We are pleased to announce that six new leagues will host events and races in 2021. Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Ohio make up the four most recent leagues to join our network of interscholastic cycling leagues with Kansas launching this spring and the others beginning their events this fall. Missouri and South Carolina were scheduled to begin hosting weekend events and races last year but were unable to due to the pandemic and are now on schedule to launch this fall as well.
The pandemic may have sidetracked us, but we were working hard behind the scenes. League Directors, coaches, and National Staff faced new obstacles and solved problems collectively, we grew as an organization. The pandemic reinforced the value NICA brings to its student-athletes, coaches and volunteers. All across the nation our participation grew by double digit increases. I am so proud of how we responded, proving we are stronger together and providing the critical outdoor activities we all need to reduce stress and keep our community spirit strong.
Earlier this month, Kansas hosted its first two race weekends. Tina Khan, Kansas League Director states, “It has been several years in the making and our inaugural season launch was a bigger success than I ever could have imagined. Our coaches, student-athletes, and families are uniting around bikes and single track in Kansas!”
The Ohio League will host its first races this fall. “The stoke boat is all fueled up and ready to go! With only a few months before our first NICA event weekend, we are full send to help prep our coaches and teams for a successful launch. The support from the community and positivity surrounding NICA in Ohio is unreal and unmatched. We already have some amazing teams all over the state and over 100 student-athletes signed up! The excitement is building, and we cannot wait to watch as friendships grow across the state.” shares Ohio League Director, Jen Malik.
We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the future, this past year proved the sustainability and strength of our programs as we continued to get #morekidsonbikes. We are working on our next class of new Leagues to bring us closer to our goal of having a NICA presence in all 50 states. We are currently looking at 6 new states with strong signs of having them join us in the near future.
Best Regards, Steve
What’s New Across NICA
Student-athletes at the Inaugural Kansas League race. Photo: Kansas League
Kansas League Hosts Inaugural Races
Congratulations to Kansas on the launch of their inaugural season on April 10th! 70 student-athletes from 7 teams across Kansas participated in the first race at Santa Fe Lake near Wichita. Visit www.kansasmtb.org to learn more about the Kansas league!
Photo: Holly Alastra / Montana League
NICA – Salsa Adventure Video Contest
NICA has partnered with Salsa to bring you a “behind the handlebars” view of what Adventure means to NICA student-athletes. Now through the end of May – we want you to define your adventure in a short video clip for social media. Click HERE for more information and to submit your video. Select submissions will receive swag from Salsa and be featured on NICA and Salsa social media platforms!
NorCal Celebrates its 20th Anniversary and Texas, Utah and Minnesota Celebrate 10th Anniversaries
With the return of spring racing to several of our leagues – we’d like to give a special shoutout and highlight to the NorCal League, celebrating their 20th Anniversary. We are also excited to join Texas in celebrating their 10th Anniversary this spring and Utah and Minnesota in celebrating their 10th Anniversaries this fall.
NorCal League Executive Director Vanessa Hauswald states, “We are thrilled to be celebrating our 20th anniversary with a robust roll out of plans that will greatly expand the reach, both geographically and demographically, of NorCal League programs to get more kids on bikes. By dividing Northern California into five regions, we can effectively swing the door wide open to all NorCal teens who want to learn how to ride and race bikes, in an inclusive and fun environment. This is a big moment for us; we’re on the edge of another big wave of growth and we couldn’t be more stoked about it.”
“We are so excited to be celebrating the first decade of the Texas Interscholastic Mountain Bike League. Many great individuals have poured their hearts and souls into this organization to get more kids on bikes and grow a league as big as Texas. I am fortunate to be here to celebrate this milestone and lead the league through the next ten years. We have an incredible foundation, amazing kids and limitless opportunities. Here’s to the next decade of building strong minds, bodies, character and communities.” says Texas League Director, Will Graf.
Members of Arizona’s Dine Composite Team. Photo: Dine Composite / 2019
NICA DEI Update
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Risha Grant, LLC Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity DEI Survey. More than 800 surveys were returned. Your input and feedback is extremely valuable.
