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NICA Launches End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign

Nov 18, 2022 at 9:07
by Pinkbike Staff  
Photos from the NICA event held on Trek s private trails.

NICA has played a part in changing many riders' lives—including some of our staff. Not everyone finds fulfillment in conventional school sports, and NICA promotes cycling as a healthy alternative. More than 25,000 student-athletes, 13,000 coaches, and countless volunteers across America help create an environment for kids to participate, have fun, and build a community around cycling.

This year NICA is asking for donations to support their efforts—and for the chance to win some great prizes from Trek, SRAM, QBP, Shimano, Specialized and more!

Photos from the NICA event held on Trek s private trails.

Help get kids into the sport with fun, inclusion, equity, respect, and community. Consider giving today.

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55 Comments
  • 32 1
 NICA has changed a lot of my life, and direction. Even though I’ve only done it 2 years, and my final year as a senior ended just last month. I’m on the Wisconsin division, featured in the top photo. We have the most laid back rules out of any team in the state I’m sure. For me, the fun of NICA is the riding with buddies, and having a good time just riding on my bike. We ride pretty much every trail in my local area, as long as we are comfortable to do it.

The people who can’t do the harder trails don’t, and everyone is included. Nobody is left out. Everyone flames NICA for being so strict, but in reality, it’s not nearly as bad if you just have fun riding your bike. I’m coming back as a coach for sure next season.
  • 16 1
 I love NICA (and I'm not even into XC racing), because I've seen our local team grow from 10 riders to 60 riders in the space of a few years. It's such a good sport for riders of varying athletic abilities and gives a lot of kids a place to fit in. That being said... at our final race this season the 'overall" was won in two different categories by people who had placed 2nd in every race they'd competed in to the person who ended up taking 2nd in the overall. The reason: points for service and extra points for completing all races (even though only best 3 results add into the point total). It just struck me as weird to see kids standing in the top spot on the podium over a person who beat them every time they competed in head to head competition.
  • 1 0
 @Hogfly: I'm not even into the XC culture either, but the entire environment and team are just so supportive and positive. I'm glad to hear that you have had a similar experience in other parts of the country!
  • 13 3
 How about you let us jump and practice actual skills instead of flat turns?
  • 6 1
 Jumps are scary and crashing hurts... It's the two things that first attracted me to mountain biking. Learn to do one well and you can avoid the other. My brother used to set up ramps in our driveway and then he would get the neighbor kids to lay down in front of it. Then I would race down the driveway, jump all the neighbor kids, land inside the garage and slide into the back wall on the polished concrete. Good times, good times.
  • 6 0
 In all fairness: they’ve changed the guidelines to “ride within your limits” and removed the ban on jumping and such. You still aren’t going to see much in the way of technica XCO style courses for racing (most of ours seem like half the course would be better completed on a CX bike), but they’ve ar least somewhat chilled out on the killjoy attitude.
  • 5 0
 I get the criticism but let’s not act like flat turns aren’t a skill. I know because I suck at them Big Grin
  • 4 1
 Jumping for the sake of jumping is risky - ever watch "Friday Fails"? NICA does not really support this. Getting tires off the ground on natural trail features for the purpose of navigating trails safely and quickly is 100% allowed and taught. There is no rule that says you can't get kids together outside of NICA and jump for the sake of jumping.
  • 3 0
 FloridaHasMTBToo Simple. On the team ride you are training. Nobody is stopping you from hanging at the local jumps with your buddies. Our local teams encourage our riders to ride with their friends and do whatever they want.....just not during training.
  • 2 1
 @j1sisslow: IF that is the case, ALL HS Football needs to be eliminated. How many serious injuries a year come out of that? Full disclosure, I don't support banning Football, just have NICA use logic and reason
  • 1 0
 @j1sisslow: maybe take up knitting?
  • 1 1
 flat turn skill is one of the best skills you can learn. And judging from your handle, you have a lot of flat turns in Florida
  • 12 4
 If there so great why is there a mass exit of high school divisions. Socal, Washington, Colorado and more
  • 13 0
 Comes down to some leagues feeling that the amount they have to pay the national NICA organization would be better used at running their own organization. Doesn't mean the organization and their goals are bad as all the leagues that are leaving are still running a very similar program just not under the NICA flag.
  • 8 4
 They're
  • 5 0
 NICA fulfills a gigantic space in the US youth cycling category. Is there room for more organizations - probably. Does competition promote improvement for all stakeholders? - absolutely.

Some states have NICA one season and other independent or USA Cycling leagues in a different season.

MTB future is very bright in the US and NICA plays big roll in getting many kids on the trail for the first time.
  • 4 0
 @jeremystclair: My league did that and thats not the case, at least for us. They wanted us to race at the more popular venues, where there simply wasnt enough space. There was also the insanely strict 2 tires on the ground rule.
  • 4 0
 @Themanicguy: I still cannot understand the 'No Jumping Rule'. Insurance/Liability? BS! If that IS the case, then lets stop ALL American Football at the HS level. How is that constant string of concussions and injuries 'insurable' and 6 inch hop over an obstacle isn't? Their MTB XC race courses and basically gravel paths. I ran XC in HS and we ran over MUCH more difficult terrain
  • 1 0
 @bman33: It is insurance and liability. We have events at locations where there is access to jumps and full DH parks - the only ask is that NICA riders remove race plates when they ride them.

