The Sea Otter Classic brought the NICA community together in a new way. NICA coaches, student-athletes, staff, and volunteers from all over the country raced in the same event and supported each other’s’ races. In-between races and rides, everyone came together at the booth to share stories. Over twenty-five NICA ambassadors and volunteers supported one another while reaching out and getting new families involved. A special thank-you from us to the Sea Otter Classic for donating our premium real-estate booth space!
The fun began with volunteers constructing the booth, which was in a choice location on Team Pit row between the Sho-Air Cannondale and LUNA Chix teams.
Friday was a rising tide of bicycle enthusiasm about how to form teams from scratch, and how the new Arizona, New York, and Tennessee Leagues were progressing. In the afternoon, CAT 1 NICA student-athletes prepared for the XC race. Some of the LUNA essay winners got the opportunity to meet up with the LUNA team for some warm-up tips on Friday and Saturday. Marla Streb said of the LUNA-NICA Athlete mentorship, “…It really puts things into perspective for the pro athletes, when we realize these youngsters are overcoming the same learning curve challenges that we faced years ago. So it was an honor mentoring them and hearing tips from world-classers Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould, Katerina Nash, and Teal Stetson-Lee. Hope we can do this again soon”.
On Saturday, LUNA’s Marla Streb hosted a hands-on clinic at the Sea Otter pump track. In the afternoon, Jeremiah Bishop of Sho-Air Cannondale led a dirt ride while cooling down from his Pro XC race. The morning Meet and Greet was well attended by NICA board members, staff, NorCal League Director Vanessa Hauswald, and many NICA ambassadors. A variety of additional people came by, from veteran coaches to people just learning about NICA.
The premier event of the weekend was the Saturday night red carpet screening of Singletrack High. Over one hundred professional athletes, industry insiders, and stars of the film were a part of the biggest audience yet! Filmmakers Isaac and Jacob Seigel-Boettner were in attendance and spoke about their film. The night ended with a VIP event and many guests joining the NICA Booster Club.
At the early hour of 6:00 AM Sunday, dedicated riders showed up and then fired-up their Kinetic trainers to prepare for the CAT 2 and CAT 3 races. A couple of last-minute bike repairs went down with the help of our onsite mechanic and parents. The weekend ended with a raffle for riders who had completed the Sponsor Scavenger Hunt.
Having a big, inter-League gathering at Sea Otter was indeed special. We can’t wait until next year. Mark your calendars for April 10-13, 2014.