The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), a new organisation grown out of the successful NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League, is launching October 1 to promote and facilitate interscholastic high school mountain biking across the United States, board members announced at Interbike 2009.
The launch of NICA follows the successful first year of the NorCal League spin-off, the SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League.
According to NorCal League founder Matt Fritzinger, NICA’s vision is to develop high school mountain biking coast to coast by providing successful models of league development to interested regions by 2020. He and board member Austin McInerny presented Specialized Bicycle Components founder and president Mike Sinyard with a framed NorCal Racing League race jersey and number plates, signed by 100 high school racers as a token of their appreciation for Specialized coming on board as a founding supporter of NICA in late 2008.
"(Specialized global marketing director) Ben (Capron) lived in Marin County, and convinced me that we should get involved early," Sinyard told BikeRadar. "I believe that a national effort to get more high schoolers interested in mountain bike racing can only be a healthy thing."
The new association is led by Fritzinger, and will commence its work with four state or regional chapters. The initial states and regions are Northern California, Southern California, Colorado, and Washington.
"The NorCal movement was a revolution," Fritzinger told BikeRadar. "As a former high school teacher, I felt it was a school's responsibility to support the community's needs, and the positive impact we've had in the past nine years in northern California -- and now southern California, has been beyond our initial vision.
"We look forward to seeing the national effort grow."
With Specialized stepping in as the national founding sponsor in late 2008, and the Easton Sports Development Foundation II stepping up its backing of the SoCal League to include a sponsorship match programme at the national level, the fast emerging national league shows it has earned the trust and support of major industry players.
"We appreciate Specialized and its ongoing support, and look forward to additional top-level sponsors coming on board," Fritzinger added. "We anticipate 10 leagues in five years, with 5,000 kids participating in the programme."
While the search for corporate sponsorship continues in the quest to fully meet operating costs, a Trailblazer’s Team of individual benefactors has been established to provide additional support in getting – and keeping – the association off the ground. Early members of this important group include Charles Moore of McGuire Real Estate and Scott Tedro of Sho-Air International. NICA is also currently recruiting founding board members.
For more information, visit www.nationalmtb.org.