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Team FeXY Sponsorship: Trails For Youth

      By Stefan Raab
          Posted July 2015

Cycling is so much more than just a sport - a bike can be a toy, a sport, transportation, even an empowering tool. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association, or NICA (pronounced like bike-ah,) was formed to build strong minds, strong bodies and strong character through middle and high school mountain bike racing.

Last year the NICA Virginia league was founded and over 250 student athletes competed in a four-race series. My wife, Jennifer, and I founded the NOVA Composite team for kids in our area and from the start we wanted to make the sport accessible to anyone who wanted to race. In our first year NOVA Composite had 18 riders race and won the High School team state championships. We also saw our team members win the Varsity Girls and Middle School Boys state championships.

Cycling can be an expensive sport, luckily we were able to partner with trailsforyouth.org (TYO), a local non-profit whose mission is to teach kids to overcome obstacles on the trail and in life. Their established programs were already getting at-risk and underserved youth equipped with bikes and out on the trails. Through their after school trailblazers club, which serves three elementary schools - each with a majority of their population on free or reduced lunch - Trails for Youth gets kids out hiking, biking and fishing. For many students, it's their first meaningful exposure to nature. Every year a few new kids find a passion for mountain biking and want to go beyond the five local races hosted by TYO.

The NICA league provides a great next step for these kids and the partnership between the NOVA Composite team and TYO was a natural fit. As we all know, racing comes with additional costs - jerseys, travel expenses, race-entry fees - and these costs were limiting to some of the NOVA Composite riders. Last Fall the Team FeXY board felt that this need was a cause that matched the teams vision for community outreach. After extensive due diligence and through contributions from both the team and team members, a fund was created so TYO could provide financial assistance for qualified athletes to race as members of the NOVA Composite team. These students were able to participate in races across the state. FeXY donations helped provide equipment, jerseys, transportation, and race entry fees to multiple kids who would not have been able to participate otherwise.

We, as members of team FeXY, understand the value of being part of a team in what many consider an individual sport. It's more than just competing together and learning from each other, it's about building friendships and learning to support each other. I could go on and on about how many lives were impacted on our team with kids from all walks of life, but I think this thank you note from one of our athletes who benefited from the team’s contributions says it all.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help with TrailsForYouth.Org events, please reach out to me via email at stefan@mystique.com.

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