Early last year, when it was announced that there would be a NICA league in Oregon, I (Shane Johnson) was ecstatic!! NICA you say, what is that?! NICA stands for National Interscholastic Cycling Association, a National (of course) organizing body that provides the structure for individual states to have a MTB racing league that you could compare to traditional High School sports like soccer and football! Here at Dryve, we've been very fortunate to have been able to sponsor amazing NICA athletes across the country. We have also worked closely with a couple teams in the Utah and California leagues getting to see, firsthand, how awesome it is.
Fast forward to this past weekend, where the second season in Oregon was about to start with the Newport Gnarnia race on the Oregon Coast! The number of riders registered for the season had nearly tripled, over the prior season, which had created quite a bit of excitement about how quickly the league is getting established!
Dryve has partnered with the Rogue Composite team, hailing from Southern Oregon, so Landon (a Dryve Factory Racing athlete) and I headed over the mountains, and through the woods to come support the Rogue 'Vultures'.
To break up the four-hour drive we took a brief, well, maybe semi-brief stop to get some swimming and cliff jumping in on the Santiam River. It was just a little awesome and beautiful! Haha.
We did manage to make it, almost on time, quickly getting into our riding gear before heading out to meet the team halfway through their first course recon lap. Offering some riding tips, and of course, enlightening them about the extra watts gained from whoops and hollers while riding, we had a blast getting to rally around a really well made course. Plenty of good passing opportunities on open double track climbs and fun swoopy descents with just enough roots to keep you honest, the Newport crew nailed it the course layout.
After quick post-ride meeting, Landon and I went and rallied on a few other trails in the area that were in prime condition, thanks to the light drizzle.
Recovery is always important, which means replacing glycogen, and what better way than with Root Beer Floats, right?! So, we headed to the local bike shop, Newport Bikes where the Newport Team was serving them up as a fundraiser! So much yum!
Next morning, I was setup at the team tent, trying my best to be like Brad Copeland (best mechanic EVER), working out any last-minute kinks with the rider's bikes. Thankfully, nothing too serious came into the stand, so bikes were fixed and ready to be rallied in the rainy, wet conditions!
With the work done, it was time to switch to heckle mode, busting out the vuvuzelas and megaphone. The rain stayed relatively steady, but the temperatures weren't too brutal, making it quite enjoyable to be out heckling the riders as they hammered away on the course.
The day got even better, when some of the fastest girls on the day, joined Landon and me, pushing the heckling level off the charts!
After the race, we said our good-byes and headed back over the mountains semi-successfully running away from the heavy rain for a quick ride around Suttle Lake with the dogs!
It was a whirlwind weekend, but such a good one! Looking forward to our next adventures!