Spring 2020
Inclusive - Equal - Strong Body - Strong Mind - Strong Character

COVID 19 Season update

Unfortunately, we are done racing for the 2020 season. No this is not an April Fools gag, that would be cruel.

It's only been a couple of weeks but it feels like months. By now I think we are all suffering from COVID-19 oversaturation. It's everywhere, in every state, all over the news, disrupting all of our lives, for a lot of us harming our livelihoods and for some threatening lives. We've moved from individual school districts and communities closing and/or restricting activities to a statewide school closure and now a statewide stay at home order. It seems like each week we get a new directive that kicks the possibility of resuming our season further and further down the road and making it less likely that we can salvage this season. As per NICA standards our spring season ends two weeks after our last race. If events had gone without interruption our season was scheduled to end on May 17th, two days after NC schools are allegedly set to reopen. Looking at how this situation has played out in other nations, it's unlikely that a single month of stay at home will see us to the other side of this.

If by some miracle this does happen to blow over by May 15th the league will face formidable challenges in ramping the league back up. We would need to rebuild an event schedule and replan and execute everything in a very short period of time **while** planning for the 2021 season. Venues would be a problem. Events are already planned at many venues for the summer so we face availability issues. It's highly doubtful any community will accept new event permits until this all blows over. Even if venues that can handle our size crowd are available, some events take months of work to plan and execute. Our race staff is all volunteer and like you, many have plans for the summer. Are our trained people even available to help run events? There is also a safety concern, not everyone is able to get out and ride and train. Without the steady effort of an uninterrupted season how long will it take for teams to re-engage and our student athletes to be ready to jump back into full blown racing? Every race event we know of this spring has been cancelled or pushed to the fall so those race opportunities to stay fit outside of NICA are closed to everyone.

There is a bigger question of what will the rest of the school year look like for all of our children? Will the school year get extended? Will school events get rescheduled? Will there even be a school year? For seniors like my daughter, what happens with graduation? If the league ramps back up, will we get in the way of that?

We've had folks ask us about racing through the summer or even into the fall. First off we are a spring league and NICA does not support year round racing for a variety of reasons. Second, that would exclude all of our seniors as they have graduated and are no longer eligible to participate in NICA. Racing through the summer will also severely impact our ability to plan and prepare for the 2021 season. No, we will not be racing in the fall and our season may not stretch into the next season.

In a season of uncertainty, it's exceedingly difficult to function effectively. So at this point we have to end the race season.

Key points:
* All races are cancelled and cannot be rescheduled.
* NCICL will not be declaring category or team champions for the 2020 season.
* League events such as clinics and coach training are cancelled.
* Team rides and practices are suspended.
* The season remains suspended.
* New student-athlete, coach and race registrations are closed for the season.

Wait, why are you still using the word "suspended" isn't the season just cancelled?
Because, while we don't think we can make another race happen and we don't realistically see things starting up again... we still hope that, if we are wrong and everything clears up, maybe the league can do some sort of event in early summer or allow teams to get together a few more times to give everyone some sort of closure before disbanding for the summer. Call it hoping against hope.

What now?
* I paid for races that didn't happen - Yes you did. All race fees for races 2-5 will be refunded. You do not have to take any action to receive a race refund.
* I paid for a season of riding - We delivered a season of riding from Dec 1 till mid-March in addition to the preseason of Oct 15th till Dec 1 and the league registration fee is not refundable..... but these are unprecedented times. For that reason we are offering a $25 rebate for the 2020 season. This opt-in only and you may request your $25 rebate by using this form Season rebate form Requests are due by April 30th. Emails, texts, messages and phone calls will not be honored. There are a lot of us in the league and getting hit with requests from all directions means things get overlooked. Please use the form and make things easier for all of us.
* Race leaders - we will be reaching out to you to get your jersey sizes and we will ship you your leaders' jersey.
* GRiT ambassadors - We will ship you your ambassador jersey.

Seniors, your situation makes me the saddest. This is supposed to be your year. From your perspective, this is a cumulation of a lifetime of effort, struggle and joy. It's a time of "lasts" as a child and the beginning of "firsts" as a young adult. When the lasts come so abruptly it's hard to deal with. It's been a couple of weeks and I'm sure you are all wondering what is going to happen next. Will prom happen, will I ever step foot back into my school, will I get to walk in a commencement or are they just going to mail me my diploma, for the college bound how long with this last and what does it mean for the fall? In the face of those questions racing a bike..... it's not the biggest thing but it's an important thing and we wanted to share that experience with you.

Life changes come at you fast and while there is always uncertainty there is an element of excitement for what's next. For me, I look forward to getting out and riding my bike as soon as I can and working to make that next a positive next. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and we'll let you know if anything changes.

Keep those cranks spinning and stay positive,

Mike Long
League Director