Todd Wells and Austin McInerny promote Singletrack High at Sea Otter
Executive Director's Note
Another month of incredible high school cycling activity across the country! With races in four leagues, coach training in three other leagues, screenings of our new documentary, Singletrack High, in many states, and a huge presence at the Sea Otter Classic, I am ecstatic with the overall health, growth and diversity of our programs!
During my travels this month, I have had the privilege to meet and spend time with a very diverse array of student athletes and their parents, supporters of the high-school cycling movement, professional athletes (including a few Olympians), and many of our program’s alumni. While my conversations with these individuals have covered a litany of topics, a common theme is evident: NICA is making a profound and affirming impact in the communities we serve. Student-athletes are working with trained coaches to learn skills that will serve them well throughout life, even as they also become ambassadors for cycling! Families are starting to ride together in growing numbers, while more and more schools are realizing - and recognizing - the value of school-based cycling teams. Businesses are understanding the value of supporting our efforts, as we are creating life-long cyclists who are more than just fast riders: many alumni are pursuing college degrees while others are making careers in the bicycle industry. I can confidently state that we are achieving our mission of enabling teens to strengthen body, mind, and character through participation in the sport of mountain biking!
I hope that you will be as impressed as I am with the range of activities described in this edition of the NICA News. The NICA staff, League Directors, and assorted volunteers are working harder than ever to deliver the best possible high-school cycling programs and we are excited for the future. With interest growing in new regions, we are eager to see more teens (and their parents) on bikes! Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything you might want to discuss. Now, time to pack my bags for the next trip!
An appropriate cake for celebrating the first East Coast NICA race.
NICA hits the east coast: New York League’s inaugural race
NICA’s mission to develop high-school mountain biking coast-to-coast by 2020 is that much closer with the success of the New York League’s first race on Sunday, April 28th. NICA staffers teamed up with the very excited New York League staff to hold a race with 43 student-athletes participating at Sprain Ridge Park in Yonkers, NY.
Jason Cairo, the New York League Director, said it best:
I can't express how impressed I am with the wonderful job each of you has done to make the first-ever NICA race east of the Mississippi successful. When the pressure was on, you all made it happen!
When we began this journey about a year and a half ago, I could only hope that we'd reach this point. I never imagined we'd be able to move so fast and host the first race right here in our own backyard. In addition, to attract riders from all parts of the state (plus Bermuda), speaks volumes to our League’s potential.
I'm confident the League will continue to grow quickly and one day we'll look back and be able to say to ourselves, it was because of the commitment each of us made early on that this became a reality. Most importantly, the kids whose life will be forever impacted, and the smiles we all saw on their faces this past Sunday, makes it this worthwhile!
Thank you all again, Jason Cairo, New York League Director
NICA Booster Club Launches Gran Corsa
The NICA Booster Club is pleased to present a new semi-regular event: The Gran Corsa! The Gran Corsa is a culinary ride bringing together a gathering of NICA supporters for great cycling routes and fine food. On Monday, May 20th, our first Gran Corsa will take us to Healdsburg, California, where we will celebrate the end of the California high-school race season. Choose a 45- or 35-mile road ride to support youth cycling. Includes guided wine country ride and a gourmet lunch prepared by Chef Biju and Dr. Allen Lim, co-authors of The Feed Zone Cookbook and Portables Cookbook. They will have both just finished feeding the pro teams at the Tour of California. For more information, visit www.NICAGranCorsa.org.
Lee explains the essentials of MTB skills at AZ's 1st Leaders' Summit
Busy Month of Teaching More Coaches
With the Fall Leagues’ season fast approaching, ‘tis the season for Leaders’ Summits. Our beloved MTB skills teacher, Lee McCormack, and Executive Director, Austin McInerny, have been flying around the country, leading and teaching assorted summits. Below are brief highlights from a few recent trainings:
AZ 2nd Leaders' Summit
Arizona League: hasn’t even had a race yet, but already hosted two leader summits
The Arizona League recently concluded its first Leaders' Summits in preparation for its inaugural season this fall. A total of 65 people attended, including fifty-one individuals pursuing their Head Coach / Assistant Coach license and fourteen adults preparing to be Ride Leaders. Team registration is now in full swing and everything is pointing to a big and successful debut in the Copper State.
Double the Events, Double the Leaders in Minnesota
Not only did the MN League hold a Leaders' Summit with over 30 new and experienced coaches, assistant coaches and ride leaders, but they gathered over 30 women, of all ages, for the first annual CrankSisters Race Day Program!
A new portion of the Leaders' Summit focused on a Coaches Roundtable discussion; MN League Core Staff Mark McCubbin and Bruce Martens discussed with last year’s coaches what worked and what did not, and came up with suggestions for the 2013 season. Bruce also taught Sunday’s On-The-Bike skills session to 28 riders, focusing on how to teach basic mountain bike skills to new high school student athletes.
“You guys did an excellent job,” said Summit attendee Ed Macholda. “This is such a complete program and so well thought out. I just wish they would have had something like this when I was in school.”
