AZ NICA is excited to be part of the national NICA organization, which develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes and coaches across the United States and promotes the values of fun, inclusivity, equity, respect, and community.
We are stoked to partner with NICA and rebrand in Arizona with our new and existing AZ NICA mountain bike families. As your fellow mountain bike parents, coaches, team directors, we have a strong working knowledge of what the next steps need to be to advance our community to the next level.
Our main objective is to propagate our mountain bike family, by providing a warm welcome to our venues and communities to all who want to participate. When you show up at our events, you’ll get a fist bump, high five, a hug, or even a secret handshake if you want to create one. Our league will embrace camaraderie, inclusivity, personalized coach/team support, and an overall vibe of good times!
We want to give back more time to our families by introducing Saturday-only racing. While we all love mountain biking, we believe that having another weekend day free will be important to a lot of our racing families.
In order to instill a lifelong love of cycling in our youth, we feel having a spring season that follows the mountain bike calendar race year (complementing local race series, such as MBAA, Cactus Cup, and MTB Nationals in July) will keep the stoke alive in our athletes. This will allow athletes to participate in other sports, focus on other activities, or take a break from training and simply enjoy their childhood.
Also, equal attention will be given to our middle school riders, to encourage their growth and participation in the sport, well into their high school years, by providing a Middle School Championship Race.
Finally, AZ NICA is offering the full range of NICA on- and off-the-racetrack programming and initiatives. This includes GRiT (Girls Riding Together); Teen Trail Corps; and Adventure program. See more details below.
Coaches are the backbone of the AZ NICA League. We are here to support you and make coaching and your coach education experience as easy as possible. We will evaluate education and course completions from outside organizations (First Aid, background checks, CEUs, concussion, etc.) and give reciprocity/credit wherever possible. We know and respect that coaching takes a lot of your valuable time and energy! Our main goal is to give student-athletes and coaches a fun and safe experience while making the licensing process as frictionless as possible for coaches.
AZ NICA is open to all student-athletes from middle school to high school (grades 6th – 12th) – and we welcome them all!
Yes! AZ NICA is committed to getting as many coaches and kids on bikes as possible. The decision of where and how to participate is up to individual coaches, teams, student-athletes, and families.
Mark your calendars! AZ NICA has announced some important upcoming dates:
- NICA’s Pit Zone registration system will open:
- September 2022 for AZ NICA coaches
- October 2022 for student-athletes
- AZ NICA’s preseason will begin in October 2022
- AZ NICA’s regular-season starts in December 2022
- Racing will begin in the spring of 2023
The growth we have seen in our student-athletes in the sport of mountain biking has been nothing short of astounding. They learn to push themselves to limits they never realized were possible, all while having the support of coaches and their fellow student-athletes.
We have witnessed kids making lifelong friends, growing mentally and physically, overcoming fears, and massive accomplishments, which all directly translate into life outside of mountain biking. We look forward to our continued partnership with NICA as we share NICA’s values to make the sport more accessible to more kids and coaches and to get even more kids across Arizona on bikes.
We are looking forward to making it even easier for coaches to register and get the support and education they need throughout the year. We will use NICA’s existing and easy-to-use Pit Zone platform and Coach Licensing program. For those who have previously used Pit Zone, their information is saved, making registration a breeze. The intuitive platform will also make it easy for any new coaches to sign up as well.
We are thrilled to be able to offer more on- and off-the-racetrack programming: AZ NICA will implement the full range of NICA programming and initiatives:
- GRiT initiative – Girls Riding Together – to bring even more girls into cycling. GRiT is just one aspect of NICA’s DEI Initiative, which was established to attract more underrepresented communities into NICA.
- Teen Trail Corps program, which teaches youth respect for work, nature, and the importance of giving back through trail stewardship.
- Adventure program, which provides youth the opportunity to take part in outdoor and experiential education opportunities beyond the racecourse.