HOW DID ARKANSAS NICA DO IN 2018?
We would like to congratulate the Arkansas NICA League on completing their third season. A lot of volunteer hours go in to pulling this off every year. We caught up with Race Director Kyla Templeton to see how the season went. Check it!
OCA: How did your third season go?
KT: We had a fantastic season! We had almost 400 student athletes on 27 teams this year. These student athletes practiced, trained, and raced while building strong bodies, minds, and character through an activity that they can stick with for a lifetime! We also had almost 200 coaches that contributed their time to make it happen. One of the things I am most proud of this season is the volunteer hours the student athletes did. We tracked over 1200 hours contributed primarily toward trail work, advocacy, and cycling events. Also, a bunch of our teams and students came together to build an on-campus trail for Pea Ridge Schools.
Volunteer hours winners.
OCA: With the new race in Hot Springs, it seems like NICA is moving into other parts of the state. How much did you grow this year?
KT: We grew over 30% this year, and added teams in Hot Springs, Russellville, Mountain Home, Providence Academy and St. Vincent de Paul in Rogers, and Springfield, MO. We already have conversations going in several new parts of Arkansas and we are working hard to improve opportunity and access to cycling across the state.
OCA: What were the biggest challenges of the 2018 season?
KT: Our biggest challenge this season was the weather! 2016 and 2017 we had fantastic weather for all our races (except that extreme wind event at Spring Hill), but in 2018 we had very wet forecasts for all our races. We were able to proceed with all of them, but it was difficult for our race production team to learn how to deal with the unpredictability of the weather.
OCA: If someone is interested in getting involved or getting their kids involved how do they do that?
KT: To start a team or become a coach, our Spring Leader’s Summit will be the best way to become equipped to be able to do that. It will be March 1-3 in Hot Springs. More detailed information on that will be coming soon. To get kids involved, reach out to me and I can connect you to a team nearby or help you start a team if there isn’t one nearby! Either way, reach out to me and I will connect them with people that can help them along.
OCA: Looking forward to 2019, what are the goals for the Arkansas League and what are the major needs?
KT: We have key strategic initiatives this year and beyond. 1) Equipping coaches. 2) Running high quality, safe events. 3) Creating advocates of our community through stewardship and partnerships. 4) Improving opportunity and access to NICA across the state. We need more people involved and telling their cycling story across the state to help get more people involved. We ALWAYS need more coaches – our organization can’t run without them. But even if that’s not your thing, we can find a way for you to contribute in a meaningful way to our community if you want to get involved.
OCA: Thanks Kyla for the interview! We are amazed at the growth of NICA and the community that is building around it. To find out more about NICA contact Kyly here, firstname.lastname@example.org.