Executive Director's Note I am more excited than ever by the accomplishments of our student-athletes, volunteers and dedicated staff across the count
Executive Director's Note
I am more excited than ever by the accomplishments of our student-athletes, volunteers and dedicated staff across the country. This fall, more high school students participated in school based cycling programs than ever before and we are thrilled to report on the wrap-up of the fall racing season in this robust issue of the NICA News.
As each month passes, we hear more incredible stories of how participation on a high school cycling team has improved an individual's life. As I spend more time with those involved, I grow increasingly motivated to refine and expand our efforts and put more kids on bikes under the mentorship of trained and compassionate coaches. While NICA continues to grow and strengthen, we are pushing hard to increase our capabilities and reach. To help this effort, we are building our partnerships with positive organizations like Western Spirits Cycling Adventures, Optic Nerve, Ritchey Logic, Double Forte and many others while also asking new supporters to join the NICA Booster Club. Developing the next generation of clean, responsible and community oriented cyclists is a team effort and I hope you share the excitement that all of us at NICA and our member leagues feel. We continue to passionately pursue our mission to help youth build ties to the school community and develop lifelong healthy habits while participating in an inclusive team experience that helps build strong bodies, minds and characters.
Thank you for your time and support,
Argentinian Olympian Jimena Florit (front right), NorCal Coach Ken Mozek (third from right) provide instruction to NY Coaches on a brisk Fall Day.
Fall League Roundup
The Fall Racing season and Leaders’ Summits for Spring Leagues are complete! With that, the 2013 NICA programs are finished, and the NICA team is celebrating the successes, and getting charged to support our existing and new leagues in 2014. Below is a brief recap of the activities from the past month.
New York League Leaders' Summit
The first weekend of November marked New York’s second Leaders' Summit taking place in Tarrytown, with 23 coaches in attendance. NorCal League Coach Ken Mozek and NICA's Skill Director Lee McCormack lead the training. Jimena Florit joined the summit as New York’s VIP coach. Jimena twice won the NORBA cross-country overall title, as well as a pair of overall short-track championships, a Pan American Games gold medal and represented her home country of Argentina at two Olympic games. “The New York League Leaders’ Summit had a cavalcade of super stars attend this year and our incoming coaches left with one thing in mind.... I am ready to be a New York League coach!!!” stated Jason Cairo, New York League Director.
Utah State Championship, Varsity Boys racing.
Utah completed their 2nd race season November 9th with 461 student-athletes participating in the State Championships in Moab. Raving fans and parents were also joined by the NICA Board of Directors and mountain bike racing legends Ned Overend and Todd Wells to enjoy the event.
"What NICA and the Utah league are doing here is incredible," stated Wells, who is a multi-time national champion, a Leadville 100 winner and one of the most decorated cross country racers currently racing. "Just exposing all of these kids to bikes and teaching them these skills is giving them a sport they can do for the rest of their lives."
Student-athletes racing through the desert (avoiding the cactus).
On November 10th, at White Tank Regional Park, Arizona completed their inaugural four race season where 176 riders participated in the series. "What an awesome inaugural season! The support and enthusiasm from student-athletes, coaches, families and volunteers was truly amazing. We are so proud and so thankful," remarked Mike Perry, Arizona League Director.
Big start on race day!
November 17th marked the last race for the Tennessee inaugural season at Lock 4 in Gallatin with 66 racers competing in the final race of the season. Tennessee Executive Director, Kat Williams stated, "The series would not have been possible without the awesome crew, volunteers, coaches and parents. We thank you!"
2013 Race 4 Haymaker Classic State Championships. Photo Credit: Kate Eng.
The Colorado League had another tremendous season. A total of 591 student athletes from 39 teams participated, a 30% increase from 2012! In addition, the Colorado League experienced 20% growth in female student-athletes ridership. This season, a whopping 39 teams supported by 174 coaches, celebrated 34 "legacy" racers who participated in the league their entire high school career. The Colorado League also had an average racer attendance of 475 students!
Minnesota League Co-Founder Joshua Kleve (left) takes the helm from League Director, Gary Sjoquist (right).
Minnesota League Director Passes the Helm
Minnesota League Director, Gary Sjoquist is stepping down from his role as League and Race Director, and is passing the baton to League Co-Founder, Josh Kleve. “It’s been a great two years leading the growth of our league,” said Sjoquist. “I’d like to thank the coaches, racers, parents, and volunteers who fueled our first two years of growth. But now I’m going to focus on building a Board of Directors and developing a diversified funding base to support our growth. Josh will do a great job of leading our league into the future,” stated Gary Sjoquist. Josh Kleve expressed his appreciation for Gary’s work, “he has done a phenomenal job getting the Minnesota High School Cycling League started and I am very excited to keep this organization expanding, reaching our goals, and having more athletes racing bikes in the great state of Minnesota."
NICA Booster Fund: Help expand opportunities for all participants! Join Now!
The NICA Booster Fund was established in 2012 to provide grants to individual student-athletes, coaches, and teams with the goal of increasing participation in NICA Leagues. The fund also helps to assist in the development and funding of new Leagues across the county.
NICA executive director Austin McInerny 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 advance NICA’s vision of enabling every American teen to strengthen body, mind and character through participation in high-school mountain biking.”
Bid on this awesome one-of-a-kind 650 B frame hand-built by Tom Ritchey!
