Executive Director’s Note
Gratitude. This word encapsulates the feeling I have for all the NICA licensed coaches, parents, volunteers, supporters, Bo
Executive Director’s Note
Austin thanking SRAM President and founder (Stan Day) for their support of NICA
Gratitude. This word encapsulates the feeling I have for all the NICA licensed coaches, parents, volunteers, supporters, Booster Club members, sponsors, student-athletes and, especially, NICA League Directors and core staff for their efforts over the past month putting on races and training coaches for the coming season. With fall league racing well underway, we have more student-athletes participating in high school mountain biking than ever before and this month’s NICA News is full of stories of highlighting the exponential growth in our leagues, coaching program and sponsor and community engagement.
As each month passes, I hear more and more stories from each of the participating leagues of new teams forming and how the experience of working with committed and passionate coaches has helped more high school student-athletes become empowered and motivated to take on new challenges both on and off the bike. As a result of their positive experience on the bike amongst their peers who share their love for riding in the outdoors, students and coaches are sharing a growing number of photos and short videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that convey the power of the high school cycling experience.
All of us at NICA appreciate the hard work of those that are helping make the high school cycling movement possible. As we strive to improve our programs and bring additional new supporters and sponsors on-board, it is important to be thankful for what we have accomplished in relatively short time (NICA just turned 4 years old) and I encourage all of us to express our appreciation to those that are making our cycling experience possible. While the day-to-day challenges we all face are real and require focused attention, please consider taking a step back momentarily and acknowledge those that make the magical moments on the bike possible. Thank your coach, parent, race course marshal, parking lot volunteer, NICA League staff person, bike shop mechanic, land manager (many of which are on forced furlough), sponsor, and others for helping you find your potential and for helping NICA continue to expand in order to serve a wide audience.
Appreciatively, Austin McInerny
Kenny Griffin, Eddie O'Dea, Austin McInerny, Dan Brooks and Rick Spittler announcing GA league at Interbike. Photo: Phil Beckman
NICA Announces Georgia as 2014 Project League!
The announcement of Georgia as a 2014 project league at the Interbike NICA press conference produced incredible excitement and a host of local and national media coverage, including articles in Bicycle Retailer, Mountain Bike Action, Bike World News, Cycling News, Sports One Source and Switchback. Rick Spittler, NICA Board President, opened the presentation, followed by Austin McInerny, NICA Executive Director, highlighting the many successes and rapid growth of the national movement. To read the full story, follow this link.
2012 NICA Awards Recipients
2013 NICA Awards - Nominations Due November 15
Do you know someone that has made an impact on high school mountain biking and deserves to be recognized at the 2013 NICA Awards? Nominate them today! Just fill out this brief questionnaire about why that person should get an award. You can view last year's awards recipients by visiting the NICA Awards page. Please be as descriptive as possible when describing who the individual is worthy of the award.
Recipients will be drawn from all NICA leagues racing in 2013: NorCal, SoCal, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Utah, New York, Arizona and Tennessee. Partial travel scholarships will be made available to ensure attendance of award recipients who will be notified in early December.
For a description of each award, please download the 2013 Awards Categories (PDF) document.
Tennessee League’s Inaugural Race a Great Success!
On September 22, 2013, NICA Staff and Texas League staff supported the Tennessee League’s inaugural mountain bike race at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma. Forty-six student-athletes eagerly lined up for the first race of the series, which was a great success!
Riders in various categories competed throughout the day on the 5-mile course, carving through the pinewood forest in the 1,000-acre Arnold Engineering Development Center Wildlife Management property.
We are excited to report that the 2nd race, held in Sewanee increased to 69 racers! Congratulations to the Tennessee Team!
“Tennessee has a brilliant staff! It’s been a privilege to support their hard work this past year. We’ve spent a lot of quality time together from last December’s venue surveying, to staff training at a Texas League race, to collaborating at the Interbike Conference. I’ll always feel the Tennessee League’s energy at the inaugural race!” stated Chris Spencer, NICA Senior Program Manager.
