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Varsity boys sprinting it out to round out the podium. Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

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Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

More Cowbell – MT NICA Race Day Report

Lolo Lift-Off, Lolo, Montana - Under cooler morning skies and a playlist that had even the groggiest of spectators moving to the beat, the 3rd race of the Montana NICA season lifted-off in Lolo, Montana.

Hosted on the picturesque Rossignol Ranch and just miles from Travelers Rest National Historic Site (where long ago travelers would rest and prepare to cross the rugged mountains of Lolo Pass) the race setting was inspired by the intrepid adventurers of yesteryear. Lily, a hometown Freshman rider exclaimed, “Once you climb up you definitely get some of the best race views yet.” John, a Sophomore with the Copper-City Sprockets noted, “I really like this course, not too much climbing but has a really technical downhill which I am excited for.” David, a Sophomore with the Bitterroot Buccaneers added, “It’s a really cool course. It’s more technical but not too many flats, definitely my favorite course so far.”

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Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

The 3.3 miles per laps of this classic cross-county trail made the overall course length the longest of the season. However, more race experience, increased athlete conditioning and a gentler trail grade had some of the speedier racers crushing the lap times of previous courses. Sarah, riding JV girls for the Billings Dirt Dogs described, “A nice constant uphill, and the downhill as different, with more fun switchbacks.”

When riders were asked about their favorite part of riding with MT NICA, it was their teams that topped the list. Talking race strategy with 6th grade Missoula Mammoths rider, Cooper, he explained this about conserving energy, “When you stand up it’s like lighting a match, which burns out the fuel, so you stand up more for the second lap to get as much speed as you can.” Overall, Cooper concludes that, “I just really like riding with my friends.” Seventh grade independent rider and veteran racer of the Washington NICA league, Sophie, noted she was excited to try the shorter laps but longer course length of the Lolo course. Sophie also added, “My favorite thing about racing with NICA is riding with my team and the people.” Welcome to MT NICA Sophie, we are so glad you could race with us!

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Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Shawn, a Missoula parent noted this of his daughter’s (Ryan) first ever NICA race, “It’s really well put on, a super positive environment and a great venue for creating positivity for our youth. I am looking forward to many more years.” He also gave a shout-out to MTB Missoula for their dedication to create more trail access in this host community. Community partnership was also highlighted by coach James from the Billings Dirt Dogs. “In our community we have 4 different high schools represented. Kids all together on bikes, cheering everybody on.” Billings works to provide bikes for riders that have outgrown their bike or don’t have one. James added that on the way to the Lolo race they picked up two more donor bikes for their program - the donor noting, “These (bikes) are for the kids…I just want them to ride.” Inspired words from our MT NICA community supporters. Thank you for supporting our kids to “just ride”.

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Photo: Holly Alastra

All in all, Missoula coach, Betsey, summed up the Lolo Liftoff race day efforts perfectly, “The stoke is high, the weather is perfect, it couldn’t be better!” Let’s keep the stoke going and we hope to see you all in two weeks for the concluding race of inaugural Montana NICA Season – The Copper City Crusher! Race results of the Lolo Liftoff HERE. Until next time riders…more cowbell!

Terry Miller
MT NICA Race Day Reporter

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Photo: Holly Alastra

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Photo: Holly Alastra

Sponsor Shoutout!

Without the following League Sponsors and donors, none of this would be possible!

A HUGE shoutout to:

▪  Zillastate
▪  Bozeman Health
▪  Trek
▪  Owenhouse Cycling
▪  The Cycling House
▪  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
▪  Crowley Fleck Attorneys
▪  Lone Peak Physical Therapy and Performance
▪  Consumer Direct Care Network
▪  DCI Engineers
▪  Weyerhauser
▪  Wells Fargo
▪ Virga Sparkling Water
▪ Black Coffee Roasting Co
Bozeman Health
Owenhouse Cycling
The Cycling House
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
Crowley Fleck Attorneys
Lone Peak Physical Therapy and Performance
Consumer Direct Care Network
DCI Engineers
Wells Fargo
Virga Sparkling Water
Black Coffee Roasting Co

And did you notice the big white Chevy Silverado 3500 we're pulling our trailer with? Shoutout to Coley Jones, Business Manager at Karl Tyler Chevrolet in Missoula for helping us get to the races in style!

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Join our Core Race Team!

Core Race Staff Opportunities!

We are still looking for help with a few more positions!

Race-Ops Assistant- Assist our wonderful Ops manager Bill Schultz and help to ensure the infield is dialed. He has been putting in a ton of behind the scenes work and the least we can do is get him a helping hand.
Merchandise Manager- Did you see our sweet merchandise last weekend? Molly and Eric Bowman have tacked that on top of their existing Registration Manager and Race Director roles, and we would love to have someone come on to help share the load.
Assistant Course Setter- You might ask why we need an assistant for our seemingly tireless Chief Course Setter, Guy Mackenzie, but it never hurts to double up this key position.
Assistant Course Marshal- Young buck and NICA graduate, Jackson Melin has been doing an amazing job as Chief Course Marshal, however this is another critical position that we would love to have backed up.
Hospitality Director- Do you have a knack for taking care of people and procuring great food? If so, we would be psyched to have you on our team to help with volunteer meals, schwag, and overall contentment.

Email if you are willing to help!


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And check out our website!
Montana NICA
NICA National


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Kind regards,
Montana Interscholastic League

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