Hello you amazing Coaches!

Congratulations to the 10,501 fall coaches that are finishing up their 2021 season! Thank you for all of your enthusiasm, your guidance, and your leadership. You all made a difference in the lives of the student-athletes you coached this season. Use the off season to recharge, play other sports, catch up on a show, or read a new book. Your team and your student-athletes will be so excited to see you next season!

Spring league coaches, the 2021/22 season is here! Thanks so much for taking the time to prepare for the season. The season and practice plans that you create will ensure that all of your athletes will be prepared to achieve their goals! There is so much that goes into coaching that is unseen by the athletes and their families. Know that your effort makes a difference in the lives of your student-athletes.

Have a great day and thanks for being a coach,
Mike McGarry and The NICA Coach Licensing Team
“Your influence is never neutral” - John O’Sullivan

In This Issue:
1. Game of the Month: 2 Truth and 1 Lie
2. NICA Coach Education to Remain Open for Fall League Coaches
3. Spring Leagues: It’s Team Building Time!
4. BIEA NICA Bicycle Technician Scholarship
5. CEU and Educational Partnerships
6. NICA Handbook Spotlight: Rule 4.2 Bike Requirements; Hands on Bars
7. GRiT Corner: “The Power of One”
8. NICA Sponsors Spotlight: GU and Salsa
9. TrueSport: Ambassadors on the Life-Changing Power of Sport


Game of the Month: 2 Truth and 1 Lie

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We need images of your teams playing games! Please send to

Where: Open Space
Objectives: I can build a strong team culture. I can learn more about teammates.
Setup: Team forms a circle and maintains physical distance. It might be a big circle!
Rules: Have all student-athletes form a circle. Ask everyone to think of 3 statements about themselves; 2 that are true and 1 that is a lie. Begin with a coach in the center of the circle. Randomly assign one student-athlete to close their eyes and say, “Start” and “Stop.” Coach will spin in the center of the circle with their arm pointed out when the student-athlete says, “Start.” On “Stop”, the coach in the center stops spinning and the student-athlete closest to their pointed arm shares their 2 truths and a lie. Others guess which statement is false.

When everyone has guessed, the student-athlete reveals which statement is false. Once a student-athlete has revealed their statement, they now go to the center of the circle and spin to select the next student-athlete to share. Once student-athletes have spun in the middle they are to go to an area to continue to listen/guess false statements, but are no longer in the circle. Continue until everyone has shared.

Reflection Questions: What did you learn about a teammate? What surprised you the most?

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NICA Coach Education

NICA coach education to remain open for fall leagues!

NICA coach education will continue to remain open during the off season for all fall league coaches that are currently in the Pit Zone. This means you will have the opportunity to access all of your NICA coach education year round! To locate your NICA coach education, log into your Pit Zone account and select the "Access Coach Courses" button. From there you will be able to work on and complete your NICA Coach Licensing education before the '22 Fall League coach registration begins.

Note: Coaches, please do not complete your annual concussion training until after Pit Zone opens for your League and you register for the fall 2022 season.

This is a great opportunity to get your coach requirements completed for next season, or work on moving up to a Level 2 or 3 coach!


Spring Leagues: It's Team building time!

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It’s a new season and student-athletes’ and coaches are ready to get going! Who are all these new student-athletes on my team? Where do we start? Team building!

Team building: The action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team, especially by means of activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation (Oxford).

Team building exercises with your team can help create a positive team culture in youth sports that cultivates student-athletes’ who feel a part of a strong, close knit cycling team. Furthermore, they escalate their level of play and their desire to play in many ways, here are 3 examples:

Develops Teamwork: Team building exercises allow team members who normally wouldn’t work together a chance to cooperate to achieve a specific goal resulting in a boost to their overall cohesiveness.
Furthers physical and psychological interaction: Taking a team out of their normal setting and giving them the opportunity to communicate in different ways intensifies their connection.
Creates team culture: Through team building your team can identify the values, attitudes, and goals that you and they want to act as the foundation of the team culture for the season.

It’s about developing the bonding between your student-athletes’ and coaches. Having a strong bond among student-athletes’ builds trust within the team and that means less conflict, and also encourages communication, which increases teamwork.

Here are two great examples of early season NICA Adventure team building activities you can incorporate into your early season practices:

1. 2 Truth and 1 Lie (see Game of the Month)

2. Rock, Paper, Scissor Tournament
Where: Open Space
Objective: I can create a common team experience. I can build a positive
team culture. I can have FUN!
Setup: Split the group into two. Team members play rock, paper, scissors against someone else in their group. (best of three wins). The loser becomes the winner’s biggest champion and cheers for them in the next round. The winners continue to play other winners until there is only one remaining player from each group. The final two players compete. No matter what everyone cheers for the final winner. Super Stoked...the more stoked you are the more fun this is!
Rules: Best two out of three wins!
* Rock breaks the scissors
* Scissors cut the paper
* Paper covers the rock
Reflection Question: What did your team have to do to be successful?


