The Spring MICL season officially starts December 1st, though some preseason events may be held in October and November. Season ends in early May – officially the season wraps two weeks after the last race.
September – Season registration begins.
October and November – Registration continues through preseason with up to 6 team events, which are usually icebreakers and casual rides.
December-February – The season officially begins, meaning team practices and regular rides are in session.
March-May – 5 official MICL events will be scheduled. They’re designed to be achievable by a first timer, yet fun and challenging for a skilled racer.
The answer varies. Each team sets their own schedule of rides and practices.
A typical team might offer multiple practices and rides to accommodate varying schedules, or coach resources may limit them to one or two weekly. Folks are invited to do as much NICA as they want, there is no minimum required commitment. It’s not cool though, to simply show up for races.
First of all, the coaches need to know that all riders are safe to race and if they’ve never seen someone ride, they cannot vouch for them to race.
Second, the magic of what NICA is, the ‘secret sauce’ if you will, is in the time spent with teammates and coaches, learning, failing, growing, together as a team. Don’t miss that part!
Racing is optional.
Courses are designed to be achievable by new riders, yet still be fun and challenging for advanced riders. The faster you go, the harder the course.
Average course lap length is about 4 miles. For the length of the races, we aim for time targets: middle schoolers race for 35-45 min, high school varsity 75 min, everyone else in between.
Join an existing team:
Contact the team leadership and request an invitation from the team director or head coach through Pit Zone.
Start a new team:
Contact league leadership to create a plan and discuss setting up a new team. It only takes ONE interested kid and adult to get a new team off the ground and we would love to help you realize that vision!
Generally you should join the team that is nearest to you. If there isn’t one close by, or you don’t have an obvious option, email us to let us know you are looking for a team to join and we can help.
Middle and high schoolers, entering 6th through 12th grade, as of the Fall of that season. If you are going into 6th grade next Fall – you’re old enough.
It’s true – this sport is different. This is one of the only youth sports that invites parents to participate alongside their kids. Some of the ways parents can get involved are:
Volunteer to help with team needs & be an important part of the team experience for your riders. Roles such as equipment manager, photographer, carpool coordinator, communications manager – all help a team out big time!
Volunteer for one of many roles at league events & get a front row seat to the transformative moments that happen in racing.
Become a coach, learn more about NICA character development, and ride & practice with the team!
Mountain biking is perfectly complementary to other sports – and every participant is invited to only do as much “NICA” as they want.
Remember that mountain biking is highly aerobic, low-impact, develops proprioception, balance, and coordination, and requires limited range of motion….it’s the ideal cross training activity for literally every other aerobic sport!
Teen Trail Corps
Teen Trail Corps is a component of the league that teaches stewardship and advocacy. We show kids not only how to physically take care of their trails with tools and techniques, but also how to advocate for access and for themselves as a constituent group. TTC includes activities like clinics on trail maintenance and how to write effective letters to elected officials.
More and more, colleges are setting up cycling teams and recruiting riders. Aside from the competition, being involved in extracurricular activities like a cycling team looks great on a resume. Also – bike shops are always in need of qualified Summer help – who better than a NICA rider who has been riding and tinkering on bikes already for years before getting hired?
Event Weekend/Team Efforts
We have fun bike activities that are part of the NICA Adventure programming. For example, we will travel to ride trails that are not conducive to race on as part of an event weekend. We will also have other fun events like scavenger hunts, costume rides, and play trivial pursuit by bike!
We offer camping at, or close to all our events – the camping and family time is some of the best part of NICA weekends!
The equipment requirements are “flat handlebar, tread tires, functional brakes and drivetrain” – the bike doesn’t need to be fancy. Here are some considerations:
Suspension is not required, but it helps. It helps by keeping the wheels & tires in better contact with the ground by allowing them to follow the terrain, and they make a rough ride more comfortable by isolating the rider from some of the shock. They add weight, price, and require regular maintenance to work well.
Disk brakes are also not required, but on any new bike, they’re worth it. They work better in almost all cases than rim brakes, and require less maintenance while offering more controllable stopping power. Especially for young and new riders who may not have lots of hand strength, they’re the ideal option.
Wheel sizes are nearly all 27.5” and 29” these days, but 26” or 24” is fine if that is what fits. Pay attention to the frame size for a good fit and factor in growth as best you can.
Just like in all sports, they don’t just play the sport for hours straight to practice….there are set plays, strength training, drills, equipment days, and chalk talks.
There will be a variety of activities that happen at practices. Some of it is designed specifically to develop skills, and some is meant to develop fitness, and some is meant to develop a riders mental game, or their character. There is definitely some trail riding, and there is certainly always a big dose of FUN.
Remember the original Karate Kid movie? Sanding the floor, waxing the car, painting the fence…put it all together and suddenly you’re a Karate master! We do the same thing, but with mountain bikes! Kids learn and practice skills in bite-size chunks. On big trail rides and certainly at the race weekends, they put everything together and achieve great things.