Hello League friends,
As you can imagine, we have been keeping a close eye on the status of the pandemic, as well as keeping in touch with local stakeholders at our venues. The short story is that we’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t the year for us to bring the league together and host large activities.
While time trials could be a way for riders to challenge themselves and compete, the limits we’d have to place on gathering run counter to our core tenet of building community. Even if permits were approved and host communities encouraged us to come (still a big if…), we’d have to actively discourage folks from different teams from congregating together in order to run the events safely. Removing the camaraderie and family feel of our events is the opposite of the stoked, rad, fun experience that is core to the Oregon League.
But wait! That doesn’t mean that we don’t have some friendly competition on the horizon!
Starting September 14, we’ll be announcing a series of skills challenges for riders and teams to compete in. There are four total, and each rider will have two weeks to learn and demonstrate the skill. Team points (and bragging rights!) will be earned based on the percentage of riders on the team who complete the challenge during that time. Don’t sweat the details now; there are plenty more coming. This is going to be fun.
I hope you’re all keeping positive through this time. It’s been exhausting pivoting and constantly changing direction, hoping for the best while being forced to change plans. While I’m really (really really really) bummed that we won’t be hosting events around the state, I’m looking forward to seeing how our teams will come together virtually over the season.
Looking for guidance for team rides? Check this out.
- Governor Kate Brown’s orders
- State of Oregon’s website
- Local Public Health Authority Directory
- Oregon State Parks
- BLM for Oregon and Washington
- Mountain bike clubs and trail alliance groups
Our definition of “race”
Language is important. When we first launched this league, we noticed the reaction we got from people when we said that middle and high schoolers will “race” and can say it had varying effects. To a new rider, even the words “mountain biking” can bring up images that don’t really represent what our version of mountain biking is, as explained in this article.
So we thought long and hard on how we could describe what a race is and decided that it’s our acronym for really awesome challenging event – because that’s exactly what it is. Our races are timed events on a closed course and the rider can choose what they want to accomplish out there. That may be getting on the podium or just finishing one lap without getting off the bike, but whatever it is, it’s gonna be rad and we’ll be there to root and cheer each and every rider that comes out.
What sets us apart
One of the great things that separates us from other youth cycling development programs is that we produce our own youth-specific events. That means we pick out race venues and work directly with landowners and managers to produce the highest quality youth development race courses and events. Our student-athletes get a stage of their own, away from adult competitions, and we strive for safety and fun above all other factors.
We have already begun the process of reviewing prospective fall ’20-21 venues around our state to insure that our events will meet NICA standards, for the sake of our participants’ experiences as well as our own risk management. If you have a suggestion for a venue we would love to hear it, please send your ideas to us.
A great event venue is nothing without a great team putting the event on, and we are a 100% volunteer run organization. We are actively seeking volunteers for all aspects of event production, from helping us form great partnerships with land managers, set our courses, mark the routes, and assist in various other “day of” roles such as registration, course marshals, parking, and more. Whether you’re interested in a 2-hour shift so you can see your child ride, or a spot on an event committee, the Oregon Interscholastic Cycling League would be delighted to have your involvement! Please send an email to email@example.com to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
A note about our fall race season
We’ve had some questions about why we’ve chosen to do a fall RACE season, so here’s a little bit on our logic:
- The Oregon League facilitate youth development through the sport of mountain biking, with about 90% of our student-athletes being new to racing and 75% of them riding trails for the first time upon joining our program. We really do want to get more kids on bikes – not create a development program for high-end athletes (although we do see a lot of talent throughout NICA participation). There are juniors already racing in other programs during the fall, and that’s great! They’re already in the cycling community, and chances are really good that their family is, too. And while we invite them to join us, we know there are thousands of others who don’t know what this is about. We’re ready to share what we’re doing with both new and experienced riders.
- The weather we get from September through early November is best for our riders. If we were a spring league, we’d be up against the chances of our venues being under snow, boggy from rain, and cold. These are not the conditions we want to expose our new riders and their families to.
- A fall season means student-athletes can start training in July. A spring season means riders start practicing in December. In order to create a positive experience into the sport, getting new riders out on trails with warm days with wildflowers makes way more sense to us than getting them out in the winter’s cold, rain, ice, and snow.