Arizona League student-athletes shooting out of the gate in their inaugural race!
Racing Underway for Arizona League
On September 28, 2013, the Arizona League hosted their inaugural race, attracting spectators and supporters at McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fort McDowell, Arizona. Similar to the Tennessee race the weekend before, NICA Staff as well as SoCal League Staff travelled to support the Arizona League team.
Arizona League Director, Mike Perry, commented “We've had an outstanding start with great support and enthusiasm from student-athletes, coaches, families and volunteers. We are especially proud to have 28 teams from across the state participating in the series this year and are looking forward to developing an even stronger following of passionate riders in the future.”
142 riders participated in the first-ever Arizona race, racing through an 8.5 mile loop in the Sonoran Desert.
This past weekend the Arizona League moved to a slightly more challenging course and different area of McDowell park. The race was a success, and the dessert enthusiasm and movement grows! Congratulations Arizona League!
At the finish line at a Minnesota race
Colorado, Utah and Minnesota Race Seasons Progressing
Now a few races into the season, the Utah, Minnesota and Colorado leagues have shown firsthand how high school mountain biking is starting to gain steam with increased ridership and significant growth. Utah (now 547 riders) and Minnesota (now 271 riders) nearly doubled in size since last year, while the Colorado league (now 551 riders and in its 5th year) continues to grow at a steady pace.
“The commitment demonstrated by the Colorado League staff, coaches and volunteers is incredible! The number one priority is creating safe and fun race experiences, where all are welcome. Everyone effectively responded to various challenges while maintaining a positive attitude. The racers and parents continue to be upbeat and considerate despite various unforeseen hardships that impacted many people. The strength of this community is outstanding and we look forward to a fantastic season finale October 20th in Eagle,” stated Kate Rau, Colorado League Executive Director.
Oakland Composite Team Coach, Morgan Fletcher, demonstrates radical body positioning during the NorCal League’s Summit.
More Committed Adults Becoming NICA Coaches
The Leaders’ Summit are in integral part of the NICA model for building high school mountain bike programs. The summits bring together Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Ride Leaders, and General Volunteers — both new and experienced — to develop skills and knowledge, share strategies, and build community. The summits promote a holistic approach to coaching that creates an environment in which young people can grow and thrive. Summits also provide opportunities for participants to learn all about the league structures and processes, how to start a mountain bike team, how to work with their schools, issues related to liability, and the unique intricacies of working with high school cyclists. Additionally, the "Teaching Coaches How to Coach Skills" course developed by NICA Skills Guru, Lee McCormack, is always well received. One NorCal League coach stated, "I learned more in one day at this clinic than I've learned about riding technique EVER!" To read more about the most recent and upcoming Leaders' Summits, click here.
Largest Texas Leaders’ Summit yet!
NICA Staff and representative from 9 Leagues enjoying cozy dinner Monday Night at the New York New York Hotel.
2013 NICA Conference
With just over 25 participants, including NICA staff and board members, nearly all League Directors, assorted league staff and various league board members attending, the 3rd annual NICA Conference was held in Las Vegas the day before the annual bike tradeshow “Interbike” began.
The conference was held in a hotel suite beginning with a Monday night dinner and intense, all-day meeting Tuesday. Lori Harward, Utah League Director stated, “I love being with my fellow NICA folk and league directors. Beginning with my first conference in 2011, I felt a camaraderie and support that I look forward to every year. I often wish we all lived closer so we could do more together because not only do we learn from, empower and encourage each other, we have a ton of fun together!” To continue reading, follow this link.
Zealios Skin Care Supports High School Cycling!
Zealios Skin Care Supports High School Cycling!
Interested in getting some good sunblock and chamois cream? Consider purchasing from Zealios. During the month of October you will get 10% off and NICA will receive $5 from each product sold. Be sure to note which league you are affiliated with in order for a portion of the purchase price to be credited to the league of your choice!
