Photo credit: TMBImages/Todd Bauer

This one is for the girls.

As we wrap up an amazing inaugural season, we’ve been reflecting on all of the people, organizations, sponsors and communities that helped us get off to such a strong start.
And while we have a long list of folks to thank, this one is for the girls.

Several of our female student-athletes who have been racing in other venues were really pumped to see so many other girls toeing the line and having fun at our NCICL events this season. They were so pumped, in fact, that they took the time to express not only their thanks to the other girls in the league, but their sincere hopes that they will see all of these girls again next season.

These young women say it much better than I ever could, but let me at least attempt to add my voice to the chorus. As a cyclist, the presence of other girls and women has always been inspirational and motivating for me – as it has been for Skylar, Kira and Laurel. Each one of you, whether you know it or not, is providing support and building community for other girls and women to experience the joy, the adventure, the sense of accomplishment and the camaraderie that cycling provides. Thank you all for showing up, for putting in the hard work, for having fun, and for serving as role models for other girls. We look forward to welcoming you – and your girlfriends – back to NCICL next season!

Susan Helm-Murtagh
Past President, North Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League
Board Vice President, National Interscholastic Cycling Association
Card-Carrying Member, NICA GRiT (Girls Riding Together)


You are the future of the sport

To all of the girls who made the decision to race this season, thank you. Not once in my six years of racing have I ever seen such a large group of girls show up- it's amazing, to say the least! It takes a strong person and a ton of dedication to compete in a mountain bike race, and all of you are just that. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. No matter where you finished, you should be very proud of yourself. You are the future of the sport. NICA is really set apart from other series because of many things. A few of the main reasons included the large number of girls that showed up, the sheer amount of support received from everyone that came to the races, and the great courses! The courses were awesome for anyone from first time racers/riders to the most experienced racer. Overall, I hope to see each one of you girls and more back out there, whether it's racing or just riding. We're finally starting to get more girls on bikes.

Kira Zazzi
Lake Norman Composite
JV Girls State Champion 2017


I have never seen this many girls

In my seven years of racing, I have never seen this many girls. Sure, combining most of the junior girl's categories at any given race and you might reach a significant number, but it wouldn’t touch the number of girls at NICA. So thank you. Thank you for bringing more joy to cycling. Thank you for bringing cheer to cycling. Thank you for bringing more awesome to cycling. Thank you for bringing more shredders to cycling. Thank you for bringing more women to cycling.

When I think bikes I think fun. You could say the same about soccer or basketball, but there is nothing quite like flying through the woods on a bike. It has me and many others longing for more after every ride. It’s an adventure and after every adventure you can say, “Heck yeah, I just did that!” It’s the best feeling in the world and I’m so glad that every girl who came to NICA got to experience way.

Now, I’m not going to lie, some days are going to suck. There will be races where you want to quit. There will be races where you’ll want to quit cycling altogether. I can’t promise that every day will be 100% awesome. I can promise that after every ride you will feel accomplished. After every ride you’ll have conquered something most people shy away from.
So please, don’t ever give up. All of you are awesome for coming out and cycling is a sport for awesome people. Thank you.

Skylar Bovine
Guilford Gears Composite
Freshman Girls State Champion 2017


You just conquered something that seemed so daunting

When I first started racing seven years ago, the starting line only had me and maybe one other girl on it. And when we raced, it would switch on and off with who got the top spot on the podium. After a few races the other girl would get bored with the lack of competition and leave. When a new girl arrived, frequently they would be so intimidated they never came back. So for many years, it would generally be only myself, Kira, and Madi on the starting line. In some races I was the only female that raced in big field of boys and grown men. While everyone was cool to me and supportive, I felt alone.

When NICA NC started up, for the first time I saw a whole bunch of girls on the starting line. Every single one of them looked like they were actually interested and want to race. This is something I had only seen very rarely, mostly in myself, Kira, Morgan, Madi, and a few others. When all those girls ripped off the starting line at Lake Crabtree, I cannot tell you how happy I was to see girls like me enjoying riding and racing. Now, when I look ahead, I’m not scared anymore that it will just be me and a few others at the next race.

Ladies, please please PLEASE don’t give up. There will be races that seem unfair, there will be races that we don’t enjoy as much as the others and heck, there will be times when we are riding that we will want to quit. I have felt all of that many times. You can push through this. You can make it to the end. The other side will be great but I think you know this now. You should feel the satisfaction of a job well done, and you should feel pretty great, because you just conquered something that seemed so daunting at first.

I think y’all are pretty awesome, and I’m glad we can race together.

Laurel Long
Lake Norman Composite
Freshman Girls 2nd overall 2017


The new normal

A world with more girls riding is a world with stronger women. Mountain biking builds confidence in young women in a way that other sports simply can’t. It prioritizes confidence and camaraderie over competition and success, and it builds character and relationships along the way. Trek Bicycle and Emily Batty visited one of The Norcal High School Cycling League's races this spring just to see how NICA and mountain biking are having a positive impact on young women.

Story here:

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