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We celebrated NICA's 2nd birthday in September at Interbike (national bike industry convention) where we had the chance to thank the many sponsors of the coast to coast movement.

October 21

(firstname, fallback=Director's Note):

It's a tough reality for me; I just can't be at all the NICA races anymore. Every race weekend has its own story, characters, triumphs and challenges. They leave one exhausted, but also full of so many varied experiences and lasting memories. We are lucky for the incredible work of our league directors and their amazing volunteers and staff. The final race of the 2011 season is Sunday, October 30th, in Castle Rock, CO. Why not check it out?

Here at the NICA office we are in the midst of re-organizing to handle the next wave of growth. It's estimated with our jump from four to seven leagues (Welcome Utah!) that we'll also be going from 1000 to 2000 kids in 2012. We are also working hard to replace our NICA League Start-Up Fee with a NICA League Start-Up Grant. It's an exciting time for this movement, and a good time to get involved. Hope to see you out there at one CycleFest Dinner, or another this fall.

Happy trails!

Matt Fritzinger
NICA Director

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Utah Announced as Next NICA League

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association is pleased to announce the Utah High School Cycling League as its next League, a significant step towards NICA’s mission of taking high school mountain biking coast to coast by 2020.

Lori Harward, the new director of the Utah League, said, “This is a great thing for Utah. NICA's five core principles of inclusivity, equality, strong body, strong mind and strong character are what attracted me to NICA. As cycling coaches, my husband Dave and I have been looking for ways to get more kids into cycling for some time. NICA’s all-round package is perfect for kids and community, and we’re all really excited to be part of this tremendous national movement!”

Generous sponsorships from Harristone, Simply Mac Racing – a premier cycling club – and Park City Point-2-Point have helped give the new Utah League a flying start.

A Leader's Summit for coaches will take place in the spring and racing will commence in the fall of 2012; interested coaches should contact Lori at Lori@utahmtb.org. To learn more, go to the Utah League website at www.utahmtb.org.

NICA Awards Banquet – Guess the Host!

The second annual NICA Awards will take place on January 14th at the CLIF World Headquarters in Emeryville, CA. The event will be hosted by a prominent off-road racer – but who?

Head over to the NICA Facebook Page and leave us a note with your best guess. On October 28th we will randomly choose among the correct answers a winner who will receive a a free pair of NICA Arm and Knee warmers!

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2011 NICA Awards. Go to the NICA Awards page to view nomination categories and submit your nominations. Nominations will be accepted through November 7th.

View the 2010 NICA Awards Recipients here.

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NICA Launches Indie Club Program for all 50 States

At the Interbike trade show in Sepember, NICA launched the Indie Club Program, whereby individuals in all 50 states can join NICA as part of the high school mountain bike revolution.

Matt Fritzinger, NICA’s executive director, said “With the 50-State Indie Club program we are excited to reinstate our ground-up approach to creating leagues, which originated in 1998 when four students responded to a school bulletin. This was the foundation of the Berkeley High School Mountain Bike Club, which grew into the NorCal League.”

In recent years, coaches with the desire to set up a high school team in their state have had to wait for the formation of a league and then become a member of it before obtaining their NICA Coaching Licence. The Indie Club program now enables coaches to acquire the coaching licence, one component of which is attending a NICA Leaders’ Summit, and then they are able set up an independent high school mountain bike club without the requirement of an existing NICA league.

For more information go to NICA Indie Club or contact Tyler Dibble.

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Racers cross the finish line at the Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede in Granby, CO. Photo Credit: Carrie Dittmer

Colorado League Kicks off Season with Tremendous Growth

The 2011 Colorado Season started off with fantastic momentum as 255 student-athletes hit the Chalk Creek racecourse on the McMurry Ranch in Nathrop, Colorado in mid-September. With 28 teams and 255 competitors, the League nearly doubled the highest-attended race of the inaugural 2010 season. This phenomenal growth showcased what is the strongest field of riders in Colorado High School racing history.

Both coaches and parents alike shared a great appreciation for what the League offered their riders and children. From the camaraderie and community, to the physical challenges of racing, everyone involved found the experience to be a positive influence and were proud to be a part of the Colorado League.

The Colorado League will be hosting the Colorado High School Mountain Biking State Championships on October 30th at Castle Rock, Colorado. In addition to presenting season-long awards, the league will also be announcing additional awards like Coach of the Year and the Team Spirit Award. View the categories and how to nominate riders here.

Read the Season Opener press release here, or go to the Colorado website to see full results from the Chalk Creek Challenge!

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Keep Warm with NICA Gear

Just in time for the cold weather, NICA now has arm warmers and knee warmers available in the NICA online store! These are a perfect compliment to any cycling kit and make a great gift for the cyclist in your life.

