting more girls.  Additionally,  new for 2024 we have “GRiT Gear Requests”.   If your female student athlete has some need for cycling gear that is keeping her of the bike,  let your coach know and they can submit a request for GRiT Gear for their team.

Grit Gear Requests Open:

Female student athletes in need of cycling gear! Let your Coaches know. Your coaches can make a request for this gear using this form: Grit Gear Requests

 

 

Pitzone Dates and Coaching needs: 

Pitzone is open for Coaches as of March 1st!   Ever consider coaching?   We need more coaches every year.  None of what we do is possible without our amazing staff of volunteer coaches all across the state.  A level 1 Coach is the most entry level coach that can help support practice and safe riding by simply being there as a chaperone on 2 wheels.   Reach out to your team’s Head Coach or contact our Coaching Director Josh Foster (josh@arkansasmtb.org) if you have any questions.   In short, we cannot get #morekidsonbikes without getting #morecoachesonbikes.   What other sport do you actually get to participate with the athletes while coaching?

Pitzone will open for Athletes on April 1st.

Outreach Opportunities From Coordinator Bob Ocken: 

This year the league is going to a year round model for Outreach. Our plan is to do more events and connect more communities to the NICA mission. More Kids on Bikes. The model will help us reach more segments within the communities. For example, more girls with GRIT as well as more communities that are under-represented in our state.  Our goal is to host 10 outreach events in 2024.  If you know of a community or school that does not currently have NICA, please let us know or share your NICA story with them and help us reach out to them.   Contact Bob Ocken for any questions regarding bringing an Outreach Event to your community. Bob Ocken bob@arkansasmtb.org  501-663-1868.

Pathfinder Scholarships:
These scholarships are to grow diversity in the sport of cycling and provide access for people of color (POC). While you are looking to get #morekidsonbikes NICA wants to make sure that people of all backgrounds are able to access the sport of cycling. To help, NICA has the Pathfinder Scholarships that open on February 15th and close on March 15th. 

These scholarships are open to riders from 5th-12th grade!

5th Grade Inclusion is new for 2024.

Arkansas NICA was chosen as a pilot league to include 5th graders for the 2024 season.  This is not required league wide.  Teams are able to decide if they want to include 5th graders this season and we are working on getting them all the information they need.  If you know of an interested 5th grader, reach out to your teams coach or contact us to find out which team they might be on.   This is exciting to bring more youth on two wheels into our programming.

Season and Events Updates:

Our Schedule of events are posted on the website.   We are working hard on all the details to complete the race flyers and get those out as soon as possible.   With our regional model for 2024, we have some new changes regarding how points will be handled.   New for 2024, our student athletes will have the opportunity to become their region’s champion.   We will crown a Regional Champion based off total points for each region after Race 3 (October 5-6 Regionals).   The final race at Centennial Park will then become a “winner take all” State Championship for the Arkansas NICA League.   Athletes must have attended to regional races (Time Trial excluded) to be eligible to be crowned the state champion.    However, any athlete can still attend Race 4 and compete.     Call ups for the state championship will be based of the Regional Results from Races 1-3.    Also new for 2024 is the Just Ride Category.   With the addition of 5th grade and a review of our race weekends, we have created the “Just Ride” category for athletes that are not necessarily ready to compete and just want to ride and have fun at whatever pace they decide.  The Just Ride Category will take place on race day (Sunday) and not receive any awards, podium etc.     Additionally, just a reminder that we will continue to have the Open Categories for any athletes that want to compete and race but need some type of assistance.  Think of this like an “uncategory” it is truly open for anyone regardless of gender, etc.  Brothers and sisters can race each other Friends, any athletes with special needs, adaptive, hearing, autistic etc.     The purpose of this category is to give any athlete a place to compete!

With the regional model, we are excited to go to a new venue, and go back to a few venues we have not seen in quite a while.

Cheers,

 

Terry and the Arkansas NICA Team.