Assorted Coaches from all 9 Leagues, TX and UT League Directors and NICA Staff at Advanced Coach Training Clinic
While schools may be out for summer break, NICA is incredibly busy with a wide assortment of very exciting activities underway! This past month has been filled with a number of unique and innovative programs that I am proud to share with you in this edition of the NICA News.
Our Honorary Board has recently been configured with a wide assortment of individuals dedicated to helping expand interscholastic cycling opportunities and I am especially excited to report that one of our long-time supporters, GU Energy’s Brian Vaughan, is about to take on the arduous Colorado Trail to bring more attention and support to NICA’s Booster Club. Be sure to follow Brian’s epic adventure on our Facebook page starting later this week!
Through the generosity of Booster Club contributors, NICA was able to invite a select group of coaches from all nine leagues to travel to Park City, Utah for an intensive weekend of advanced skills development and teaching nearly 30 Utah League students and a few parents. Working with our skills guru, Lee McCormack, I was honored to help these fine coaches refine their teaching abilities that will be put to use instructing more new coaches who join the movement to expand cycling opportunities for more and more adolescents. With record setting heat during the weekend, we collectively drank a ton of CLIF, GU and Camelbak Elixir!
In other news, both NICA California Leagues recently held summer development camps that were extremely well received by participants while the New York League completed their inaugural race season. Students-athletes are participating on both the west and east coasts! No matter which league I visit, there are similarities in the attitude displayed by all coaches and the response from the student-athlete participants. One of the more powerful aspects of successful teams is the “all-inclusive” nature that Coach Allen shares in her observations about working with teenagers on the Tamalpais High School Team. Adult role-models who are compassionate and supportive of their students create an environment in which students not only learn to ride a bike, but also, more importantly, learn to be productive and caring members of their community. This is the power of high school cycling and one of the reasons why the Bicycle Retailer News and Industry Report recently reported that “NICA is an undisputed success story in fostering youth ridership”.
On behalf of the team here at NICA, we are excited to continue working hard over the summer months to bring our community opportunities from organizations that support our efforts and I encourage you to read the entirety of this newsletter to learn what a “muddy buddy” is; how you can stay hydrated; and how to stay true to the “Spirit of Howdy”. Lastly, if you care to dig a bit deeper into what NICA accomplished in the past year, I encourage you to review our 2012 Annual Report.
Sincerely, Austin McInerny
GU Energy Co-Founder/CEO Brian Vaughan packs his bag for big ride!
GU Energy CEO Rides Across Colorado Mountains in Support of Youth
Parent, cyclist, past NICA board member and enthusiastic sponsor, GU Energy co-founder/CEO Brian Vaughan has been involved with the high school mountain biking movement for seven years. He’s motivated to help this movement grow because he believes that modern conveniences and distractions are taking us away from healthy exercise and even daily movement. In celebration of the movement, and in support of the NICA Booster Club, Brian is riding the Colorado Trail Race, which includes 485 high country miles between Durango and Denver that climb nearly 70,000 vertical feet. Unsupported. No SAG vehicles. No hotels. Brian does not expect to set any records; his goal is simply to finish, celebrate the movement, and support kids along the way! Brian invites you to join the NICA Booster Club to ensure that all students have access (with scholarships for students in need, and grants to support teams from low-income regions) and help jump-start leagues where they do not already exist. Now through the end of the August, you will also receive some very generous gifts from both GU Energy and NICA for joining. Click here to learn more and let’s all shout 'Go Brian!' Please follow Brian's updates on the NICA Facebook page here.
NICA Skills Development Director, Lee McCormack imparting Mountain Biking Acumen
NICA Advanced Coach Training Clinic with Lee McCormack
During the last weekend in June, NICA hosted an inaugural 2-day advanced coach training clinic in Utah, flying in selected coaches from all 9 leagues around the country! Austin McInerny, NICA Executive Director, and Lee McCormack, owner of Lee Likes Bikes and creator of the Lee Likes Bikes Training Method, facilitated the program aimed at expanding the number of licensed skills instructors to help teach coaches in the best practices for improving student-athlete riding skills and minimizing risk. Utah League Director Lori Harward was on-hand over the weekend, ensuring the event went smoothly. Click here to read the full story.
2013 Utah Advanced Coach Training Attendees
Ready to hit the trails at the NorCal League Development Camp
2013 NorCal League Development Camp Wrap-Up
This year’s camp was open to all skill levels of riders, and for those who came it was truly a memorable experience. The camp was held at the Mendocino Woodlands in the heart of the Mendocino coastal forest. As they approached the camp, the kids that commuted with the NorCal Staff were in awe of the location, as one kid was quoted as saying “this is going to be awesome." Click here to read more about the 2013 NorCal Development Camp.
2013 SoCal League Development Camp Wrap-Up
The atmosphere at the inaugural SoCal League Development Camp was positive with everyone embracing the new experience! The student-athletes were full of energy, attentive and hungry to learn. Coaches were super stoked to be involved and enthusiastic to impart knowledge. The camp consisted of 32 student-athletes broken into 4 teams (including 9 girls) with two coaches each. This year's camp had a balanced combination of timed events, long rides, learning, and fun! Click here to read more about the 2013 SoCal League Development Camp.
