2018 Arkansas Race Report #3 Cedar Glades Park, Hot Springs
Race 3 of the 2018 season was the hardest race Arkansas NICA has ever produced. The mud made it very hard for the student athletes to ride. The rain and cold Saturday made it difficult for the staff to put on. The greatest Arkansas NICA race production staff worked tirelessly and willingly in the cold wet weather Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to make the third race happen on Sunday. Mike Brown, one of our staff members, spent all day Saturday grooming the trail to make it safer to ride in the wet weather said it this way, “When we give up our entitled attitude of being comfortable, we learn to be content wherever we are.” The selflessness of our staff really astounded everyone this weekend. Next time you see them, please tell them how much you appreciate all that they do!
Below are three special stories I want to highlight in the report:
Lauren Adams, Bentonville High School
Joel Boema, Rogers All Mountain Shredders
Zachary Couture, Haas Hall Academy
Kyla and the Arkansas Team
It was the day before the race, and dread had already found a place in my stomach. The course was a giant puddle, and the corners and rocks would have been fun if it weren’t for the fact that it was far too easy to slide off the trail or slip into a puddle. My shoes were black before I left for pre-ride, and when I came back they were brown, and it had started to rain again. Somehow endless mud managed to give lots of variety to the race, something we hadn’t seen before at Slaughter Pen or Siloam, and certainly something we wouldn’t forget. But the mud that had turned the course into a puddle was just that — a puddle. By the time my race started, it mixed into the dirt to create a sticky mess that made the grass unrecognizable and stuck to the riders’ legs like glue.
The finish line was in view when I came out of the woods. The hill stretched impossibly long, but I was in front — I could make it. I avoided the patches of mud, where my tires stuck like they had been grabbed by an invisible hand. A blue and yellow jersey caught my attention; and suddenly I was third. The whole race I had been thinking to myself: “It’s fine, there’s only five sophomore girls, you’re on the podium either way.” I was in the mindset that it didn’t matter, and the entire time I had been tired and telling myself I could go slow if I wanted to. But now I was so close; there was the finish line against the mountainous backdrop, and I found that I couldn’t give up even if I wanted to.
I thought cyclocross had prepared me for mud, but it hadn’t. Sand was the closest we had practiced, and I had to jump off my bike just to make it through. I couldn’t afford to waste time running or riding through the mud, this close to the end. I went around it, sprinting to catch up because the previous fast line went straight through where everyone had gone before and the sticky mud.
Rayna, from the Conway team, my riding buddy throughout the race, managed to go tight around the corners without sliding and becoming even more muddy. As we sprinted towards more mud, and one of the last corners maybe a hundred yards from the finish line, I gave it everything I had. I cut through the mud in front of Rayna, back tire skidding to the side as I leaned into the turn, still sprinting, and I was second place. I could see the line in front of me. I gave it everything I had left, and at the very end, Rayna was in front. She beat me by less than half a second, and I can’t speak for her, but I was so tired I could barely stand. My legs were shaking, I could barely get enough air, but we both fell onto the muddy grass and smiled for pictures.
It’s cliche, but every race I’m reminded why I do it — because it’s fun, it’s hard, and somehow so rewarding. The medal doesn’t have anything but a place on a shelf, but the memory will always have a place in my heart.
Joel Boema – A Stand Up Kind of Race
Joel Boema finished fifth in the JV boys on Sunday. He had an interesting race, and we caught up with him to learn about it.
Arkansas NICA: Since race day was your birthday, how old did you turn and what did you think about racing on your birthday? Did it change anything from a normal race day?
Joel: On the day of the race I was turning 17 so I was in a good mood and ready to race. I feel that going into a race with the right mindset and mood is very important so I would say it helped that it was my birthday.
Arkansas NICA: Awesome! What was the start of the race like? And tell me when where and how your seat broke.
Joel: The start was good but it had more people than usual because of the combined fields. With the group start it was a little congested but soon after it spread out and got going. My seat fell off around 5 minutes or so into the race and I went to sit down and it was just gone so I kept going, but the worst part was that it was super difficult to drink water.
Arkansas NICA: Wow! What was it like to not be able to sit down? How did it feel? What did you think about?
Joel: It was so much more exhausting to have to stand up the whole time it was crazy. Standing up the whole time felt weird and tiring mainly cause it’s not normal to stand up and race like that the whole time. Also when it happened I thought well I can’t really do anything about it now so I just thought I might as well go for it.
