The NICA race at Chester: No children were included in the writing of this blog

´╗┐-by Norm Zurawski´╗┐

NICA has been a great vehicle for getting kids out of the house and on their bikes. As I’ve gotten more involved in this scene, I want to get even more involved. But as a boat needs water, a train needs rails, an airplane needs air, and the tires of your bike need dirt, these kids need something that allows them to do what they do. In this case, that would be the adults that put things together, make it all happen, then tear it all apart for another day.

Here’s a look at NICA’s water, rails, air, and dirt. Here’s the fuel that allows the fire to burn so bright.

League Director Ken Seebeck kicks off the day with a coaches meeting, while Robin looks down and pretends not to hear what he’s saying. Shortly after, it will become apparent why she doesn’t want to listen. In the background, photographer Don Madsen braces for impact while BJ looks off to the distance, wishing he were elsewhere.
Don readies himself for the day of taking many, many pictures of kids on bikes. Don can be found at Don Madson Photography.
League director Ken faces the crew and let’s them know the bad news this morning.
The look captured on the coached faces here is in response to Ken announcing that this is not a meeting for free cake, but in fact a pre-race coaches discussion. As you can see, much disappointment abounds. Eric, Lars, Steve, and Pete are not amused. Even the child at the bottom looks disappointed.
Jason, the original founder of MTBNJ before giving up control of it long ago, has obviously not heard the news. Either that or he’s smart enough to bring his own cake. Jason designs every NICA course these kids ride on. Every turn, every speed scrubbing element, every inch of each course can be credited to Jason.
Amy & Gareth outside the Veloraptors tent. They are the taxi drivers for Trystan, who not only races mountain bikes, and cross bikes, but also does cross country, track and field, and sleeps in cardboard boxes to fundraise for the homeless, as well as his brother Peter who also races bikes and sleeps in boxes.
Sonia, mother of Tobey & Dylan, joins the fun. Here. they share a laugh at the thought of sleeping in a cardboard box. “Silly, silly children,” one of them says. “What will they think of next? Riding road bikes in muddy fields? HAHAHAHAHA!”
“Seriously, do you have any cake or better yet, maybe some bourbon? This is a long day out there just talking and talking and talking. Can’t you help?” -Danielle.
Dominique, mother of Zac, also serves as soccer mom for Zac & his brother Simon who is too young for NICA. Much of her time Sunday was spent making sure the soccer ball didn’t end up on the course. Her birthday was the previous day so she had plenty of cake. Thus the smile.
“So when they said FREE CLIFF I assumed that you were going to set up some kind of jump the kids could launch off all day, right over there. I mean the food is great, don’t get me wrong. But I was thinking this would keep them occupied all day. Now what do I do?” -Chris F.
When in doubt, the adults store the children in the trees to ensure we know where they are later. Sometimes it’s hard to remember where they all went if you allow them to run around freely. Not pictured: The Kid Kages ™.
Here is a picture of some of the kids in response to an adult, somewhere, asking for help with something. Or to clean their rooms.
Dominique takes a break during the 3rd race of the day in the woods while I take pictures. In this picture, she contemplates the empty hand, a hand which could be filled with free cake if things had gone differently on the day. Or, she contemplates why she would sit on a rock surrounded by poison ivy.
Veloraptor coaches Pete and Dominique enjoy a small window of down time when the day is almost over. Here, Pete is thinking, “You know, I don’t so much care about the cake thing like Norm does but I wish we had a six pack of beer somewhere. We need to put that on the agenda for 2020.”
It’s hard to believe, but BJ and Ken both stay under this tent the whole day. They’re not allowed to come out until the end. BJ uses the hat to swat Ken to the other side of the tent much of the time.
As the patch of shadow under the tent gets smaller and smaller, tensions rise and BJ considers just giving up, going into the sun, and melting away. Armed with the results, Ken can finally emerge and start the awards ceremony.
I don’t have anything goofy to say about this picture. But these 2 ladies whose names I do not know helped out with the awards today. After I took this she asked me if I wanted her to move out of the picture. Nope, the picture is you on this occasion.
Don Madson gets a front row seat for the podium pics. It’s a long day for Don, and we appreciate everything he does for the NICA races.
Unable to find any bourbon, Danielle confined herself to the shade as well. As the day wore on, the temps rose higher and higher which was in stark comparison to last year’s Chester race.
“I don’t know how it works out like this every time, but they print this stuff so small and I never remember to bring my glasses. I’ll just come as close as I can with these names. They know when to walk up to the front anyway.” -BJ
“I so regret now not getting cake for all of us this morning.” -Ken

As you can see, a lot goes into these days. Unfortunately, most of it ends up being hard work & organization, and very little of it is flour, sugar, eggs, and chocolate. But in the end, we all baked up a pretty awesome day for the 3rd NICA race of the season.

See you in 2 weeks at Six Mile! I promise I won’t mention cake anymore! (I’m probably lying)