The National Interscholastic Cycling Associations (NICA) reported that more than 300 students in Utah involved in 30 high school teams have signed up to ride in its sanctioned mountain bike events, which kick off this fall.
Utah is the latest state chapter in the fast-growing cycling organization and is already setting records for early involvement. A coaches training session nearly doubled the largest previous clinic attendance and student sign up has outpaced other first-year leagues.
“The beauty of the NICA program is that no one rides the bench, everyone rides a bike,” said Utah High School Cycling League Director Lori Harward. “We've seen so much enthusiasm from kids, coaches, teachers and parents it's amazing. And not only are these students getting on bikes, but other leagues have seen huge rates of fathers and mothers of these kids take up cycling.”
To augment funding from the national NICA office, as well as numerous sponsors and donors in Utah, the new chapter is hosting a fundraising event in the Rice-Eccles Stadium Varsity Room on June 2. “Cyclefest” will feature a cocktail hour and dinner with a program by two-time Olympian and multi-time – and multi-discipline – national champion Todd Wells.
Silent and live auctions during the evening will feature everything from complete high-end mountain bikes and entries into some of Utah's most popular – and sold out – races to stays in southern Utah condos and massages.
Founded in 2009 in California and now covering six states and rapidly growing, NICA was created with the core principles of developing strong body, strong mind and strong character through efforts on a bike. Events have divisions for freshman, junior varsity and varsity athletes with top riders qualifying for regional and national championship races. Additional leagues are already scheduled to join the organization, and NICA is aiming for coast-to-coast participation by 2020.
For more information, visit www.utahmtb.org. To purchase tickets for Cyclefest on June 2, visit www.utahmtb.org/events/cyclefest.
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association is a Berkeley, Calif.-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and governing mountain bike racing for students across the country in grades 9-12. Launched in 2009, the organization now oversees racing leagues in Northern and Southern California as well as in Colorado, Texas, Washington, Minnesota and Utah. More information can be found at www.nationalmtb.org.