We had kids break bones during regular season rides even without jumping and the NICA supplementary insurance covers everything.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: it was also a matter of having coaches being able to actually teach the skill properly. SoCal league has just started teaching higher skills courses to their coaches that includes jumping. It might be one thing to be able to ride anything yourself but to be able to teach it and correct bad form to minimize risk factor can be a whole different story, especially for kids that have only been riding for a couple of years. SoCal did a summer camp this year that had two days of bike park riding at snow summit and skypark. These kids rode the jump lines all day long. They couldn't ride a technical section to save their lives though.
  • 2 0
 @dcreek: Still call BS on the insurance perspective. HS Football is vastly more injury & concussion prone. In addition, most kids I see in NICA leagues are already MTB'ers prior and have basic skills. How does Football get 'insurance' and somehow MTB gets watered down rules? Not saying NICA is a bad thing, glad it's out there as an alternative to stick/ball sports, but evolution is welcomed
  • 1 0
 @bman33: nica is not the school district. Football is. Big $ difference.
NICA changed the no jumping rule in 2018.
  • 3 0
 Many states left because the national league tries to push biological males who identify as female racing against biological females. More conservative states are opposed to this. In fact, even many very liberal people are against this as it appears to be harming women's sports.
  • 1 0
 @Themanicguy: isn't that a local league decision? Why would NICA national care where you race?
  • 1 0
 @Ra1der: show me this directive from nica.
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: From the 2022 NICA Handbook. "5.7.B.1 Philosophy of Gender-Identity Participation: NICA and its
leagues believe that athletic participation is valuable to all students’
physical, intellectual, social, and character development; accordingly,
we value and prioritize inclusion. Guided by this value, we are
committed to permitting all students to participate in athletic activities
and competitions in a manner consistent with their gender identity."

What an amazingly biased "article" on singletracks. Thanks for posting.

nationalmtb.org/wp-content/uploads/NICA-Handbook.pdf
  • 2 0
 @Ra1der: what you claim and what that says are miles apart.
  • 2 0
 @fruitsd79: I'm clearly not as educated as you. Help me understand how these two statements are miles apart.

Them: "Guided by this value, we are committed to permitting all students to participate in athletic activities
and competitions in a manner consistent with their gender identity."

Me: "...the national league tries to push biological males who identify as female racing against biological females."

I mean, I guess I could have also said that this would allow biological females who identify as males to compete against biological males, but let's be real, this isn't happening.
  • 1 1
 @Ra1der: them "we live and let live. If you want to register as X we allow it" versus you "push biological males who identify as female racing against biological females."
Nobody pushing an agenda. These people exist, less than a percent, and nica said they don't discriminate. You're looking for someone to kick down. And you're looking for a fraction of the population to be your boogeyman.
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: You're reading a lot into my comments. I'm not looking for anything. I explained why many states left the league. I was unclear- NICA is not pushing the athletes to do anything; they ARE pushing states to allow this.
  • 1 0
 @jeremystclair: I have no idea, but according to my coachs they did.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: I feel like its more of an "don't make it more dangerous than it has be" thing. Still think its stupid tho
  • 3 0
 Curious how many coaches or those with personal NICA experience are commenting here? Don't get me wrong NICA is not perfect but after 4 years of coaching and watching my kids enter the program I have to applaud what has been created. For many this is their first exposure to MTB, a team, or outside movement. Sure among the die hard biker it seems stifling and burdened by rules, but to the kids it's place, purpose and fun on 2 wheels. Don't let our zeal for conflict or propensity to wax on about how things could be better get in the way of good being done.
  • 1 0
 I am a current level 3 coach and have been involved with the Idaho league and our local team for several years. My wife and I have continued even after our son graduated.
  • 1 0
 I'm a Level 2 coach in Arkansas. My son is much more interested in racing enduro and freeriding, but he had some pretty spectacular results in some enduro/gravity races late this season, and he's convinced it's because his fitness was really good from NICA season this year.
  • 1 0
 Level 3 coach in my 5th year coaching. Love the team, the sport, and the amount of time we spend together as a family riding bikes.
  • 2 0
 Cool fact about the top photo is that race is held at Trek’s private trails in Waterloo Wisconsin. Only open for employees, their friends, and races. Super cool to have been there a couple times already for the races
  • 1 0
 Was a NICA coach for 3 years. The community was awesome. It was great to see what some teams did to make cycling accessible for kids. I wasn’t coaching anymore when Colorado split, but I think NICA deserves a lot of credit for getting the ball rolling
  • 4 2
 I wish they would have had this when I was a kid

When did this weird redundant "would have" enter the American vernacular?
  • 1 0
 What would you say instead?
  • 3 0
 @hughbm: You can drop the "would have" and the meaning is the same. "I wish they had this when I was a kid."
  • 4 0
 Nica raghhhhh
  • 1 1
 Thought it was some alphabet of American law enforcement. Can see someone kicking a door in with an oversized gun screaming “NCIA!”
Seems I was wrong.
  • 2 0
 Wish we had this program in Canada.
  • 1 0
 I don't like how they blatantly discourage and real racers tho
  • 2 3
 They use trail days to destroy jumps. Nica is ass
  • 1 0
 Living up to the name i see
  • 1 0
 @coltenbraden: yeah man I’m definitely a jerk cause I destroy jumps on trail days.
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