NICA is the governing body for high school cycling. Utah is working with NICA to become an Emerging League this fall and a Project League starting January 2012. As a League, NICA invests in Utah to get our League up and running. They provide coaching education and licensing.
Partnered with THE POSITIVE COACHING ALLIANCE, they will train coaches, assistants, rider leaders, etc. Bringing to Utah a Leader's Summit which will teach coaches everything from how to teach mountain biking skills to running the school program, all with a focus on how to treat kids with respect and build their self esteem through positive coaching. NICA will aid in skills clinics for kids and in getting our races up and running. We are planning on a fall race schedule and late summer training. NICA races follow a 4-6 mile lap format, making them very spectator friendly so parents, families, and friends can watch their athlete race and cheer them on!

-FUN! FUN! FUN! We want to meet needs of those kids not in mainstream sports, and do so in a positive way that builds the self esteem of kids. Cycling is a life-long sport, you can be 40 or 60 years old and still out riding or racing, providing health and fitness for life!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What's going on?

First, how about if I tell you about our coaches meeting. We have some really amazing and dedicated coaches! John Miller from St. George came up. He has connected with other St. George coaches and they are starting their programs this year. Their club rush was March, and they went for it! They have a plan and have coaches at every school in St. George. They are planning on attending the coaches summit in Souther Cal this Oct. Alta has 5 coaches! All of them fantastic! We have Heather Williams up in Ogden who actually got a grant for 10 bikes this year and is starting her program. Both she and our new Team Development Committee head (Wesley Rasmussen) will be going with me to Colorado's Coaching Summit April 30. But, it's not just the motivation behind these coaches, it's the kind of people they are! Really really good people! The kind of people who I would love my kids to have as coaches. They care about the kids! As I get to know them and learn about them, I am amazed! While many are very accomplished riders themselves, I believe it takes more than that to be a positive role model for kids. And that is what I'm talking about. Anyone can scream at a kid and tell them to do better and use intimidation or call them names (my all-time annoyance "you play like a girl!"). That is not what a good coach does! Our coaches are the kind of people who are fun to be with and enthusiastic about biking and will put the kids first (not their own agenda). They are great people!

If you ask me who are the most important people in this program - I would say the coaches. Why?
First, it because they are on the front lines working with the kids day by day. It's the coaches who will make this program work. I told the coaches at their meeting how vital each and every one of them is! If there was only one coach, the kids would be like "lame, this is no fun racing 4 people!" and they would quit. But, with 35 coaches and 23 schools (and growing continually) and around 200 kids, the kids will be like "wow! this is so cool, and other kids think it's cool too!" And our coaches respect each other. They realize they need each other and other kids for this to succeed. That is the funny thing about competition, most people think opponents are our enemies but in reality, they are our friends because we can't get better or achieve without them. We are so lucky to have so many committed and amazing coaches!
Second, because they will truly make a difference for the kids! Some kids will get in shape because now they finally have a sport they love to do. Some kids will do better in school because they found have an outlet. Others will improve emotionally because they will now have a team and friends and feel they belong.

Also, I wanted to tell you about all the other stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Like, we have an article about us in Cycling Utah. We have communication with many people, clubs, UCA, Icup, MTB Race productions etc. all of whom are so supportive! We are designing race courses and finalizing some sponsorship (First Endurance was denied by NICA because they make "supplements" so we have had to find other sponsors) before our bid is due. We have been filling committee positions. There is a lot going on! More than a part time job worth of stuff to do! But, I will write more later.