A note from Daphne Kirkwood,  founder of the non-profit iDream Athletes Foundation and owner and Race Director of iDaph Events.

Today I am here to give you updates regarding iDream Athletes Foundation and the winter programs that we typically would be starting soon.

The iDream Athletes Foundation helps to fund two, community athletic programs: the Asheville Winter Bike League (AVL WBL), and the Asheville Swim League (AVL SWL). Year after year, these two - group style, winter training programs have helped provide safe, donation-based training opportunities that have been welcoming and inviting for all abilities of our community athletes to attend and participate. During these two programs, athletes have worked towards a common goal of improving their cycling and swimming skills, no matter how experienced they are. Both programs promote fitness, skill-training, mental and physical well being, and a chance for community members to connect and spend time with others who share a common interest.

Over the last few months I have been brainstorming on how in the world we can do these group rides and group swims safely. Each and every time I go down various possibilities with new plans, they all seem to fall short of the original vision and mission of what these training programs are intended to do. Trust me, I have been more determined than ever to keep fun, safe happenings going on through this pandemic, and we at iDaph Events have successfully produced safe, socially-distanced and wave and rolling start style events over the past few months. However, this method for these particular programs just do not meet the need of the community and the purpose of what they are supposed to do.

The safety risks due to the pandemic are just too high to potentially endanger the lives of our community members — many of whom are older — because these programs are group-based with very little opportunity for social distancing.

It seems that there really is no other choice for the 2020/2021 AVL WBL and WSL , that we just cannot conduct either of these programs this year in the safe and collaborative environment to which we are accustomed.

Instead, we will focus on having an even better 2021! We will continue to gather donations for the iDream Athletic Foundation through iDaph Events that we are able to produce safely, and these funds will help build an even stronger athletic community in the near future. We also have some money that we can award as ‘community-based’ scholarships for adult athletes that may be struggling to purchase equipment that is needed to keep training or to pay for a dream race.

We encourage you to keep pushing towards your athletic goals and find other ways to stay motivated this winter. In fact, I would love for you all to share the creative ways you are staying motivated on the bike as the cold weather settles in..

Keep dreaming about a not-so-far-away future where we can gather in close groups once again and share our common goal for fitness.

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