NICA is excited to partner with the Bicycle Industry Employers Association (BIEA) and announce the BIEA NICA Bicycle Technician Scholarship. This scholarship will recognize and support two graduating NICA student-athletes from the Class of 2022 who plan to pursue a professional career in the bicycle industry.

Through this scholarship, recipients will receive financial assistance and the opportunity to attend BIEA-accredited programs at either the Minneapolis Community Technical College or the Northwest Arkansas Community College. Both schools offer programs that will prepare students for immediate employment in technical positions in the bicycle industry.

Information on the qualifications and application materials for the BIEA NICA Bicycle Technician Scholarship are available HERE. Applications will be accepted until February 1, 2022.

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Apply Today!


While the CEU (Continuing Education Units) requirement for level 2 and 3 coaches has been in place for over 3 years now, this is the first time that many coaches will need CEUs to maintain their licenses. Here are some quick notes about CEUs that you can share with your coaches.

NICA/League Provided CEUs:
- Any in-person or online Leaders’ Summit (CEUs vary based on the length of the summit)
- OTB 201 Courses - 5 CEUs
- OTB 101 Course if taken a second time - 3 CEUs
- Taking the NICA Coach Licensing Level 1 course for 2 CEUs, if the coach is a level 2 or 3 coach in the current season or last season
- Taking the NICA Coach Licensing Level 2 course for 4 CEUs, if the coach is a level 3 coach in the current season or last season

Outside of NICA CEU Opportunities:
- course 1 CEU for each course (free)
- Positive Coaching Alliance course 1 CEU for each course (NICA coach discounts available)
- TrueSport course 1 CEU for each course (NICA coach discounts available)
- Coaching Licenses from organizations outside of NICA can be shared with Mike McGarry, at, they will be reviewed and awarded CEUs
- Teacher Development courses provided by schools or outside providers such as Ladies Allride, Trek Dirt Series, Ninja Series and BICP or PMIBA courses.

NICA will accept many of the same professional development and CEU requirements that teachers and coaches have through other organizations. They will just need to reach out to to have their course reviewed.

To learn more about NICA Continuing Education click HERE

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NICA Continuing Education Website


4.2.A Mountain Bikes Only: Student-athletes must compete using mountain bikes that have 26- to 29-inch wheels with tires not narrower than 1.75 inches. In addition:
1. Tires must have knobbies – no slick tires are permitted
2. No road bikes or mountain bikes equipped with drop bars
3. No cyclocross bikes
4. If a student-athlete is unable to ride a mountain bike with 26- to 29-inch wheels due to his or her height or other limitations, competing on a mountain bike with smaller wheels is permitted with League approval.

4.2.B No Single Speed Bikes: Pushing big gears has been shown to be detrimental to the joints (specifically the knees) of young student-athletes. Bikes must have multiple gears including at least five cogs in the rear.

4.2.C Front and Rear Brakes: Bicycles must have fully operational front and rear brakes. Brakes must be adjusted to provide significant stopping power. Brake pads must not be worn below recommended limits. It is recommended that bicycles be inspected by a mechanic before every race.

4.2.D Hands on Bars; No Bar Ends: All riders must race with their hands holding the bars within reach of the brake levers. For safety reasons, no bar ends (forward pointing handle grip extensions) may be used.

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NICA 2021 Handbook


“The Power of One” By Emily Green, NICA GRiT Program Manager

I want to share a story that happens to be from my own team, Wisconsin’s Madison West. However, it’s a story that can and is replicated all over. In sharing it, I urge you to think about how you can exercise and/or inspire the “Power of One” on your team.

At the end of 2017, our composite team had just one 8th grade female student athlete -- Opal -- and essentially no female coaches on our roster.

In the spring of 2018, during a pre-season event, Opal convinced 10 female student-athletes to join our 80-athlete team through her joyous enthusiasm for riding bikes on dirt.

Over the next couple of years, she continued to build the stoke and encourage those athletes to recruit others. In addition, our team’s leadership organized GRiT try-it-out events and made a deliberate effort to recruit female coaches, which is how I got involved, along with many others.

Fast forward to the end of this season and we now have 74 female student athletes and 41 female coaches, out of 244 student athletes overall and 157 total coaches across the three west Madison teams that started as one composite. The team’s overall membership has tripled in 4 years. The number of female student athletes increased by over 700% in that same time period.

The Madison West team happened to win the Division 1 Trek State Championship, and of the top 8 points earners for our team from any category -- male or female -- 6 of the top 8 were female, including Opal.

While Opal isn’t responsible for all of this growth, she is definitely the spark that started the fire, and a breeze that’s continued to fan the flames.

NICA is built on the collective power of thousands of individual actions like this. Every coach, volunteer, athlete and parent who gets involved has the power to create a ripple effect that may impact hundreds of kids’ lives. How will you use your Power of One? How will you encourage your students to use theirs? It all adds up to make a massive difference, and you never know what you might start.

Talk to your GRiT Coordinator or reach out to Emily at if you are interested in getting involved as a coach with GRiT in your league! Learn more about NICA GRiT HERE.



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Order some today!

