Race Weekend FAQs
There's a lot to digest for first time NICA parents/racers, so this in-depth FAQ should cover everything you need to know - any other questions, please email Coach Michael or post your question on the Team Facebook Group.
Race Weekend Estimated Timelines
Each race will have a different Wave order. Example: 8th grade boys go Wave 1 at Gettysburg but they may be Wave 4 at Boyce.
Saturday - MIDDLE SCHOOL
9:00 am - Pre-Ride
10:45am - Wave 1 staging
11:00am - Racing begins
11:45am - Wave 2 Staging
1:15pm -Wave 3 staging
2:15pm - Wave 4 staging
3:00pm - Racing over
4:00pm - MS Awards
Evening - GRiT Rides & Adventure Rides
Sunday HIGH SCHOOL
8:00 am - Pre-Ride
9:15am - Wave 1staging
9:30am - Race starts
11:15am - Wave 2 Staging
1:15pm - Wave 3 staging
2:15pm - Wave 4 staging
3:30pm - Racing over
4:30pm - Awards
How are races grouped and what is the distance of a race?
Middle school races are grouped exclusively by grade and boy/girl. Race length lap is 2.5 miles average. All students ride 1 lap. If a student is fast enough to make a certain time cutoff (varies by each course), they qualify for a bonus lap and ride 2 laps.
High School races are by age, skill and boy/girl. Race length laps are at least 3/4 to 1mile longer than middle school. There are 4 race groups. Freshman (9th grade only), JV2 (10-12 grades), JV3 (top X% placement of all grades), Varsity (Top X% of JV3) - It's possible to be a 9th grade Varsity rider if you are strong enough. For number of laps, Freshman & JV2 typically do 2 laps (1 + bonus lap if qualify), JV3 is +1 lap, Varsity is another+1 lap. This year, ACCMTB is all Freshman and JV2, but I feel a few of our Blue groups may qualify to move to JV3.
Race Entry Fees
When do I have to arrive for my race?
We will know all the race waves at least 1 week of ahead of race to plan your travel. Ideally, you will want to come out for all the races on your day. Its a fun way to cheer on your teammates and watch all the action. However, we know schedules may not permit that, so report to the team tent no later than 1hr before your race. This gives us time to look over your bike, get race plate attached, etc. We like to do little warmup rides too before your race, so sooner you are there the better.
Do we have to attend the entire race?
No. You have your students race waves schedule in advance to help your planning for arrival/departure. You can come and go after your student's race. If you can stay to cheer on teammates - awesome!
Do we have to attend both days?
No. This is biggest change for 2021 with all races split on Sat/Sun. It is a bummer not to be able to see everyone race on the same day, but PICL is too big to safely pull this off anymore (all larger NICA leagues are 2 days). This does make it challenging for families with MS and HS kids as you will need to find lodging to stay the weekend.
General Race Rules and Guidance:
Distances - Lodging
Families may opt for very long travel days or find lodging the night before their race to participate in pre-rides, etc. Middle school races aren't bad, since they start 11am, but high school races start 930am. If you are in Wave 1 at Pittsburg, you will be leaving 430-445am to arrive onsite around 8am to get situated and at team tent by 830.
Gives your student a chance to ride the race course to know what to expect on a race. These are always helpful, but not mandatory. A coach must be present to pre-ride. If you cant make pre-rides, we will be sure to give your student as much info on the course to help them out. Pre-rides are sometimes the evening and always on the morning of the races. They are cancelled if weather is not cooperating, so you may drive all that way for nothing. We will do our best to send heads up on conditions all weekend via TeamSnap.
A special girls only pre-ride of the course. MS girls are Friday night, HS girls on Saturday night. You must tell coach Michael if you want to ride as we RSVP as a team.
All races except Granite Hill have a fun adventure ride. They are on both Sat and Sun. Teams signup for time slots and ride a specially designed course with interactive activites every mile or so. A super fun way to build team friendships. Rides are led by team coaches and we will do them if we have enough interest / coach availability at each race.
We have a very large team now, and you may need help with rides, may be willing to take a student along whose parent can't attend a certain weekend. Please use our Facebook Family Group page or TeamSnap App Chat to talk with other parents.
Each team has a dedicated area where we setup (See top picture) We have a giant 10x20 tent that also has sides we can put up if its rainy and/or cold (we've used them for sure!) We have bike racks, tables for food, and BYO camp chairs. We realize that 2021 COVID social distancing is going to be huge challenge, so we may just use the tent area for bikes/repairs and then find a team spot along the course to hang out.
IMPORTANT - STUDENTS MAY NOT HAVE CAFFEINE DRINKS OR SPORTS GELS ON RACE DAYS!
We have parent signup sheets where people bring munchies like bagels, doughnuts, fruits, individual chip bags, water/sports drinks, etc and if we are lucky COFFEE for Parents! We will have signups on Team Snap for you to let us know what you will bring. With this year being split, food needed is much lower on MS Sat and Higher on HS Sunday. We have several students with Peanut Allergies and we need to be careful not cross contaminate.
For real food, there are on-site food trucks at each event, but everyone chipping in to bring general snacks/food helps keeps costs lower for the team :-)
Go Bags - MANDATORY!!!
You must have a bag that contains everything you need to race. Pack and verify GoBag contents the night before you leave. This means you only need to remember to load your Bike and GoBag to attend the race. Year after year, students show up missing their jersey, race plates, etc and coaches are scrambling to make it work, but in some cases, the student was not able to race.
You can get a super fancy Pedal Industries Bike MTB bag or Target/Walmart large duffel/sports bag. Whatever you get, make sure it fits everything on checklist!
Race Day Changing
We have a portable changing tent for your students. You can wear arrive in warm/comfy travel gear, change in and out biking gear for races, and back to comfy for the rest of the day. Many races get wet/muddy, so you want a clean dry set of clothes! All race venues have portable-potties.
Race Number Plates
Each student is assigned a permanent race plate with name and number. You will use this every race and it is your responsibility to bring it and have on your bike when at the venues. Each race, we will zip tie your plate on, and then take it off after the race so it doesn't get damaged/lost on drives home. If you forget your plate, its a 20$ fee at race to get a temporary plate.
Home Team Volunteers for Gettysburg
There's a ton of work each race by volunteers - Saturday setting up race courses, Sunday getting people directing parking, registration, selling souvenirs, assist with lap counting, course marshals, etc and tear down. Each team is assigned one race to recruit parents/friends/family to help. This allows other teams to hit the road after the races and PICL knows they have all tasks covered.
We are assigned Gettysburg which makes it really easy for us to help. Be ready to pitch in if you can and find a friend or two to help, especially for Saturday setup and Sunday breakdown. There will be online signup sheets week prior to race and we'll be sure to pitch in and represent our region with a great turnout!
2021 Race Dates Information
Sep 11/12 - Gettysburg
Sep 18/19 - Boyce Big Ring (Pittsburg/Monroeville Exit)
Oct 2/3 - Fair Hill, MD
Oct 16/17 - Johnstown
Oct 23 - PICL Jam: Raystown TBD