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President's Note

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The Maryland League's Patterson Park team gets ready to race during the 2019 season. Photo: Catherine Witt

Dear Team NICA -

This month we celebrate Black History Month - and look to NICA student-athletes, coaches and teams who are making a positive impact in the NICA community to increase representation and diversity. Teams like Tallahassee Thunder, who partner with local community organizations exemplify NICA’s value of inclusivity and live up to our mission to get more kids on bikes. As an organization, NICA is staying focused on increasing diversity and being inclusive. Many of you may have recently received a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey and we are grateful for your input and feedback. This survey was designed to help us as a community create a baseline of understanding of our current culture and ultimately help everyone in our community feel valued and included.

We were thrilled this month to announce two new scholarship opportunities for NICA student-athletes. The Trek/NICA Pathfinders Scholarship, which will provide bikes, gear and financial support for 250 student-athletes from underrepresented communities to participate in NICA teams, leagues, races and events. The Sparkle On Scholarship, presented by NICA NorCal Alumna Kate Courtney with SCOTT, Syncros, SRAM and RockShox will provide support for graduating NICA Seniors pursuing higher education while continuing to race their mountain bike.

Several of our Spring Leagues are beginning to host activities in accordance with their local department of health guidelines and we wish them all the best for a safe season. We realize that some leagues are still not able to come together as we normally would and hope that you continue to get out with your teams to ride and participate in league activities keeping our values of fun, inclusivity, equity, respect, and community on the top of your minds!

With Gratitude,
Steve

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What's New Across NICA

Trek / NICA Pathfinders Scholarship

Trek has partnered with NICA to grow diversity in the sport of cycling and provide better access for diverse and underrepresented youth. The Trek/NICA Pathfinders Scholarship will provide 250 kids from underrepresented communities across the country with the gear and funds they need to ride and race in their local NICA mountain bike league. Applications are currently being accepted for teams and student-athletes who will participate in a Fall 2021 NICA League. Learn more and apply today HERE!

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Photo: Paris Gore

Kate Courtney Announces Scholarship for NICA Student-Athletes

The Sparkle On Scholarship presented by Kate Courtney in partnership with SCOTT, Syncros, SRAM, and RockShox will recognize student-athletes who have demonstrated academic and athletic excellence during their time with NICA and plan to attend college and continue mountain bike racing.

This scholarship will be awarded to four seniors from NICA leagues and consist of a monetary award of $10,000 each and mentorship in the form of quarterly calls with Kate during their first year of college and career mentoring through SRAM.

The Sparkle On Scholarship is open to NICA student-athletes graduating high school who will attend college for the 2021-22 academic year and who are seeking to balance mountain bike racing with college studies. Applications will be available March 1st. Information and FAQs can be found HERE. Also, in case you missed it, check out Kate’s video announcement.

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New Coach Licensing Courses Launch March 1

NICA’s Coach Licensing Team is excited to launch new online training courses. The new program is designed to improve the quality of the learning experience and the updated courses will cover a wider variety of topics to give NICA coaches more knowledge, resources and tools to help them get #morekidsonbikes! Click HERE for the latest information.

PLEASE NOTE - THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO SPRING 2021 LEAGUE COACHES UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2021

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UpCycled Bike Jewelry Zoom Webinar - Let’s Get Crafty!

Enjoy a crafty evening with the Idaho GRiT team! Learn how to upcycle old bike parts and turn them into rad jewelry. Find the recording of the Zoom Workshop session HERE.

Before you start the recording, here is a list of craft items:
* Chain Breaker
* Tubes
* Chains
* Wet wipes for cleaning
* Super glue or strong leather glue for bracelets
* Leather or cord of choice for bracelets
* Scissors
* SS earring hooks
* Open jump rings

Don't forget to SHARE pictures of your upcycled bike masterpieces with us on Instagram! It could be photos of jewelry you learned to make during the Zoom workshop or your own fun upcycled bike creations. Remember to tag the NICA handle: @nationalmtb

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Girls Moving Mountains Podcast

Don't forget to tune into Girls Moving Mountains Podcast for a new episode every other Wednesday! This GRiT-inspired podcast focuses on recruiting female student-athletes and coaches into mountain biking while building a supportive community across the nation. Learn more HERE.

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Tallahassee Thunder Team practice

Meet the Tallahassee Thunder

In celebration of Black History Month, we’d like to introduce you to the Tallahassee Thunder Composite Team. They’re making waves in their first season with the Florida League as they are focused on inclusivity, equity and getting #morekidsonbikes across the greater Tallahassee community. Learn more about the team HERE.

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State Funding Supports Growth and Access

Partnerships with state and local government agencies are increasingly important for NICA and our leagues as we work to increase access to cycling and the outdoors. A good example is Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which recently awarded the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) a $75,000 grant to increase league participation and grow Teen Trail Corps. “DCNR is excited about PICL’s engagement of youth in outdoor recreation and trail stewardship. We are happy that our funding is helping to increase league capacity; that supports our vision of inspiring our citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices, and experience the outdoors," said Tom Ford, DCNR's Director of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

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Outride Grant Applications - Now OPEN!

Now through March 11, 2021 Outride will be accepting applications for its 2021 Winter Grants. Outride provides matching grants to NICA teams for young rider development and for trail development to increase access. Learn more today about Outride and its community granting program HERE. We thank Specialized Bicycles, a founding and Platinum level sponsor of NICA, for being an anchor donor of Outride!

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Check out Giro’s Cycling Gear

Everyone knows that Giro is a global leader in helmets and footwear… but did you know that they make some outstanding riding apparel too? One of our favorites is this Stow H20 jacket. It’s a durable barrier against the elements and easily packs down. Best of all, it has handy system to “stow” on your handlebars for rides when you don’t want to wear a pack.”

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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!

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