GU Energy Chews are Back!

GU Energy Chews are now available in bite-sized minis, perfect for fueling while riding the trails. Try them in 3 caffeine-free flavors: watermelon, blueberry pomegranate, and orange! Order some today HERE

1344629 SAL NICA Rangefinder FB 2

Check Out the New Salsa Cycles Rangefinder

We love anything that helps get more mountain bikers on the trails! Our friends at Salsa Cycles just released new models of their Rangefinder line — a versatile, value-minded hardtail made for trail rides and bikepacking adventures alike. With confidence-building trail geometry and features for a variety of riding styles, it’s a brilliant choice for beginning riders. Learn all about Rangefinder at


TrueSport: Ambassadors on the Life-Changing Power of Sport

Even from a young age, the sports children play and the teams they join can shape them into the adults that they will become. Here, three TrueSport Ambassadors are sharing how sport has changed their lives, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. If you’re a parent or coach of a young athlete, hopefully the stories from these Ambassadors help deepen your understanding of how important sport can be to young people.

Sport teaches athletes to deal with adversity
“Sport has shaped my life in multiple ways, but one of the most prominent ways has been through the various trials I’ve faced in sport,” says 18-year-old Olympic weightlifter Abby Raymond. “Every hurdle has given me an opportunity to grow and learn from my mistakes. Each setback has made me stronger by providing the opportunity to persevere, which in turn, has shaped my character.”

Even though the tough situations are uncomfortable, they also teach athletes how to be successful in sport and life. “I’ve learned everything I know today about sports from great coaches I've had in my life. And I've learned what not to do because of some bad coaches I've had,” says wheelchair curling Paralympian Steve Emt. “As long as you can learn from the good and leave the bad with the bad, you’ll be successful.”

Sport creates community
“Sport has changed my life for the better by providing an amazing community of other athletes, leaders, and coaches,” says Raymond. For many young people, it’s been difficult to feel like they’re part of a community in the past year as schools switched to online learning and children weren’t allowed to spend time together due to COVID-19. However, many student athletes were able to stay connected to teams and coaches thanks to virtual practices, and this showed just how important sport can be when it comes to creating strong community ties.

“Being a disabled athlete, I've come across some incredible athletes during my seven-year career,” adds Emt. “We all have different stories and have shown incredible resolve in overcoming serious life-threatening adversities. I love being around my teammates because they pick me up when I need it and inspire me to be the best.”

Sport teaches life lessons and values
“Coaches have influenced my life in and outside of sport by being intentional about the lessons and values they teach,” says Raymond. “I’ve been blessed with amazing coaches throughout my athletic journey thus far and each coach I’ve had has been intentional about making sure that the lessons they teach me at the gym can also be applied in life. The best piece of advice I’ve received from my coach was to trust the process and to aim for progress rather than perfection.”

Athletes can grow into role models
**“Not long after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 16 years of age, I joined a team with other cyclists living with type 1 diabetes and that was a turning point for me,” says Mandy Marquardt, a professional cyclist for a global all-diabetes professional cycling team. “Finding Team Novo Nordisk changed my life—having the support system of people who understand what it’s like to follow your dreams while managing your diabetes is really special.”

“Sport has given me a platform to help others. Our team works to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes,” says Marquardt. “I’m grateful to do what I love, give back, and change people’s lives in a lot of ways. I strive to be a role model for young children, as well as a role model for people with diabetes, and inspire them to live life to the fullest. Being an elite athlete is a full-time job, and managing diabetes is 24/7, but I wouldn’t wish for it to be any other way.”

Sport teaches work ethic
“Sport has taught me the importance of hard work, teamwork, and participating in something that is bigger than yourself,” says Emt. “I couldn't imagine life without sports of some sort. Everything I learned at an early age was from participating in some sort of sport. I learned that I needed to work hard because others on my team depended on me. This lesson has stayed with me to this day.”

Sport teaches the value of losing
“My first curling coach taught me all about the sport of curling, and more importantly, how to be a man off the ice,” recalls Emt. “Before he and this sport came into my life, I needed to WIN. Tony, and this sport, taught me that is not possible, and that I needed to enjoy every second out there on the ice and every second when I come off. After every game or practice, no matter how I did on the ice, Tony was there with a big hug waiting for me. Tony taught me about life…curling is just a sport.”

“My coach Andrew Harris with Edge Cycling understands life outside of sport too and is fully invested in each athlete on the team,” says Marquardt. “He likes to say, ‘Winning is a lot more fun than losing, so let’s have some fun.’ It made me chuckle when I first heard it: It isn’t always about winning, but ultimately having fun and enjoying each and every day of putting in the work. As long as you show up and do your best, you’re a step ahead.”

Sport is often reduced to conversations about tactics and plays, talent and skills, and winning and losing, but it’s so much more than that. It's a life changing experience for a young athlete whose character is often shaped by the lessons they learn on the field of play. With the right coaches and support, sport has the power to shape resilient, courageous, and healthy young people who find success on and off the field.

About TrueSport

TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-
Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, while also creating leaders across communities through sport.

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