Arkansas NICA: What kind of lessons do you take away from this experience?
Joel: I definitely learned I need to not only check the main components of my bike over but everything on the bike, and also to push through obstacles and to kind of adapt and overcome whatever situation I’m in.
Arkansas NICA: Strong body, strong mind, and strong character are things we are all about in NICA. Did any of those things play out in your race?
Joel: Yes definitely strong mind, body, and character all came into play. For example I had to use all my strength possible to do as good as I did without a seat and a strong mind and character to persevere pass the obstacle of no seat.
Arkansas NICA: I know you like to do different types of mountain bike races. Why do you like doing NICA?
Joel: I like NICA a lot because it pushes my endurance the hardest and it’s just a lot of fun in general to ride and race with friends.
From his coach, Kim Seay, from Haas Hall Academy:
To know Zachary is to love him; he is one of the most caring, hardworking young men you will ever meet. He loves biking, his Haas Hall Mountain Bike Team, baseball, and hanging out with his family and friends. He’s an 11th grade honor roll student who, until recently, still found time to study, ride, work at a local bike shop, help neighbors with their lawns, chauffeur his little sister, and run his school’s mountain biking club. He is one of those kids who genuinely cares for those around him, and is the first person to show up at your doorstep when you need help.
Right now, Zach is the one who needs our help!
Zach was recently diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Aplastic Anemia, a disease which causes your bone marrow to stop producing new blood cells. Only 600 people are diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia each year! Treatment usually includes a bone marrow transplant from a family member; however, the doctors were unable to find a good match for Zach.
As a result, Zach is undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, taking more than 40 pills each day to keep his body from attacking his own bone marrow. These treatments require multiple visits to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and Arkansas Children’s Northwest.
Zach has already had several hospital stays, emergency helicopter flights to Little Rock, blood transfusions and rounds of treatment. While Zach comes from a hardworking family with great health insurance, his rare disease, precarious condition, and extensive treatments are causing a financial strain for his family,
The Haas Hall Mountain Bike Team is raising money to help Zach’s family with these expenses and to alleviate some of the stress, allowing them to focus on Zach’s recovery. To raise money and show our love and support for Zach, we are selling T-shirts and #zachstrong wristbands.
Zachary is unable to attend school this year, will be unlikely to race NICA next year, and the journey ahead is full of struggles and uncertainties. Please join Zach and his family in their fight against Aplastic Anemia. Let’s show Zach NICA’s love and support for one of our own. Please consider buying a #ZachStrong t-shirt or wristband at the next NICA race. We can never underestimate the power of a strong support system when fighting a disease like Aplastic Anemia. Let’s be there for Zach!
Middle School Girls
8th Grade Girls
1 1006 EMMERY BRAY Lincoln Junior High School
2 1007 CARRIE POOL Lincoln Junior High School
3 1009 KATIE CONWAY Haas Hall Academy
4 1008 ELLA WISE Thaden School
5 1000 OLIVIA CARTE Siloam Springs Comp
7th Grade Girls
1 3010 KAYLEIGH COSTELLO Hot Springs
2 3006 CICELY VORHEES Lincoln Junior High School
3 3007 CATHERINE HENRY The New School
4 3013 NORAH PHELPS Haas Hall Academy
5 3004 KEERA TUCKER Lincoln Junior High School
6th Grade Girls
1 5014 MADDIE KELLER Lincoln Junior High School
2 5015 LAURA FILES Little Rock Composite
3 5013 HARPER MOORE Lincoln Junior High School
4 5017 ANIKA TIMBOE Siloam Springs Comp
5 5012 LAUREN LIGHTBODY Arkansas Arts Academy
Arianna Clark from Conway.
Norah Phelps from Haas Hall Academy at the finish of her race. Happy and satisfied.
Middle School Boys
8th Grade Boys
1 2007 AUSTIN TRAYWICK Conway Composite
2 2015 TUCKER PEITZ Lincoln Junior High School
3 2008 WILL SIEGEL Conway Composite
4 2033 ALEXANDER SEVART The New School
5 2027 JAMES JONES Conway Composite
7th Grade Boys
1 4027 JOSHUA LEAMON Conway Composite
2 4031 WILL MERTINS Haas Hall Academy
3 4028 GRAYSON VERNON Lincoln Junior High School
4 4034 NICOLAS DAUGHRITY Providence Classical
5 4035 AIDEN MCCALL Providence Classical
6th Grade Boys
1 6018 TEAGUN WELLS Lincoln Junior High School
2 6026 BRUNO ROBLES Little Rock Composite
3 6020 TYMOTHY CLARK Rogers All Mountain
4 6000 HARRY WARE Lincoln Junior High School
5 6028 JAMES MAYFIELD The New School
Middle School Boys take off at the start of their race.
