September 2021 Coach Newsletter

The 2021 race season has begun. We are thankful that Mother Nature turned the temperatures down over the weekend for our Sager Creek time trial event. Although we had a short pause in racing due to a nearby storm, the weather was great.

We are even more grateful for the efforts of our coaches in preparing well over 500 student-athletes for their first race of the season. YES! We had over 500 racers on Sunday. Our largest event to date. The look of anxious anticipation, effort, and reward on their faces was great to see. This was a great reminder of why we do all this.

We have a coach call this Wednesday at 8pm. Our coach call provides a great opportunity to share our stories and learn from one another. We would love to hear your highs and lows from the weekend. Please join us as we get ready for our first mass-start race since 2019. Agenda and Zoom call details are here.

Thanks for all you do as an AR-NICA coach.

Ben Tufford and the league staff

Upcoming Coaches Calls

  • Wed, Sept 1st – Regular monthly coach call
  • Wed, Sept 15th – Race 2 info
  • Wed, Oct 6th – Regular monthly coach call, Race 3 Info
  • Wed, Oct 20th – Race 4 InfoFind the agendas here

Zoom Call Log in info:

Remaining diligent with COVID concerns

COVID19 is still going strong in our part of the country. We are monitoring the progress and recommendations from CDC and local Health Departments. Our priority is to put on a full season of safe events. We will work to make our events as safe as possible and expect people to manage their own risk and safety while attending events and practices.

Recommended precautions: (but not limited to just these).

  1. Stay home if you are feeling sick or have a fever or think you may have been exposed.
  2. Stay physically distanced and wear a mask when you cannot maintain 6 feet
  3. Be self sufficient at practices and events with your own water and nutrition.
  4. Ensure you are completing a sign in procedure or roll call at practices to assist with tracking if exposures are noted.

Report any exposures to for tracking and reporting.

Race Details – Important Updates

We are going to structure our volunteering a little differently this year than we have before; we will assign “home teams” to each race. We will depend on those teams to provide most of our volunteers for their home race, including we will need 1 course marshal for every 5 student athletes racing. Coaches, we suggest that you nominate a parent to help you manage this and get parents to sign up for volunteering at the race.

  • Race 1 Barling: Fort Smith, Dequeen, Bentonville High School, Conway, North Little Rock
  • Race 2 Mountain Home: Mountain Home, Capital City Cranks, Catholic, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Russellville
  • Race 3 Camp War Eagle: Rogers, Arkansas Arts Academy, Eureka Springs, Madco, St Vincent, Thaden
  • Race 4 Centennial: Fayetteville, Haas Hall, Lincoln Junior High, Pea Ridge, Springdale, Washington

Recruiting Coach Trainers

Coach Trainers are essential to the continued progression of our AR-NICA coaches. They provide the required On The Bike skills training to coaches around the state. Our ultimate goal is to have a Coach Trainer on each team or associated with small regions of teams in Arkansas. If you have enjoyed learning the On The Bike skills curriculum and would like to become a trainer, now is the time.

The league is actively recruiting new Coach Trainers to facilitate On The Bike Skills session in 2021 and beyond. We have scheduled an appreciation weekend for Oct 3 & 4. The weekend will include appropriate training for success as a Coach Trainer. Additionally, we plan to include a ton of fun, exclusives, and stoke. This topic will be included in our coach call this Wednesday. Interested coaches should reach out to Ben Tufford with any questions.

National Bike Challenge, Cycle September

The annual National Bike Challenge is BikeNWA’s primary program to encourage residents of Arkansas to live healthy, active lives by riding a bicycle. Whether for recreation or transportation purposes, we encourage individuals, families, teams, and workplaces to join us for our May is Bike Month and Cycle September challenges. Through the Love To Ride platform, participants track their rides, earn points for prizes, and can challenge themselves and others to some friendly competition. Love to Ride is now open to youth, ages 13 to 17 and BikeNWA encourages students and families to participate!

Competitive youth cycling teams, such as NICA, are encouraged to join Love To Ride and the National Bike Challenge as a club/group! Each individual, adult or youth, should register and then join their club/group. We recommend that a coach take the responsibility of creating the club/group on the Love To Ride platform and then share the name or link with the team. The club/group is not restricted by age and could include parents as well if the coach/team desires.

  • For a greater organization, like NICA, identifying a naming convention for teams will help keep all clubs/groups identifiable and easier to find. For example, Miller Middle School’s NICA team could be registered as Miller Middle NICA or MM NICA. If the organization has paid staff, they’re also welcome to join as a workplace but should have youth participants remain only a part of the club/group.

Remember that cycling club/group pages are available year-round and have internal leaderboards allowing your group to engage with each other regardless of the time of year.

If you have any questions or concerns about this process, reach out to Lauren Hildreth at BikeNWA at or contact Love To Ride Support.

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