Kimberly’s Story

March 25, 2024

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Written by: Gabby Huffman

Kimberly Roane is navigating life as a middle school girl and being part of NICA’s GRiT program has provided a support system that lifts her up both on and off the trail.

But it wasn’t always that way. "At the first race, I remember feeling sick to my stomach. Everyone was quiet and nervous."

As the season went on, Kimberley started to take advantage of the Girls Riding Together initiative. She participated in a GRiT activity every month, getting to know her teammates and female coaches. With each passing GRiT event Kimberly became more and more comfortable, and what began as nerves and uncertainty evolved to confidence and genuine friendships.

"GRiT is so amazing! If you had told me [at my first race] that those girls would become friends, I would not have believed you! But over the past two years, little words like 'good job today' or 'good luck' have gone a long way. These past two years of racing with each other have built a relationship of good sportsmanship and friendship."

Amongst these friendships, Kimberley found a special connection with her peer and competitor, Kassidee Kidd. "In the second year, at our first race, I remember it was raining, and the team tents were a little ways away. Kassidee came up to me and invited me to sit under her family's tent by the racecourse. We talked about how we both felt about the race and our goals in the future. Since then, our friendship has just grown more and more with each race. Don't get me wrong, we are still competitive during races, and we both strive for that #1 spot, but at the start and finish lines, we are friends.”

"Don't get me wrong, we are still competitive during races, and we both strive for that #1 spot, but at the start and finish lines, we are friends."

What makes the NICA experience unique among middle and high school sports is the emphasis on community and inclusivity as core values, and it is something that Kimberley has noticed making a difference in her self-confidence.

"I feel like at this age, especially in girls, there can be a lot of jealousy and comparing yourself to others; that's why I think the sportsmanship and camaraderie of NICA make such a big impact. It makes you feel safe and that you are good enough and deserve to be where you are. It also sparks a want for personal growth and inspires you to want to be a better person and competitor, making it a safe space free of insecurity and toxic competition."

She graduates from middle school racing this year and has been reflecting on the past two years. "Being part of the NICA community means a lot to me. It means if you fall off your bike, someone will help you up, and if your race doesn't go the way you planned, at the finish line, there are coaches and athletes who give you words of encouragement and help push you forward. It means you have a team family who pushes you to do your best and becomes your close friend. It means finding time in your week for fresh air and fun, and it means friendly competition and looking forward to the years of racing to come."

Next time she lines up at a NICA start line, Kimberley will become an official Davis High Mountain Bike team member. She can’t wait for four more years.

“I hope I can make it to the state championship and keep competing for years to come. I look forward to growing and improving each practice, and I hope even after I graduate, I can bike in college!”

NICA is proud to offer programs like GRiT that welcome more people into the world of mountain biking. You can help us continue to move the needle for inclusivity in cycling by joining our community of grassroots donors. NICA is a non-profit organization, which means that our work is largely fueled by the people who invest financially in our mission.

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