Matt with NICA staffers Lauren and Tyler at the opening race of 2011.
Reflecting on 2011 makes my head spin a little bit. Like any mountain bike ride, there were times when we had good rhythm and times when we had to dig deep. There was fun to be had, smooth single track . . . but also bumpy sections of trail. There were days where the weather did not cooperate, but also days with fabulous vistas, and along the way we met so many big hearted and giving people.
We are also looking forward to seeing what's around the next bend. Our event schedule is an astonishing testamant to how far we've come, and if our projection are accurate, we'll see the number of student-athletes double in 2012.
This fantastic bike ride just keeps getting bigger; but before we ride into 2012 I want to thank the many sponsors, supporters and oft unsung volunteers that are all there, keeping pace with this movement, and making it all possible. That you all so much.
Happy New Year!
Jeremy Davis with the coaches of the Sacramento Police Department High School Mountain Bike Program.
Student Spotlight on Jeremy Davis, NorCal League Alumnus
Jeremy Davis graduated from Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento last June. Jeremy raced for the NorCal League all four years of high school as part of the Luther Burbank High School Mountain Bike Team. Recently Jeremy spoke at the NorCal League’s annual CycleFest Dinner. Below is his speech.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story. I raced for NorCal for four years where I learned mountain biking skills and how to race, but I got much more during that time. I got to ride in places I never would have, like Santa Cruz, Monterey (where I met Tinker Juarez and Gary Fisher), Downieville and Northstar. I was only able to ride Downieville and the advanced trails at Northstar because of all my practices and races with NorCal.
Not only did I develop my mountain biking skills while racing for NorCal, but I also developed an appreciation for nature. Riding my bike in the mountains brings me peace, makes all my problems disappear; it’s just me, my bike, the trail and the fresh air. I can’t get that at home in Sacramento.
I faced many challenges at home. While I was practicing and racing for NorCal, people in my neighborhood, friends of mine, were active gang members getting arrested and even killed. I’m glad I knew my place was on a bike and not in a gang. Even though I never joined a gang, violence is a part of my community. Two years ago, my friend, who I’d just talked to that day, was shot in the head. He wasn’t in a gang, it was a case of mistaken identity, but it was really hard to know he was dead and that I could have been there with him that day.
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Want to join the team? Apply for a position!
NICA is hiring soon!
In order to meet the fast growing demand for high school mountain biking programs NICA will be hiring up to three positions (full and part-time) by February 1st. The positions are Program Director (PDF), Program Assistant (PDF), and Administrative Assistant (PDF).
This could be your chance to join the NICA movement and help bring high school mountain bike racing from coast to coast by 2012. All interested applicants please send a cover letter and resume to the contacts listed on the job descriptions.
Adam Craig guest of honor at 2011 NICA Awards
US Mountain Bike champion and Olympian Adam Craig will be the guest of honor at the 2011 NICA Awards banquet, January 14th, 2012. The event, hosted by the Clif Bar and Co. headquarters in Emeryville, CA, honors individuals that the Association considers to be the most outstanding athletes, the most dedicated coaches, and the most passionate volunteers to have supported high school mountain biking in the past 12 months as it progresses on its quest to reach from coast to coast by 2020.
Craig, who grew up in Maine, is a 2008 Olympian, and holder of 16 US national titles in cross country Mountain Biking, Cyclo-Cross and the Super D hybrid cross country/downhill event. He is on a quest to compete in the 2012 London Olympics Mountain Bike event and earn a coveted Olympic medal. He will talk about the highs and lows of his journey from high school athlete to his effort to make the US Olympic team for London 2012.
Craig said, “I first heard whisperings about the NorCal League when I landed in Oregon in 2003, and shortly thereafter saw the student mountain bikers at the Sea Otter Classic. But it wasn't until the world championships in 2008 that I truly realized the depth of talent coming through the ranks with (NorCal alum.) John Bennett's inclusion on our relay team, and then our subsequent rides together. I'm pumped for this opportunity to learn more about the NICA mission and those that support it across the spectrum, from the kids to the donors and everyone who works hard in between.”
To view the list of awards presented at last year's event, go to 2010 NICA Awards.
For more information on the 2011 NICA Awards and to purchase tickets, go to NICA Awards.
Washington League coaches prepare for their second season at their November Leaders' Summit.
Fall Leaders' Summit Wrap-Up
The fall season saw four NICA leagues host Leaders' Summits, a two-day coach conference for new and experienced high school mountain bike coaches. The Leaders' Summit consists of a full day of classroom seminars on a range of topics, as well as a full day of on-the-bike skills, called MTB 101.
Austin McInerny, the NICA educational programs director, said, “The level of excitement and interest in the NICA coaching program is incredible and hearing high school coaches tell me that the tools and lessons learned at the NICA Leaders’ Summits is extremely satisfying. NICA looks forward to expanding our teaching curriculum to help empower dedicated coaches as they continue to grow the sport of high school cycling across the United States.”
The 2011 coach training programs educated more than 250 new and existing coaches in cycling skills, coach training and wilderness first aid courses, in five regions across the USA. Of this number 127 were new coaches coming into the system. More than 500 licensed NICA coaches now exist in the USA.
In 2012 NICA expects to see 10 Leaders' Summits across the country. Two Leaders' Summits are planned for East Coast locations, while one will take place in conjunction with IMBA's World Summt in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Check out the NICA Calendar for a full list of dates and events.
NICA student-athletes get some trainer time in at the 2010 NICA Awards.
Kinetic Winter Trainer Tips
With the daylight hours in short supply, many of us find that there just isn't enough time to ride after school or work. What can you do to get more time on the bike? Hop on your Kinetic trainer to get your ride in! Kinetic asked their sponsored athletes how they cope with riding in the winter months. You can read about their response by going to Kinetic Pro Training Tips. Keep yourself entertained by mixing in running with your trainer workout, or do it with your team to a great playlist.
A few months ago we told you about a team in the NorCal League that does indoor spin classes to gain fitness during the cold winter months. Kinetic wants to hear about what you do on the trainer! Next month, Kinetic will be running their inaugural Kinetic Success Stories contest. They'll be looking for your stories about how your Kinetic trainer has helped improve your life—be it better health, fitness, or fun and friendships!
To learn more about the contest and the great prizes, sign up for their newsletter. Details will be announced in the January edition.
Don't forget, NICA student-athletes and licensed coaches can purchase trainers at a discount through the NICA Online Store.
Dirt Rag Magazine - Store Blowout for NICA Supporters
Dirt Rag Magazine, one of the best mountain bike magazines on the planet and a long time NICA supporter, is slashing 20% off of everything in their online store. Stock up on some cool Dirt Rag gear or a subscription for a friend at the Dirt Rag Store, and use the coupon NICA20 when checking out to save a bundle. The coupon will be good through January 25th, 2012.
In addition, all NICA student-athletes get a free year subscription to Dirt Rag Mag. Student-athletes can opt-in to the subscription when they register for the season.