100% off the proceeds go toward achieving NICA's mission of bringing high school mountain biking coast to coast!

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Vance talks about the new Texas League.

Quick Spin with Vance McMurry, Founding Chair of the Texas League

The Texas High School Mountain Bike League is ramping up to its first Leaders' Summit, October 22-23, and an inaugural racing season is just around the corner. Founding Chair, Vance McMurry, is loving the ride.

What are the most exciting things that are happening with the Texas League now?
One of most exciting things is talking to the future coaches of the Texas High School Mountain Bike League. Just this past weekend, we had three new coaches contact us about leading teams. Their excitement and enthusiasm is fantastic!

The generosity of people never ceases to amaze me! Recently, we had a local company contact us to see if we would allow them to sponsor a fundraising event for the Texas League. This is in addition to Reveille Peak Ranch and Terra Firm Promotions sponsoring the Reveille Peak 100 mountain bike race for the Texas League.

What are the major obstacles you've had to overcome?
Time! If any one is selling some time, I am buying.

What's the neatest thing that NICA is doing for project leagues?
What the NorCal League and then the NICA team achieved over 10 years is too cool for words. This year, growing the NICA team with people like Ben Capron is the best thing NICA is doing for the leagues! Ben is the new Development Director for NICA. He came to NICA from Specialized, where he worked for 17 years. Ben's involvement with NICA will be the best thing since the invention of the Camelbak.

Advice for others considering founding a development or a project league?
Do you remember the first time that you attempted that big drop on your mountain bike? You know the one I am talking about. The BIG drop where you may have stopped at the edge and tried to pick the "perfect" line. If you are considering on starting an league, don't stop at the edge. You need to roll right off the edge at full speed and keep your eyes down the trail.

Spin-Camp

The Casa Grande team in the NorCal League participate in a spin class during the off season.

Teams Use Spin Camp to Prepare for the Season

Pro teams have them; colleges do too. A pre-season training camp is a perfect time to bring beginner riders together with seasoned racers, to start building team chemistry and to develop goals for the upcoming season.

Two years ago, the Casa Grande High School team in Petaluma, CA adopted a ‘Spin Camp’ as the focus of their pre-season preparation. The camp began in early December and was held at a local health club. The one hour, weekly sessions were scheduled during slower times for the fitness club, like late Sunday afternoons. The club provided a certified Spin instructor, locker room facilities and the spin bikes, free of charge. For the camp, Coach Scot Wigert worked with Spin Instructor Andy Eber to create sessions that focused on specific objectives, from body positioning and riding form, to pedaling technique and interval training.

“In the spin studio I have close and controlled contact with each rider. The faster riders can’t separate themselves from the newbies; everyone is on the same machines and everyone rides together. I can assess their skill and give immediate feedback on form and technique, increasing confidence that when we hit the dirt, we will have a safe and successful ride”, notes Coach Scot Wigert.

With limited daylight and the addition of new, inexperienced riders, the Spin Camp has many advantages to supplement trail riding. The Camp provides a safe environment, unaffected by weather, for all riders to develop cycling power and confidence regardless of their technical ability. First-time riders, veteran riders, parents and coaches all participate in the structured sessions together, building a sense of community and team.

Don't have access to a spin club? Get riders on their Kinetic stationary trainers and a boom-box and you have a great alternative! NICA student-athletes can purchase Kinetic trainers for $150 (55% off MRSP), with 100% of the proceeds supporting high school mountain biking. Quantities are limited.

To find out how to adopt a Spin Camp for your team, contact Coach Scot Wigert (scot.wigert@gmail.com) or Spin Camp Instructor Andy Eber (aeber@mindspring.com).

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adidas Eyewear Benefit for NICA Student-Athletes and Coaches

As the holiday season approaches, you can outfit yourself with the best in riding glasses for racing, and casual styles for off the bike through adidas Eyewear. Remember that adidas Eyewear gives NICA student-athletes and coaches 50% off MSRP on adidas sunglasses.

Please visit Promotive.com to gain access to the program. Membership codes can be provided by Tyler Dibble, NICA's Associate Director. Don’t forget to post pictures of your new shades on the adidas Fan Page. They do fun stuff like pick people at random for prizes like extra lenses and other cool stuff.

Calendar

October 22–23 Texas League Leaders' Summit (Burnet, TX)
October 30 Colorado High School State Championships
November 12–13 NorCal League CycleFest
November 19–20 SoCal League CycleFest
November 5–6 Washington League Leaders' Summit
January 14 Second Annual NICA Awards

Full NICA Calendar

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