Lee and Speed Baranco teaching skills on TN trails
Tennessee League: Rain couldn’t dampen their spirits
"Stand on your feet," “make it fun,” "calibrate your judgment," “what's in the coaches Camelbak?” and the "tree of skills" are just some of the NICA tips our Tennessee League coaches learned at their inaugural Leaders' Summit in Sewanee, near the University of the South. Everyone had a great time despite the unusually cold temperatures and rain. Coaches left the weekend with comments such as:
"Best club/team presentation I have ever seen..." David Hardin - Sponsor and Advocate - Gallatin, TN
"Austin and Lee provided valuable information on how to manage and coach a high-school mountain-bike team. The informative and engaging clinic was enjoyable and covered topics ranging from forming a team, risk management, and parent participation, to creating training plans and specific riding technique." Shannon Mathis - Coach - Nashville, TN.
"Thanks for a great weekend - great material and sessions!" Steve Smail - Teacher - University School of Nashville.
Click image for more photos from the Red Carpet
The Sea Otter Classic: A NICA Red Carpet Event
The Sea Otter Classic brought the NICA community together in a new way. NICA coaches, student-athletes, staff and volunteers from all over the country raced in various events and supported each other’s’ races. In-between races and rides, everyone came together at the booth to share stories. Over twenty-five NICA ambassadors and volunteers supported one another while reaching out and getting new families involved. A special thank-you from us to the Sea Otter Classic for donating our premium real-estate booth space!
Click here for the full Sea Otter Event Summary. Below is a just a snippet of feedback NICA received from those that partnered with NICA over the Sea Otter weekend.
Marla Streb said of the LUNA-NICA athlete mentorship, “…It really puts things into perspective for the pro athletes, when we realize these youngsters are overcoming the same learning curve challenges that we faced years ago. So it was an honor mentoring them and hearing tips from world-classers Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould, Katerina Nash, and Teal Stetson-Lee. Hope we can do this again soon".
In celebration of National Bike to Work Month, Enter Our First Ever Instagram Contest
Take us to the top! Share your favorite trail or road hilltop view and tag @nationalmtb and #bestsportever to be entered into our month long photo contest! The three photos with the most likes will win a sweet prize package including assorted goodies from NICA supporters Camelbak, CLIF, GU, Trek and Specialized. All winners will receive sunscreen from new NICA partner John Wayne Cancer Foundation. The contest ends May 31, 2013--click the graphic image or here for details and get riding already!
Singletrack High DVDs now available
Haven't made it out to a screening? Want to own your own copy for posterity? Singletrack High DVDS are now on sale for $20 each, or 10 for $100 (bulk purchase for teams and/or reselling at bike shops, etc.). Please note that these DVDs are for private viewing only. Click here to purchase a single DVD, and here for buying in bulk.
Prefer the Big Screen? Host your own screening!
Want to bring the magic of high-school mountain-bike racing to a silver screen in your community? Singletrack High, a new documentary by Pedal Born Pictures, follows six student athletes through an entire season in NICA's NorCal High School Cycling League. Anyone can apply to host a screening in his or her community, whether it be in your living room, outdoors, or a packed local theater. You can add your screening to the national tour, and help grow high-school mountain-bike racing coast-to-coast by 2020. Click here for more information.
To help grow the high school mountain biking movement beyond the cycling community, we are looking to submit Singletrack High to film festivals across the country. Please let us know if you have a contact at a film festival that might be interested…especially if you know of a programmer or festival director who is an avid cyclist!
NICA and IMBA launch ‘Spirit of Howdy’
Working with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), we are pleased to introduce “The Spirit of Howdy,” a new trail etiquette initiative designed to illuminate and advance the NICA trail riding ethos, which we believe is key to the healthy growth of the national high school mountain biking movement.
We are pleased to announce that NICA and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation are partnering together to empower youth to take control of their health and have the best time in the world doing it. John Wayne loved the outdoors and spent much of his time at the ocean or in the mountains. The Spot-a-Spot Skin Cancer Education Program was developed as a result of knowing that active communities will spend time outdoors, therefore, protection from the sun is essential. Skin cancer is the most common cancer. Following simple best practices for prevention and early detection can prevent most skin cancer deaths and minimize the negative effects of treatment. Thus, John Wayne Cancer Foundation is donating sunscreen to the NICA League nationwide so be sure to stay protected when outdoors.
The family that got the biking bug
As we all know, mountain biking is addicting. And when one person in the family starts riding, the rest often can’t resist. The Legge family from the SoCal League is a great example of this. Father Mike Legge started riding first and coaches on the Newbury Park High School team, and now his twin sons Jake and Kyle are riders on the team. Their journey to the League and the sport of mountain biking was a family affair. Learn more about this family and their story here.
“The whole family goes to races. Most races have grandparents out there too. Best part is being together and helping the team to the best result possible. Everyone helps in a different way. It can be wrenching on a bike or helping with pre-race meal prep or just being the loudest cheerleader out there, we all contribute.”