The past month has been action packed with the start of spring league racing in California, multiple leagues ramping up for their respective Leaders’ Summits and Cyclefests, an exciting experience for three Arizona League first-year girls at the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo and the NICA staff physically moving our office to a much more accommodating space – one that even has hot water!
Additionally, our new documentary “Singletrack High” premiered to a sold-out crowd in a theatre at the base of Mt. Tamalpais – coincidentally where mountain bikes first came to be. High school mountain biking is stronger than ever, and all of us at NICA are thrilled to share the highlights from the past month, as well as a fun interview with our friend Maurice in this edition of the NICA News.
I am writing this note from the NorCal League’s season opener, and the energy is palpable. To see so many young student-athletes experience their first race with the support of their families, coaches and teammates bodes well for the future of the sport. As I write, NICA has three races simultaneously underway with 905 student-athletes competing. NICA and its member leagues, alongside various national and league-specific sponsors, have created an inclusive program that focuses on building the sport from the ground up and it is clearly working.
On a personal note, while racing on a relay team with the great folks from the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and GU Energy at the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo in Arizona, I sustained a tibial plateau fracture that required surgery and extended time off the bike. Amazingly, this is my first serious injury in more than 30 years of cycling, and I need to adjust to not riding or putting weight on my leg for a couple months. During the recovery, I plan on meeting with as many NICA League staff, sponsors, donors and participating families as possible to hear their ideas on how to refine and improve our programs, policies and services to ensure that the high school mountain bike movement thrives.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in sharing ideas and/or getting more involved. Now, please enjoy another great issue of the NICA News!
Booster Fund: Help make sure every student-athlete can ride a bike and race!
Application deadline extended for Spring Leagues
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 helped many individuals experience the benefits of participating in a well-coached high-school team. These grants are helping fulfill the NICA vision of enabling 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. Another reminder will be made for the Fall Leagues.
Singletrack High Screenings Nationwide
At the age of 16, many American kids trade in two wheels for four. Trusty steeds that once gave them freedom to explore on weekends now collect dust in the garage. For a growing number of high-school students in Northern California, however, two wheels don’t get dusty, they get dirty. Their lives continue to revolve around weekend rides, but now those rides have a finish line. This new film, Singletrack High, will be screening from San Francisco to New York and dozens of locations in between. We hope that you may come to see the film and support the high-school cycling movement. For a current list of screenings click here.
NorCal League Regional Conference Split
For the first time in the NorCal High School Cycling League's 13 year history, the League has split into Regional Conferences. The popularity of high school mountain biking in Northern California has resulted in exponential growth each year and, as a result, the League has taken the bold step of splitting in order to better serve the participating student-athletes and their families. The "North Conference" is comprised of all the teams from Marin County and north while the "South Conference" includes all teams from Monterey County north to Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. For more information about which teams are competing in which Conferences, please refer to our map here.
The NorCal League is also exploring another new tool this year: chip timing! Though our previous timing system served us incredibly well for many years and continues to be used across NICA Leagues, the nearly massive number of racers in NorCal demanded a more efficient form of timing and results tabulation! Responding to this need, Carlos Perez, from Bike Monkey, with help from NICA’s Angel Garbarino, created and rolled out a NICA League-specific chip timing system that relies on a "chip" affixed to each rider’s number plate to electronically signal and record the rider’s time upon crossing over simple mats on the ground at the finish line.
We are thrilled to report that the well received system had 99.8% accuracy at our season opener on February 24. Thanks again to Carlos and Angel for all their hard work on this new system and NICA is thrilled with the opportunity to potentially bring this system to other leagues across the country.
New League Bid Process Underway
NICA is pleased to announce the dates of the annual new League bid webinar series! These online conference-call sessions provide an overview of NICA and its efforts to bring high-school mountain biking coast-to-coast by 2020. Further, the informational presentation/discussions provide in-depth detail regarding what is required to work with NICA to expand high-school cycling in your state/region, as well as instructions on how to compile and submit a bid. The bid process includes five webinars and a written proposal bid which is due May 1. The next informational webinars will be held Tuesday, March 11th at 1 pm and 5 pm PST. NICA will announce the winning bids by early June.
To learn more about bid process, including the webinar schedule and details on how to start a League in your region, go to NICA Bid Process or e-mail Lauren Duensing.
