Our apologies for the previous email. Please enjoy this edition of the NICA News. May 31 Director's Note As I announced last month, it is with many


Our apologies for the previous email. Please enjoy this edition of the NICA News.

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Matt with SoCal League Director Matt Gunnell and NorCal League Director Vanessa Hauswald.

May 31

Director's Note

As I announced last month, it is with many mixed emotions that I will be stepping down as NICA’s executive director. I was moved by all the kind words from throughout the NICA community. I’ve heard from past student-athletes I've coached, parents whose kids were positively changed by their biking experience and coaches who enjoyed the outlet and voice that came with coaching a community team. I'd like to share a couple of these quotes, as you are all changing the landscape of high school sports.

"My oldest daughter, now at college and about to go scuba diving for six weeks for a marine biology class, had her confidence boosted immensely through the league. My youngest daughter, now finishing high school, has also found a great outlet and important successes in cycling and the league was a big part of her college essays! "

"Thank you for creating another great symbol of American Freedom . . . My son Matthew and I love riding and being a course marshal has been a great pleasure."

NICA and our leagues have attracted such amazing staff and volunteers and is strongly positioned to achieve our goals and enable teens from coast to coast to benefit from the healthy and empowering sport of mountain biking. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone for making this dream possible.

Matt Fritzinger
NICA Director

PS – You can find some FAQ's about my transition here.


The Spirit of Howdy Video Contest

NICA is pleased to pre-announce “The Spirit of Howdy” website ( coming this fall) as the next step in its longstanding partnership with IMBA! To launch the website, NICA and IMBA are holding a video contest.

The “Spirit of Howdy” will be a collaborative and dynamic NICA-IMBA website that showcases how we all share the trail and can be friendly, cool, and respectful as well as good stewards of the trails. To launch the Spirit of Howdy website, NICA and IMBA are holding a video contest. All students athletes are encouraged to submit a 20-second video. Prizes include a Rockshox Fork, Adidas eyewear, and NICA arm/knee warmers. Details here.

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2011 NICA Annual Report

Following NICA's successful 2011 campaign, we compiled our initial Annual Report. We now want to share this in-depth document that highlights NICA’s impact and displays our successes across multiple constituencies. Additionally, the Annual Report provides insight into how NICA functions and who makes everything possible. Please let us know if you have any feedback or questions. Thank you so much for your support!

Click here to download the 2011 NICA Annual Report.

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Student Spotlight on Sarah Ogden, NorCal League

Sarah Ogden races for Redwood High School in the NorCal League. In her first complete race series, Sarah has seen tremendous success, culminating in a win at the California State Championships in the Junior Varsity Girls race.

We caught up with Sarah to talk about how she got into the sport and her plans for the future.

How did you get your introduction to the sport of mountain biking?
My teammate Josie Nordrum introduced me to mountain biking in February 2011. Last year, she was the only girl rider on the Redwood team. After some persistent recruiting during math class, I decided to try it. About a week later, with borrowed equipment, Josie took me on my first mountain bike ride and somehow got me to agree to racing at Granite Bay that weekend. That first ride was altogether comical and my first race was terrifying. Not long after, Josie took me on a ride in the pouring rain. I was drenched, cold, and covered in mud but smiling and I realized then that I loved mountain biking.

Your results this year, your second with the NorCal League, have been nothing short of impressive. What did you do differently this year to prepare for racing?
Last year I was brand new to the sport. I had fun competing in the races and challenged myself to achieve a new personal best each race, but I was focused on swimming and didn’t get to ride more then once or twice a week. This year I decided to focus on biking, and trained 5 days a week with my high school team and the Whole Athlete team. My results this year were a product of more experience on the bike, learning some race strategy, working with some amazing coaches, following a training schedule, and spending time in the saddle.

Read more . . .

MTB team girls with coach kristi

Quick Spin with Kristi Berg, Washington League

Former mountain bike downhill and cross country pro, Kristi Berg, is blazing a trail in female participation for high school mountain biking with a program in her home state of Washington.

Seven years ago, Kristi obtained her USA Cycling coaches license, to help develop cycling in her region, 45 miles north of Seattle. Then about two years ago she began looking for ways to develop an off-road program, and Lisa Miller, director of the Washington League suggested she set up a NICA team.

At about the same time a counselor at Lakewood High School, Heidi Klippert, was looking to set up a team, so the two got together and formed the Arlington Composite Team.

Read more . . .

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Lori practicing her handling skills at a clinic with NICA Skills Guru Lee McCormack.

Inside Look with Lori Harward, Utah League Director

Lori Harward is the Director of the new Utah High School Cycling League, which will hold its first race on September 8th. We caught up with Lori not long after she hosted her first annual Leaders' Summit, with 82 coaches in attendance.

The Utah League was announced last Fall and held its first official event only recently. What have you been doing in that time?
Since we were announced last fall, the most time-consuming and difficult element of being the director has actually been raising the needed funds to make this league happen. I can't thank our sponsors enough for jumping behind us and supporting this movement here in Utah!

I have also been working hard on team development. Our rules for starting official high school clubs in Utah are quite unique and can be challenging. Because of these rules, some coaches needed support for starting their teams long before the Leaders’ Summit. On top of that, I’ve been finalizing race venues, planning and preparing for both the Leaders’ Summit and Cyclefest, writing newsletters, meeting with coaches, attending team parent meetings, board meetings, radio spots, organizing race equipment from NICA, organizing NICA training for our race staff. . . There’s a lot to do!

With 82 coaches, the Utah League smashed the NICA record for the highest attendance at a Leaders' Summit. Are you surprised by that?
Not at all. It was exactly what I was expecting. Our strong participation reflected the fact that coaches have been working hard for quite some time to get their teams started due to Utah's high school club laws. Some coaches were participating in NICA’s education webinars as early as last fall and I have spent one-on-one time with many coaches to help them get starts.

Read more . . .

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Photo Credit: Pamela Palma

Meet Katie Styer, NICA's Administrative Assistant

Katie Styer, NICA’s new administrative assistant, was raised in NorCal and is a lifetime cycling enthusiast. She grew up with two great role models, older sisters who raced collegiate cross-country mountain bike events and taught her that great friends and big adventure were best created on bikes.

A passion for empowerment through biking was then cultivated.

She has since toured across the U.S., worked as a bike messenger, commuted to school and now work, raced nationally and now locally with the Early Birds Women’s Developmental Racing Team! If that weren’t enough bike involvement, she has worked and volunteered at many bike shops and community bike shops in San Francisco.

Katie earned her B.A. from San Francisco State University and currently contributes to local NPR affiliated radio station, KALW.

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