New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League members gather at a leaders summit last month. Photo by Mary Grow
BY TRAVIS MOULTON
The New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League was launched on March 8. The first official event of the new league was to host a National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Leaders Summit on April 23-24. The Summit had volunteers from Carlsbad to Farmington, and Silver City to Los Alamos including volunteers from the Navajo Nation. Haden Cox from Farmington said, “There is a lot of energy at the summit and the potential impact for NM can be great.”
Sessions taught volunteers about NICA’s techniques and methods of working with student athletes, starting and managing a NICA team, and NICA’s rules for mountain bike racing. Max Bennet of Carlsbad NM said, “My first bicycle gave me a sense of freedom that developed into a lifelong passion for cycling. Having the opportunity to share that passion with the younger generation and give back to the cycling community is why I’m taking this training.” For the second time in New Mexico volunteer coaches were able to take NICA’s On-the-Bike skills 101 so they can in turn teach basic mountain bike skills to their student athletes. For the first time NICA’s more advanced curriculum, On-the-Bike skills 201 was taught.
NICA national leaders were on hand to provide and oversee training including Mike McGarry, Senior Coach Licensing Manager, Abby Warner Vice President of Programs and Jake Webber, a certified Coach Supporter from the Utah League. Emily Dreyer from Albuquerque said, “Mike is an awesome instructor and the break out sessions were so informative. It has been great to meet coaches all across the state and share perspectives. I’m really excited to get more young girls on bikes and I wished I would have had such an opportunity when I was young.” Some 44 volunteers from across the state of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation participated and received various NICA certifications to help develop and grow NICA teams in their hometowns.
Greg Kirk of Gallup said, “I’m excited to see outdoor recreation opportunities expand in the local area and be part of this process as Gallup starts to reinvent itself. Gallup has so many outdoor recreation opportunities, especially epic trails!” NICA’s training focuses on risk management and teaching student athletes how to ride such trails safely. NICA also focuses on environmental stewardship. NICA practices a policy of leave no trace and sponsors a Teen Trail Corps program where student athletes volunteer for bike related advocacy activities and conservation projects including trail building.
Alan Bencivengo from Ft Defiance, AZ is a volunteer that helps with the Dine Composite team said, “There are very few organized recreational activities for youth in the Navajo Nation, and I’m so glad to be able to support stable and fun activities for the youth out here.”
About the New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League (NMICL)
The New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League’s (NMICL) vision is to provide a fun, inclusive, and safe environment for the youth community of New Mexico to experience the benefits of outdoor recreation, specifically mountain biking. Visit https://www.newmexicomtb.org/ for more information or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) mission is to build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling. 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 core value of inclusivity demonstrates our belief that everyone should participate in our programs and feel welcomed, respected, and supported.
Founded in 2009 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, NICA develops interscholastic and community-based cycling programs for student-athletes and coaches across the United States. NICA provides leadership services and governance for local leagues to deliver quality mountain bike activities and events. NICA has served almost 64,000 student-athletes since 2009. Currently, NICA has 29 state and regional leagues and 14,000+ registered volunteer coaches who are working annually with over 27,000 student-athletes from over 1,000 high school and middle school teams in the USA.NICA exists by virtue of generous sponsors, donors, and partners. For more information on NICA visit www.nationalmtb.org, follow @nationalMTB on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or call (510) 524-5464.