NICA News for August

News

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Message from the NICA Director

I just returned from a Colorado trip where we finalized the venue line-up for the first season and what an amazing line-up. All these courses are unique and beautiful, if not majestic locations and we appreciate the enthusiastic support we’re finding everywhere. We’re very excited to see all the teams at the September 19th opener in Nathrop. How many new young racers will be there?!

The opening race for a new League is a lot of work, and a number of our best staffers are heading to Colorado to train our new race director, operations manager, score keepers, course marshals, and more. If you’d like to join us please send a note to myself or Kate Rau.

While the Colorado season ramps up, we’re currently evaluating our 2011 NICA League bids. We’ll be announcing our 2011 projects at Interbike later in September. If you have questions about the bid process, or if you’d like to support a new League, be sure to give Gary Boulanger a shout!

Happy Trails,

Matt Fritzinger
NICA Director

NICA Jerseys Now Available

Designed by our talented NICA Brand Advisor, David Curtis, the first ever NICA Jerseys will be available for shipment in October. We are ordering very limited quantities so order yours from the NICA Store today!

Quick Spin with SIDI’s Sara Ecclesine

NICA board member Sara Ecclesine raced collegiately before entering the bike industry, first at bike shops, then at Specialized in the research and development department. She’s currently brand manager for SIDI America, based in Nevada. As one of two women on the board, she brings a good perspective to NICA’s planning and oversight. We caught up with her between flights to Italy…

You live in Carson City, Nevada. Is the road riding better than the mountain biking, or is it an even split?
Ummm…totally depends on the weather. When it’s cold or windy I ride my mountain bike. I’ve discovered I love riding my mountain bike downhill while it’s snowing, the snowflakes zip past my face like stars and I feel like a rocket going into hyperspace. Yes, super nerdy but true.

Either way I have the choice of high desert or Sierras and Tahoe, all of which are beautiful in their own way.

With everything you’ve experienced in the bike industry the past 17 years, how does being involved with NICA fit in?
This is actually more of a personal thing for me than a bike industry thing. I really, really identify with the kids who love their high school teams and I wish I could have had that opportunity. I want this to become a national movement so that every high school student has a chance to be on a team and learn to ride mountain bikes. (Read More…)

NICA Skills Development Director Rolls Out New Book

The all-time best selling mountain biking skills how-to book is back, bigger and better!

Renowned mountain bike instructor and NICA Skills Development Director Lee McCormack has applied his teaching methods to the second edition of ‘Mastering Mountain Bike Skills’, co-authored by world champion Brian Lopes, to help riders of all levels and types ride all terrain with greater control, confidence (and speed).

The entire second edition has been refined, with clearer explanations and better photos, and several new sections have been added. Click here for more information.

Stay tuned for more about Lee’s clinics for high school riders and coaches!

Inside Look at Minnesota: Gary Sjoquist

Gary Sjoquist has been the advocacy director at Quality Bicycle Product for 12 years, coordinating large projects such as lobbying the MN state legislature for trail funds, and has recently become committee chair for a push to bring high school mountain biking to Minnesota. The former high school English teacher/varsity coach, motorcycle road racer and contract editor doing FAA and defense industry proposals shares his thoughts on what high school mountain biking would look like in the upper Midwest.

How and when did you catch the mountain bike bug?
In 1990, I almost drowned on a dirt bike in January, in Minnesota (long story – requires at least two beers). I traded the soggy dirt bike for a mountain bike, and it was love at first ride. Mountain biking satisfied my gearhead gene, got me out in the woods, I could race against my buddies, and the more I rode, the fitter I got. Gave my wife a mountain bike for Valentine’s Day and we started racing. When my favorite trail was closed, I got pissed and organized a group which later became the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) to fight for trail access www.morcmtb.org.

What are the current top high school sports in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, high school hockey is king in terms of prestige and exposure (regular season games are often televised), but we also have strong football, soccer, and cross country programs. With a 7-county area, 2.4 million people, and two large cities, high school sports in the Twin Cities are very competitive, closely followed by the media, and feature strong parental involvement which will be a key element for a NICA effort. (Read More…)

Fast Times with Trek’s Suspension Guru Jose Gonzales

Jose Gonzales became Trek’s Director of Suspension Technology in July 2006 after more than 10 years with Answer-Manitou. Based in Santa Clarita, CA has its advantages, he tells us; enough to convince Wisconsin-based Trek to open a suspension facility to study performance characteristics of its full suspension mountain bikes. Gonzales spends his time on the rear suspension dynamics (how the shock moves in relation to the rear wheel movement) and the fork and rear shock technology and tuning. A key part of his role is as Trek liaison with Watsonville, CA-based Fox Racing Shox.

When and how did you get into mountain biking?
I started road riding when I joined Kawasaki Motors in 1985. I got so into cycling that I started to race criteriums for a few years. Around 1992, Kawasaki was contemplating licensing their brand to a cycling company. They asked a couple of us that regularly rode bicycles to check the bikes out. I wasn’t sure about this whole mountain bike thing going into that test. It wasn’t long after that I bought my first mountain bike, which was 1993, and I became a full-on enthusiast. Soon after I started racing cross-country, and I’m now going on 18 years of riding mountain bikes and I love to ride it all, everything from XC to Downhill. (Read More…)

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