Very Special Ritchey Bike Auction Underway
NICA supporter Tom Ritchey has given us a one-of-a-kind, fillet brazed, 19-inch, 605B frame (that he himself, built!) to be auctioned as a NICA fundraiser. NICA followed-up with an interview to learn more about this special frame, fillet brazing, Tom’s personal history with 650B, and his hopes for the future of high school mountain bike racing. Click here to read the full interview.
January 25th, 2014, Save the Date! Celebrate the 2013 NICA Awards and Benefit Ride with Us!
The annual NICA Awards will be held January 25th at Chabot Space Center in Oakland, California. Preceding the gala event, NICA will host a mountain bike ride in the famously beautiful Northern California coastal hills.
The NICA Awards were established to annually honor individuals, student-athletes, coaches, volunteers and partners that have made outstanding contributions benefiting their immediate communities and development of the national high school mountain biking movement.
We are truly inspired by the tremendous commitment of the student-athletes, dedicated coaches, and passionate volunteers that form our close-knit community.
Registration to purchase tickets to the event will open in two weeks, when we'll also announce our very special guest speaker. So stay tuned!
A Special Thanks to Double Forte
We’d like to thank the talented team at Double Forte, NICA’s public relations and marketing partner for the last two years. Double Forte has been an instrumental part of NICA’s growth through their strategic counsel, serving as an expert resource for media relations, PR material and marketing campaign development. The San Francisco-based agency has assisted in the implementation of nationwide programs, including NICA’s trail etiquette and stewardship program, the Spirit of Howdy. As NICA continues to grow, we’d like to say thank you to Double Forte for riding with us towards our mission of developing high school mountain biking, coast-to-coast by 2020. We recommend Double Forte to anyone looking to creatively advance their public relations and marketing presence.
Custom NICA Glasses Case Comes with Each Order!
Optic Nerve glasses at discount with free NICA engraving!
40% off two great mountain biking sunglasses: the Thujone 2.0 in Shiny White and the Squeezebox PM in Shiny Black. PLUS a free NICA engraving and custom NICA soft case. If that doesn't sound good enough, 10% of profits benefit NICA!
To order, purchase either (or both!) of the models at www.opticnerve.com and use promo code NICAGIFT at checkout. Code lasts until Midnight PST on Sunday December 15, 2013. Guaranteed Christmas delivery!
The Thujone 2.0 in Shiny White
Student-athlete, Andrew Bachman of the Tennessee League.
Student-Athlete Interview with Andrew Bachman of the Tennessee League
We sat down to talk on the phone with one of our student-athletes, Andrew Bachman, from the brand, shiny-penny, new Tennessee High School Mountain Bike League, a few weeks ago about mountain biking and his first race season ever. Andrew is a freshman at St. Andrews-Sewanee School in Sewanee, TN and took time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with me about his experience with the new Tennessee League. Have a read!
Be a Hypebeast! Click through for contest details!
Photo Contest (Why is your coach so awesome!?)
Congratulations to our previous winners, Keith Heaton from Utah, Oliver Lawrence from California, and Kenny Patenaude from Eau Claire, Wisconsin! They submitted their winning bike cleaning in action photos and prose and grabbed some great gear from our ever generous sponsors: Camelbak, GU Energy, SRAM and Maxxis! Thanks to our sponsors and thanks to our winners!
Now get ready everyone, here comes another photo contest and trust me, it’s a good one...
The HypeBeast Edition: How Awesome is Your Coach?!
Who says being a hypebeast has to be a bad thing?! What if you were a beast about mountain biking and love to hype the Coaches that help you get stoked on riding?! So I’m calling it, right here. Right now. Be a hypebeast about your coach and tell us what makes them so awesome and inspirational!
Submit a picture of your Coach in action and tell us why you think they’re awesome and inspirational. Submit on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook but be sure to tag #NICAhypehead and @nationalmtb.
We’re going to select one winner from each league. So snap some new pictures or send in old ones, just make sure to tell us why you love your coach so much!
Contest ends December 19th. All winners will receive a fresh set of rubber from Maxxis in size 26” or 29” with some brand new tubes to match. (Sorry, no tubeless.) Have fun!
Scrub My Ride Winner Keith Heaton.
Scrub My Ride Winner Oliver Lawrence.
Scrub My Ride Winner Kenny Patenaude.
Western Spirits offers high school families amazing trips!
Looking for a great Summer trip? Western Spirits trips for the coming summer are being tailored for high school students and their families.
Umpqua River Trail: July 20-25th and July 28-August 1st
The Umpqua River Trail trip in Oregon includes some of the best singletrack anywhere in the country.
The trail is truly world class—smooth, perfect trail tread with excellent traction undulating through vast and diverse forests of mountain hemlock, western cedar, and the mighty Douglas Fir.
For much of the trip we follow the North Umpqua River downstream. But don’t be fooled — there is plenty of climbing as we flow through the forest. While we contour through the mountains, we are often high above the river with exposure on the downhill side. Singletrack experience is a must! For more information and to register click here.
Descending down a trail into Durango.
Telluride to Durango 7/6-11, 7/13-18
Telluride to Durango is a superb mix of singletrack and doubletrack through the remote San Juan Mountains of Colorado.
Also known as the “American Alps” the San Juans are stunning, their weather cool, their air clean, and the camping some of our most beautiful.
Singletrack on this tour includes the beautiful East Fork Trail, Relay Creek, and the grand finale on the remarkable Hermosa Creek Trail. We’ll finish the tour at Trimble Hot Springs for showers and a soothing soak. For more information and to register click here.