Since taking the helm of NICA, I have never been busier, and all of us at NICA are excited for everything that’s planned for 2013. We are off to a strong start this year, having just held a super-successful Awards Ride Banquet at which we celebrated thirteen outstanding coaches, volunteers, contributors and student-athletes. With special guest host Lea Davison participating in both the ride and the dinner banquet, event attendees enjoyed great riding, fantastic food and libations, a “behind the scenes” look at Specialized Bicycle’s headquarters, Lea’s stories from the Olympics, and incredibly moving acceptance speeches from award recipients. I know I was not the only person there who was moved to tears upon hearing the positive impact high school cycling is having on families across the country.
While it’s great to celebrate last year’s successes, we are very much in 2013 now. Activities are seriously underway with racing just around the corner in the spring leagues of NorCal, SoCal and Texas, while coach training and new team outreach is under way in the fall leagues. From the volume of mail arriving at the NICA office each day, I guarantee that we will see more high school mountain bikers on the trails this spring season than ever before!
To help ease you into the fast-approaching spring season, we are happy to present you with a newsletter full of insightful interviews with standouts from the past season as well as details on coming events. We are also thrilled to announce the call for applications for Booster Fund grants to help high-school teams, coaches and student-athletes cover their participation costs. We are thankful to those who have made this possible and will be launching new initiatives to help grow the fund; stay tuned! Finally, I encourage you to act quickly to purchase tickets for the debut of Single Track High when it comes to your neighborhood, as this feature-length documentary about high-school cycling is guaranteed to sell out!
Booster Fund: Help make sure every rider can ride a bike and race!
The NICA Booster Fund was established in 2012 and provides micro-grants to individual student-athletes, coaches and teams from underrepresented areas and disadvantaged backgrounds with the goal of increasing participation in NICA leagues.
The Booster Fund provides direct support, through individual micro-grants, to offset expenses directly related to participation in NICA league and team activities. By covering these expenses, the fund also provides indirect support for NICA leagues, and helps to ensure the sustainable development and funding of league staff, programs and activities, by actively assisting in the expansion of league ridership.
NICA founder, Matt Fritzinger, said “The Booster Fund has already assisted many individuals experience the benefits of participating on a well coached high school team. These grants are helping fulfill the NICA vision to enable every American teen to strengthen body, mind and character through participation in high school mountain biking.”
Applications are made directly to NICA, and those from student-athletes require a coach’s reference. Further information and the grant application can be found here.
2012 NICA Awards Banquet and Benefit Ride
NICA’s annual calendar reveals a broad array of close to 70 events and programs including races, Leader Summits, CycleFests, and camps spreading across eight states. NICA representatives will attend outreach and advocacy events (such as Interbike, Frostbike, National Bike Summit, IMBA World Summit, and Sea Otter Classic), teach educational webinars, and create groundbreaking instructional and risk management materials. The National Staff support all of these events and programs at various levels, as they are the core of what we do at NICA.
However, there is only one event on the calendar that happens once a year, and that is the annual NICA Awards Banquet.
The 2012 NICA Awards, which was held January 12th, brought together every face of the high school mountain bike movement--sponsors, coaches, parents, student athletes, national/league staff, press, and friends--for a fun ride and gala celebration to honor the recipients. It’s an experience like none other on the NICA calendar, and a precious opportunity to showcase the high-school mountain bike movement’s remarkable capacity to change lives.
“By now, I am not surprised that newcomers to this event report that they are inspired by what they see and hear. What surprises me, is that I continue to be brought to tears by these stories,” said Austin McInerny, NICA’s Executive Director. “I have been involved with high-school cycling for over a decade now, but the stories of lives changed, feats accomplished, odds overcome... I still get goosebumps even after all these years.”
Cannondale Demo Days Are Coming to Four NICA Leagues!
As a new NICA sponsor, Cannondale will be bringing a demo trailer to four NICA League races starting late February. If you have ever found yourself wanting to try out a "lefty" or their full suspension 29" Scalpel, now is your chance. Come say "hi" to the Cannondale crew and demo a sweet new bike! See dates and locations below and be sure to check the appropriate league website for specifics.
* Feb. 23, at SoCal Race #1, Temecula, CA
* March 23, at SoCal Race #3, Lake Perris, CA
* April 13, at SoCal Race #4, Lake Isabella, CA
* May 4, at SoCal Race #5, Los Olivos, CA
* Feb. 23, at NorCal Race #1 Northern District, Granite Bay, CA
* April 27, at NorCal Race #5, Boggs Mountain, CA
*Sept 7, at CO Race #1, Granby, CO
* March 16, Utah's Leader Summit (tentative).
SingleTrack High: behind the scenes
If you haven’t already gotten news about the screenings of SingleTrack High - stay tuned. Every league will be putting on a fundraiser around the film, which showcases NorCal League student-athletes through their season. Here is a link to the trailer, which does the film much more justice than any written description can.
The first screening - from the NorCal League - takes place Wednesday, February 6th, at 8:00 p.m at 142 Throckmorton Theater, Mill Valley CA. For more information and tickets click here.
To learn more about the film and its story, NICA sat down with film producers Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner (brothers and alumni of the NorCal League) and asked some great questions. Click here to read the interview.
"What does it take to make a film like this?
* 7 months of filming
* 4-6 days of filming per week
* Longest day: 20 hours door to door
* 20,000 miles on our VW Golf
* Over 5 terrabytes of footage and audio
* 6 months and counting of post- production"
Meet Lauren Haughey: NICA Staffer, League Parent, Volunteer and Coach.
This month we caught up with NICA Administration and Finance Director Lauren Haughey while she was sitting at her desk in the NICA office one afternoon, eating popcorn and crunching some numbers on her abacus.
If the name sounds familiar, it's because Lauren is involved in NICA not only as an employee, but also as the parent of a NorCal League Student Athlete, a coach for the Oakland Composite team with her husband Morgan, and the NorCal League Race Weekend Registration Coordinator. She wears many hats, all of them well, and always has a smile to accompany them. Here’s how Lauren became so involved.
“It's an interesting perspective - being a parent of a rider in the League, a coach of a really economically diverse team, and an employee of the National office. I'm seeing it full circle.”