One of the custom jerseys Primal has helped develop
This month we would like to acknowledge two NICA long-term sponsors, Primal Wear and Kinetic.
Primal Wear is a leading designer and manufacturer of premier cycling apparel for teams, clubs and events around the world. Primal’s support has been pivotal in NICA’s success story.
Primal has partnered with NICA since 2011 by sponsoring at the national level, as well as offering NICA licensed teams jersey discounts. Over the years, many teams have worked with Primal’s designers to develop custom jerseys to train and race with in addition to producing the coveted Leader’s Jersey worn by the point leaders of each high school category in each league. They have also designed awesome NICA Coaches and Booster Club jerseys. Check here for more information on how to place an order for a team, and note that all artwork should be complete and orders submitted by 12/1/13 to ensure Spring League delivery.
Kinetic trainers often seen at NICA races
The sounds of race day always include the familiar buzz of student-athletes warming up on Kinetic Trainers and we are extremely thankful for their support since 2011. Kinetic not only partners with NICA, but provides each league with trainers available for use by students at races. Additionally, Kinetic has partnered with NICA and written a chapter on indoor training in the recently updated NICA Coach Manual. Their guidance for how to maximize the use of stationary trainers will help student-athletes increase their cardiovascular performance and develop solid training practices.
Scrub My Ride Contest!
Scrub My Ride Contest!
How Clean is YOUR ride?!
Hey Fall Leagues, I bet your bikes are pretty dirty right about now, aren't they? If they aren't, they ought to be on account of all the awesome riding and training that's been happening lately.
Hey Spring Leagues, I bet you're all just pulling your bikes out, in time for pre-season practice!
Well now is the time to clean up those lil' doggies and get your rigs runnin' in tip top shape! Cleaning your bike is as important as strapping on your helmet and filling up your water bottle.
So to celebrate clean bikes, we're having a lil photo contest:
Camelbak Mule Backpack and GU Brew Chocolate Recovery Smoothie Canister
Have a friend take a picture of you cleaning your bike and being stoked! Tell us, "what's awesome about riding a clean bike?" in 140 characters or less. Then hashtag #scrubmyride and tag @nationalmtb on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook! Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures must be posted between October 16th and October 31st.
Three winners will be chosen: the photo with the most "likes", a NICA staff pick for "best reason" and a Mechanic's Choice for "best technique."
Our three winners will receive either a set of Maxxis Tires and tubes, a SRAM Race Mini Twist Inflator Kit and Gu Energy drink mix or a CamelBak Mule! Awesome!
We'll announce our winners on Tuesday, November 5th!
Sorry, only one user may win per photo.
So get scrubbin!
Scrub My Ride Contest prizes: set of Maxxis Tires and a SRAM Race Mini Twist Inflator Kit
NICA partner, International Mountain Bike Association, spearheading advocacy efforts
Without trails, where would we ride? This is a serious question and we are thrilled to work with IMBA to help ensure adequate representation wherever discussions are underway concerning trail access, new trail design and construction and stewardship of existing trails. Over the years, NICA and IMBA have partnered on many initiatives and we will continue to look for opportunities to collaborate to ensure equitable trail access and responsible riding. If you are not already a dues paying member, please consider joining IMBA and helping them advocate for the benefit of cyclists and all trail users. Also, check out the great work the folks at IMBA Trail Solutions have been undertaking around the world, building and designing bike parks, downhill trails, flow trails, beginner trails, backcountry singletrack and more from Minnesota to Hong Kong. Read the blog for updates.
McKenzie River Trail
Featured Regional Ride: McKenzie River Trail, Oregon
Sometimes described as the "number one trail in the U.S.," the McKenzie River Trail is 25 miles of flowing singletrack and volcanic rock technical sections among old-growth forest, waterfalls, lush ferns and brilliant blue pools of water. Located west of Sisters, Oregon, the MRT is worth making a trip for.
Maps, photos and detailed ride information