2013 SoCal League Camp attendees ready to take on the course
New York League Closing their inaugural Race Season
New York League Has Successful Close to Inaugural Race Season
The New York High School Mountain Bike League closed out their inaugural race season with the successful Williams Lake Fat Tire XC that attracted nearly 50 racers from nine different teams across the state.
"We had an incredible first year of high school mountain biking here in New York," said NY League Director Jason Cairo. "We were so successful because we had an amazing team of leaders, coaches, volunteers and parents who banded together."
The 4-mile course at Williams Lake was packed with technical single-track, climbs and descents that tested even the best high school rider. There were also several exciting caves in the course that the mountain bikers had the opportunity to ride by and through, providing natural air conditioning in the 90 degree heat.
Congratulations New York on a great season!
Tamalpais HS Freshmen Boys racing at Granite Bay - Photo by Brian Sakamoto
All-Inclusive Team Environment Pays Dividends in Team Growth
Recently, NorCal League team Tamalpais High School has seen dramatic growth, especially in the number of girls participating. Coach Christy Allen provides insights on the growth and the overall success of the team this year. Read more about Coach Allen and the Tamalpais High School team here.
"Following the growth of student-athletes during the season is the most rewarding experience for me. For some athletes the biggest gains come in building endurance, for others being able to ride sections of trail they previously couldn’t marks their success. Teenagers are enthusiastic, energetic, funny, and they seek new challenges, which makes them a lot fun to be around." -Christy Allen, NorCal Coach, Tamalpais High School
Tamalpais High School Girls on race day - Photo by Nancy Puckett
Get Muddy & Have Fun!
Buddy Up and Take on the Mud Pit!
REI Muddy Buddy is a proud partner of NICA and will be digging up a Mud Pit near you this season! There are great options for the whole family – saddle up for the two-person Bike and Run or take on the partner Mud Run. In the Bike and Run teams of two must leapfrog, advance on foot and by bike through a 6-7 mile obstacle course and complete 5 unique challenges. The Mud Run has 8-10 obstacles along the way and teammates must stay together at all times. Partners In Grime finish in the infamous 50' mud pit together as Muddy Buddies. The Mud Pit is not just for big kids, there's a start time for our Mini Muddy Buddies too. Kids 4-11 year old will tackle the same mud pit as the adults. REI Muddy Buddy is proud to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Don’t miss out on the action, REGISTER for a mud pit near you! Use code BIKEMUD to SAVE $20* on your team entry fee. To get the dirty details visit the REI Muddy Buddy website.
*$20 savings is valid on Team Registration in San Jose and Los Angeles ONLY. Online code must be redeemed before online registration closes for the respective events.
Lori Harward, recipient of the 2012 Easton Foundations' League Founders Award
NICA Launches Innovative Campaign: First Full Page Ad Hits the Press!
Since 2009, Easton Foundations has been a significant supporter of NICA's mission to develop high school mountain biking programs for student-athletes and coaches across the United States.
To recognize those who epitomize those values, NICA holds its Annual Awards to honor a small number of individual student-athletes, coaches and individuals across all leagues for their accomplishments. Awards are named after key sponsors and supporters, including the Easton Foundations’ League Founders Award.
NICA has launched an innovative print-media campaign highlighting award recipients and the generous sponsors behind the growing high school cycling movement. The first full-page advertisement features the Easton Foundations’ League Founders Award winner in the August/September 2013 issue of switchback magazine.
This award recognizes an individual’s commitment, enthusiasm and perseverance in launching a new NICA league. The 2012 recipient of the Easton Foundations' League Founders Award was Utah League Director, Lori Harward. Over the past two years, Lori has worked tirelessly to launch a new league that provided coach education, skills camps and a four race series that served nearly 300 high school student-athletes in their first year. Congratulations, Lori!
All the Essentials to Keep You Fueled for Success!
Stay Hydrated, Stay Strong with Camelbak
According to a recent study by a leading research organizations in hydration, as little as 3-4% body mass loss reduces muscle strength by 2%. Staying hydrated throughout a race or long ride might just be the edge to overcome the competition and/or fatigue. First things first, staying hydrated keeps the body cooler and helps it perform better. By keeping fluid intake consistent throughout your entire ride your body will work more efficiently to deliver blood and nutrients to your muscles to improve endurance and postpone fatigue. So, before heading out on the next big ride this summer, fill up your CamelBak backpack and/or bottle and remember to stay hydrated! For more facts on how hydration can improve overall performance from strength to endurance, learn more from Camelbak's leading experts in hydration.
So remember to stay hydrated, especially sporting an excellent and rad Camelbak.
Thank you Camelbak for your long time support of NICA!
Click image to learn about 'Spirit of Howdy'
Spirit of Howdy Instagram Contest Winner
Congrats to Hannah Binder of the SoCal League! She won NICA's Spirit of Howdy Instagram Photo contest with the image submitted here! Hannah wins a pair of Maxxis Tires, a copy of Singletrack High and a one-of-a-kind NICA designed t-shirt! Way to show your spirit of howdy and nice artistic direction Hannah!