With racing in NorCal, SoCal, and Texas moving into mid-season, and a range of other exciting efforts underway, NICA is rolling in the big ring! With so much going on, I will keep this brief.
We are thrilled to have reached the milestone of more than 1,000 student-athletes participating in Spring League races. Under NICA’s guidance, there are more high school cyclists than ever before, and the New York League hasn’t even held its first race yet this spring.
Meanwhile, our coach education program is booming, with more than sixty new coaches attending summits in Utah and Arizona this past month, and an updated version of our popular Coaches Manual just released. We are also gearing up for additional coach trainings in Minnesota, Colorado and Tennessee. Interest continues to grow!
Screenings of our long-awaited NICA documentary, Singletrack High, have hit full stride with more than a dozen showings already as part of an unfolding national tour. The film wonderfully captures the essence of the high-school cycling movement and is a compelling statement of the power of the bike community to bring out the best in individuals.
At the fast end of our growing peloton, we are stoked to hear that three NorCal League riders have been selected for the U.S. National Team to contest the Pan Am Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Tucuman, Argentina, April 4-7. Congratulations to Shayna Powless (U-23 women), Lucas Newcomb (Junior Men XC), and Kate Courtney (Junior Women XC).
Lastly, development efforts are picking up. The John Wayne Cancer Foundation joined NICA to educate youth to “bring courage, strength and grit to the fight against cancer.” Also, CycleFest Benefits in both Utah and Colorado are taking shape.
With growing interest from varying regions of the country, NICA needs your support in order to expand opportunities for even more young adults to develop a strong bodies, strong minds, and strong character. Thanks for your continued involvement, and I look forward to seeing you soon at an upcoming race or event!
NICA Booster Grants Awarded
The NICA Booster Fund is a program focused on increasing overall access to NICA programs by providing support to NICA student-athletes, teams, and coaches from underrepresented areas and disadvantaged backgrounds. The Booster Fund gives individual scholarships, stipends, and grants to offset expenses directly related to participation in NICA League and team activities. By covering these expenses, the fund also provides support for NICA Leagues and helps to ensure the sustainable development and funding of League staff, programs, and activities. The NICA Booster Fund is instrumental in supporting NICA’s mission to offer every American teen the opportunity to strengthen his or her their body, mind, and character through participation in NICA high-school mountain biking.
Through the generosity of our Booster Club donors, NICA has awarded nineteen mini-grants to deserving student-athletes, coaches, and teams in the Spring Leagues, totaling close to $10,000. This money is primarily used to purchase or improve bikes, cover registration fees, and/or cover travel and lodging expenses.
To make sure all interested parties had the opportunity to apply, we invited and are currently reviewing a second wave of applicants Information about Booster Fund Grants for upcoming Fall and Spring League Leaders Summits, as well as Fall Leagues student-athletes, coaches, and teams, will be made available early this fall.
NICA’s 2013 new Leagues--New York, Arizona and Tennessee--all have, or will soon be receiving, formation grants to offset costs associated with starting new Leagues. These grants further the mission of growing high-school cycling from coast to coast by 2020.
If you would like to read more about the NICA Booster Fund and make a contribution, click here. We encourage anyone that has been impacted by this movement to get involved. Thank you for your support!
Come Connect with NICA at the Sea Otter Classic!
The Sea Otter Classic is quickly approaching, and NICA will be there with a booth to support all student-athletes and coaches who are competing and to provide an opportunity for members from the NICA community to connect. Big thanks to the Sea Otter Classic for donating our booth space! Check out all of our activities here, including: discounted registration, student-athlete support, team LUNA Chix Essay Contest, skills clinic with superstar Marla Streb, NICA Sponsor scavenger hunt, and much more.
Utah Leader Summit Success
On March 16-17, 2013, the Utah League held its second annual Leaders' Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. As usual, Lee McCormack's MTB 101 was a hit and loved by all who took it. Lori Harward, Utah League Director, said her favorite comment regarding the summit was from an attendee in MTB 101 whose spouse—a NICA head coach--attended last year's leaders’ summit: "Yah, my wife took MTB 101 last year and now she's scary fast, so I had to come this year and see what Lee taught her!"
While most of our forty-six attendees were new coaches and volunteers, the leaders' summit was attended by experienced coaches, board members, and a media promoter. Seminar classes included a broad range of topics from “How to Start a High-School Mountain Bike Team” to “Nutrition, Training & Training Plans,” “Bike Fit,” and “Managing Riders at the Top.”
NorCal Race #3, Bringing it back together.
News from the Spring Leagues: NorCal, SoCal and Texas
Vanessa Hauswald, NorCal League Director:
The NorCal High-School Cycling League brought its North and South Conferences together on March 24 for the largest single race in NorCal's thirteen year history. With everyone back together, and team and individual points reset to zero, the heat was on, and the riders showed up ready to cook. The race showcased incredible weather, sportsmanship and motivation, as the student-athletes threw down their best efforts on the flowy Granite Bay singletrack.
SoCal Race #3, Beach to Boulders.
Matt Gunnel, SoCal League Director:
At its last race, the SoCal League had 344 student-athletes racing at a brand new venue at Lake Perris State Recreation Area. The course was unique and consisted of several sections crossing the beach with quite possibly one of the best infield setups ever, as the start chute crossed the middle of the Specialized Pit Zone, which was on a comfortable carpet of lush grass. Parents had the ability to watch their kids crossing back and forth through the beach with the lake as a backdrop. With on-site camping and great tight racing, look for the venue to return in 2014 with some additional tweaks to make it even better.