NICA recognizes the value of participation in NICA League events for all student-athletes, free from discrimination based on race, religion, or gender identity. Our mission is to build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling. Our core value of inclusivity demonstrates our belief that everyone should be able to participate in our programs and feel welcomed, respected, and supported.
Our organization is aware of new legislation in several states regarding transgender students’ ability to participate in athletics. We will continue to monitor these laws and if they go into effect will determine what impact they may have on our leagues, our programs, and our student-athletes. NICA has had a transgender policy in place since 2015 that outlines our commitment to providing all students with the opportunity to participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity. We affirm our support for all student-athletes. To learn more about NICA’s DEI efforts please click HERE.
SoCal League GRiT Student Athletes. Photo: Nikki Peterson
Celebrate International Women’s Mountain Biking Day with NICA!
Join us on International Women’s Mountain Biking Day and celebrate all the ways NICA is getting #moregirlsonbikes! International Women’s Mountain Biking Day was started in 2018. This year we are celebrating IWMD locally with rides and small gatherings and sharing those stories on our national social media. You can join in the fun – by simply taking a photo of yourself (and your riding besties!) holding up a sign that says “ #moregirlsonbikes” or “ #NICAGRiT” in ANY Language – OR by posting a video saying “More girls on bikes!” in any language and tagging @nationalmtb so we can re-share!
Worldwide Cyclery – Miles for NICA
Worldwide Cyclery founder, Jeff Cayley states that “Worldwide Cyclery exists to support people having fun on bikes. What NICA does, in every possible way resonates with us!” As part of a friendly staff competition to see who can ride the most miles, Worldwide Cyclery has donated over $4,000 to help get #morekidsonbikes! Learn more HERE.
Walton Family Foundation Increases Support for NICA
We are excited to announce that the Walton Family Foundation has recently renewed and increased its support to NICA and our Arkansas League! The $500,000 commitment includes a $150,000 one-year grant to support our efforts to increase our diversity nationally, and a $350,000 three-year grant to support the growth of our Arkansas League. Gary Vernon, Walton Personal Philanthropy Group program officer, said, “NICA has had a tremendous impact getting more kids on bikes in Arkansas and across the country. NICA’s work will continue to improve lives through cycling.” Thank you, Walton Family Foundation, for your incredible partnership and commitment to our work!
NICA Awarded 2021 Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency
Thank you to everyone across the entire NICA community in helping to get #morekidsonbikes.
NICA is honored to announce that it has been awarded the newly updated 2021 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar! The award is the highest level of award from GuideStar and recognizes NICA as one of the United States leading mission-driven nonprofits. As a prestigious and trusted award it also demonstrates to our supporters the integrity and transparency of the work we do and commitment to reach our goals. Thank you all for your contributions and for sharing our mission and vision, whether you are a volunteer, coach, donor or sponsor, we couldn’t do this without your support. Congratulations!
Shimano Presents – All Bodies on Bikes
Kailey Kornhauser and Marley Blonsky are on a mission – a mission to change the idea that people in larger bodies can’t ride bikes. The duo aims to make cycling more inclusive, beyond just inviting people of all sizes to ride bikes, but by changing the entire idea of what it means to be a cyclist — not just on screens, but on trails and in people’s minds. Watch “All Bodies on Bikes” from Shimano HERE.
Giddy Up and Climb with Rebecca Rusch
Get your teammates organized and join world-class explorer Rebecca Rusch for the Giddy Up Challenge this Memorial Day Weekend, May 28-31. FREE registration for NICA League teams of up to 10 student-athletes and coaches (multiple teams allowed to accommodate larger teams) and $500 prize for winner of each challenge: 1) The team that climbs the most elevation, and 2) The team that raises the most funds to benefit organizations that preserve, protect and honor natural places and advocate for accessible outdoor experiences for everyone. $1,000 total to be awarded. Winners will be announced by Rebecca Rusch at the Instagram Live awards ceremony. Register today HERE.
NICA exists by virtue of our generous sponsors, boosters, foundation partners and individual donors.
We are extremely grateful for your continued support of our mission to build strong minds, bodies, character and communities through cycling. Consider supporting NICA or your favorite league today and help us impact the future of cycling!