NICA Board of Directors Seeks Committed Leaders to Join the Team
The NICA Board of Directors is looking for individuals who are passionate about high-school cycling. While not highly visible, the Board of Directors is instrumental in developing relevant policy, providing oversight to ensure the fulfillment of the organization’s mission, and keeping NICA financially healthy. Board meetings are quarterly and members are expected to help NICA's staff with efforts during the year. If you believe you might be of assistance and share the belief that high-school cycling needs to grow, please contact either Rick Spittler, NICA Board President at firstname.lastname@example.org or Eric Russell, NICA Board Vice-President, at email@example.com.
Join the NICA Team - Employment Opportunities at NICA!
The NICA office is seeking a few qualified individuals (with a passion for cycling and supporting youth programs) to provide part-time support in the following areas:
▪ Website Design and Content Management (Wordpress, HTML)
▪ Graphic Art and Media (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign)
▪ Accounting Support (Bookkeeping, Quickbooks 2013, Spreadsheet Knowledge)
▪ Scoring Software Support / Hardware Maintenance
▪ Administrative Assistance
▪ IT Infrastructure Support / Maintenance (LAN, Printers/Scanners, Routers, Basic Troubleshooting Support)
If you have skills in the above areas and are seeking part-time work, please send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Part Time Job Opportunities”. NICA is a fast paced, collaborative and fun team environment to be a part of, with flexible hours and the possibility to work on or off site, depending on position. We look forward to hearing from you.
Upcoming Camp Opportunities: NorCal and SoCal Summer Camps - Save the date!
League Summer Camps provide excellent training and unique opportunities to spend time spend time with your teammates, riders from other teams, and an incredible crew of coaches. Details of NorCal and SoCal’s co-ed camps will be posted soon. Camps are open to any NICA rider from any league who has completed at least one season of racing.
Save the dates, tell your friends, ask your parents and know that scholarships are available!
“At the bike camp, I learned a lot about all the aspects of biking – like nutrition, training, and the psychology of getting ready to race. It was a fun way to meet other people who share the same interest in mountain biking.” – Will Curtis, NorCal League Alumni
“The NorCal summer camps are a blast! Friends, fun, bikes, and food – there isn’t much else to ask for. It’s the best week of the year – the excitement and fun of race day all week long.” – Nate Byrom, NorCal League Alumni
NICA Epic Riding Camps offered by Western Spirit Cycling
Western Spirit is teaming with NICA to create week-long riding camps for high school mountain bikers from ages 15 to 18, both girls and boys. Camps will be held in Durango, Colorado and Sun Valley, Idaho. Students will experience the NICA training curriculum while camping in the great outdoors. Interspersed between epic rides, guides wil lead discussions about nutrition and training, along with the natural and cultural history of the areas where they are riding. Advanced skills will also covered.
The Trek Dirt Series is offering NICA a 10% discount to attend camps this season. There are nineteen camps throughout northwestern US and Canada, including sixteen women’s camps and three co-ed camps. For their complete schedule visit www.dirtseries.com
When registering online enter the following promotion code: NICA10 This will automatically deduct 10% from the price. They Trek Dirt Series has such a great reputation for step-by-step, confidence-inspiring instruction that 50% of participants are either returning or refer a friend. Thus camps sell out quickly, so act now!
The camps offer cross-country and downhill skills from basic front-wheel lifts and switchback turns to technical climbs, descents, jumps and drops. All participants are grouped according to skill level and area of interest, so beginner, intermediate and advanced riders all fit in just right. The program includes skill development sessions in the mornings, small group instructional rides in the afternoons, and bike maintenance clinics, food, and socializing in the evening.
Meet Maurice Tierney - Publisher of DirtRag Magazine
Maurice Tierney, the perfect face and personality for the man behind a magazine that continues to keep it's focus on singletrack, bikes, and the marriage between the two. We sat down with Maurice to learn more about Maurice himself, DirtRag and how NICA got involved in all of this.
If you learn nothing more from this interview, know that if you are a registered NICA rider, you will be receiving electronic DirtRags via email.
“... we both believe in the big picture, getting more people on bikes, and thus solving all of the worlds problems. Bikes are conservative with energy, cure obesity, and build community. Kids especially need exercise and so do their parents.”