Texas Race #2, Tight race between 2nd, 3rd and 4th place Fresh/Soph Girls.
Vance McMurry, Texas League Director:
The Texas League has grown by 68% from last year to 101 student-athletes currently. The most recent race was contested on the hardest course in the League's short history at Reveille Peak Ranch (rprtexas.com), which was 6.3 miles long with 483 feet of climbing per lap. The student-athletes crushed the challenging course, especially the girls field which exploded by 400% from last year to 21 total riders. The Texas League is headed to Glen Rose, Texas next for the Dinosaur Duel at Solovaca Ranch on April 14, 2013. This is just an hour’s drive from the megalopolis of Dallas and Ft. Worth, so we are hoping for some new high schools to join the fun! The State Championship race will be held at Huntsville State Park on May 5, 2013, which is also just an hour’s drive from Houston.
Sponsor Acknowledgements: Trek Bicycle and Cannondale
NICA is pleased to launch a new column in our newsletter highlighting NICA sponsors. NICA’s momentum and groundbreaking high-school mountain bike programs, in eight states and growing, is only possible with the generous support of our sponsors. We are pleased to initiate this new column with profiles of a long-standing supporter of high school cycling--Trek--as well as a newcomer to the movement--Cannondale.
Trek Bicycle Renews and Expands Support for High School Cycling
Trek Bicycle is a global leader in the design and manufacture of bicycles and related products. Trek believes the bicycle can be a simple solution to many of the world's most complex problems, and is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent people from using bicycles more often for transportation, recreation, and inspiration. Trek’s support, from the beginning of NICA’s inception in 2010, exemplifies Trek’s mission. Trek Platinum level support has helped make racing more accessible to NICA student-athletes, fueled programs and educational materials available to NICA coaches, and greatly contributed to NICA’s annual budget for hiring staff and focusing on the mission of taking NICA coast to coast by 2020.
"Supporting NICA is supporting the future of US mountain biking, and we’re excited to be part of ensuring that young athletes can not only participate, but do so on the best equipment available," said Trek Director of Advocacy, Brandon Buth.
In addition to its financial support for the growing program, Trek has chosen a selection of their most popular mountain bikes to offer to NICA student-athletes at prices that are more attainable on high school budgets. This program is available only to NICA student-athletes, and marks Trek’s commitment to breaking down financial barriers to getting kids on bikes.
“With a long-history in the cycling world, Trek is always pushing the industry forward not only with innovative products and designs, but also with action in the advocacy realm,” said NICA Executive Director Austin McInerny. “From within the race peloton to the halls of Congress, the Trek brand is synonymous with quality, integrity, and leadership. Trek has been supportive of the high-school cycling movement from the beginning, and we are honored to continue and expand our collaboration to grow youth cycling across the United States."
Cannondale Joins High-School Cycling Movement as Bronze Level Supporter
Families across the nation are faced with a wide range of expenses in raising children, and NICA coach and family surveys have identified the cost of participating in high-school cycling as a hurdle for participation. In response, authorized Cannondale dealers will offer NICA student-athletes and coaches discounts on all Cannondale mountain bikes, as well as on several road and cyclocross models. “Cannondale remains committed to the growth of mountain biking for both the elite and the recreational athlete,” said Bob Burbank, Global General Manager for Cannondale. “This partnership with NICA provides us with another avenue to make our vast majority of bikes more accessible to a new, younger generation of cyclists as part of our continuing efforts to promote the health and fitness benefits of riding.”
Austin McInerny, NICA’s Executive Director, explained “This partnership is of great value to those in the NICA family, and Cannondale adds some very significant options to the range of great bikes that we can make available to our student-athletes and coaches at highly accessible prices.”
NICA encourages all involved in the movement to support Trek and Cannondale, as well as all our other generous sponsors. Stay tuned for next month’s profile of additional organizations that are growing high-school cycling!
We're moved in... almost
The NICA office has settled in nicely to our new space. We have added the essentials; computers, bikes, and a ping-pong table (thank you Dirt Rag for the donation). However, we are still in need of a couple office equipment items. If you have any of the following lying around please email firstname.lastname@example.org and send a picture and description.
▪ Conference Table
▪ Lobby Funiture
▪ Bike stands
Thank you, the NICA design team.
Free Digital subscription to switchback magazine to all NICA Members
From the award winning publisher, Move Press, a FREE digital subscription to switchback magazine is being offered to all NICA members. Just click here to register and get instant delivery of your 1st issue of the freshest, most insightful and honest voice covering mountain biking today. As a NICA member, you can also save 25% off the regular print subscription price. Just click here to take advantage of this exclusive offer."
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Upcoming Calendar Events:
▪ April 7, NorCal Race #4
▪ April 13-14, Arizona Leader Summit #2 in Prescott
▪ April 14, SoCal Race #4 & Texas Race #3
▪ April 20-21, Minnesota Leaders’ Summit
▪ April 26-27, Colorado Leaders’ Summit
▪ April 28, New York Race #1 & NorCal Race #5
Note: be sure to check the Singletrack High screening calendar for showings near you.