High School Girls
1 3 CATE MERTINS (PTS Haas Hall Academy
2 1 JORDAN SAULS Bentonville West High
3 2 ABBY VERNON Bentonville High School
1 109 HAVILAH RODGERS Hot Springs
2 108 ELLA MERTINS Haas Hall Academy
3 104 AUDREY BROWN Bentonville High School
4 100 ZOE MARCH (PTS LEADER) Bentonville West High
5 106 NINA ZEILER Bentonville High School
1 305 AVERY ESCAJEDA (PTS Pea Ridge High School
2 307 RAYNA VANKEUREN Conway Composite
3 301 LAUREN ADAMS Bentonville High School
4 306 VICTORIA HATLEY Arkansas Arts Academy
5 308 SERENITY MILLWOOD Lincoln Consolidated School
1 506 EMMA JOHNSON Little Rock Composite
2 501 RYLEIGH REDDELL (PTS Bentonville West High
3 505 MACKENZIE CHAVEZ Poteau Public Schools
4 502 KATHRYN KELLEY Rogers All Mountain
5 504 DALLICE WHITE Pea Ridge High School
Varsity riders Cate Mertins and Jordan Sauls lap through the finish line with Havilah Rogers close behind.
Audrey Brown makes her way along the course. She got a little muddy in the race Sunday.
High School Boys
1 58 CAYDEN PARKER Hot Springs
2 59 BRYAN PENDERGRAFT Conway Composite
3 57 JACOB SMITHPETERS Haas Hall Academy
4 54 WYATT HOYT Little Rock Composite
5 55 GRANT LAMPSON Rogers All Mountain
1 226 GARRETT PENDERGRAFT Conway Composite
2 204 DAKOTA FALCON Bentonville High School
3 220 WILL PETERSON Bentonville High School
4 257 SAMUEL GUCEL Haas Hall Academy
5 209 JOEL BOUMA Rogers All Mountain
1 443 TITUS SCHADEGG Oklahoma Flyers – Tulsa
2 414 BRYCE WATSON Bentonville High School
3 418 LEVI GARRETT (PTS Conway Composite
4 420 ETHAN UHLFELDER Conway Composite
5 419 TAYLOR SMITH Conway Composite
1 637 STERLING OSKAR MINICK Rogers All Mountain 9
2 636 STIHL SNYDER Poteau Public Schools
3 644 TATE MCCALL Providence Classical
4 625 CHARLES CARTER Bentonville West High
5 657 FINN PARKER Hot Springs
Top 3 Varsity Boys, Bryan, Jacob, and Cayden – all smiles at the finish.
Titus Schadegg, sophomore rider, navigates the course.
There’s something about the mud that makes boys smile. Oscar Minick from Rogers RAMS.
Team Results – High School
First Place Team Haas Hall Academy
Second Place Team Bentonville High School
Third Place Team Conway Composite
Small Team Results
First Place Small Team Hot Springs Thoroughbreds High School
Second Place Small Team Pea Ridge High School
Third Place Small Team Lincoln Consolidated High School
Photo Credit: Rick Rodgers and Michael Roys.
Hot Springs Thoroughbreds. Our host team and winner of our first small team award.
NICA – People for Bikes Economic Impact Study
This season, NICA has partnered with People for Bikes to study the economic impact NICA races have on our community and we need YOUR help! Please take 5 minutes to complete the following short survey about last weekend’s race. Your participation will provide valuable information that will enable NICA to share the positive impact league events have on our state and within our communities. Survey participants will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win cool prizes, including a free race entry! You can access the survey HERE.
Thank you again for your help with and participation in this important study!
Arkansas League Volunteer Hours
Being good stewards is an important aspect of being a mountain biker. Each student athlete in the Arkansas NICA League is to do 10 hours of volunteer work and turn it in by October 25. On our final race results, when the series winners are tallied, you will see an extra 25 points added to each student athlete’s season score who has completed and turned in their volunteer hours form. Student Athletes are to keep track of their own hours on the form. There are potential volunteer hours coming up Sunday October 21 at 1 pm at the Passion Play in Eureka Springs.