Photo by Steve Wilson, Wilson Photography.
The fast-growing Utah High School Cycling League recently got a big shot in the arm from two of the state’s largest related businesses. Bike manufacturer Scott Sports and online retailer Backcountry.com each announced Platinum-level sponsorships of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s (NICA) Utah Chapter—the nation’s fastest growing league, with nearly 700 student-racers on 43 teams.
“We want to show our support of our cycling community,” said Scott Sports US Marketing Director Nic Sims. “What better way to give back than to support the kids who love to ride as much as we do.”
High school mountain bike racing—a lotta bit of speed, a little bit of steeze. Photo courtesy Utah High School Cycling League.
Scott Sports, who recently moved their US headquarters to Utah, is also working on a loaner program to help get in-need kids racing. Eligible racers will be able to rent Scott bikes for competition, with an option to buy at the end of the season.
“It’s a really neat way to be able to open up racing to more kids,” said Utah High School Cycling League Director Lori Hayward.
Video: This racy recap of the league’s 2013 season—created by a now-graduate of the program, Daniel Riley—captures high school racing’s allure.
Backcountry.com is offering racers discounted gear, free participation at local riding clinics and demo days, as well as hosting the National NICA conference at their headquarters in Park City.
“There’s no better way to invest in the next generation of the sport than to support youth development and the love for cycling through organizations like NICA’s Utah league,” said Backcountry.com CEO Jill Layfield
Camaraderie is a recurrent theme at NICA events. Photo by Steve Wilson, Wilson Photography.
Both Scott and Backcountry will co-host of the league’s CycleFest Fundraiser on March 14 in Salt Lake City.
NICA’s Utah chapter has seen rapid growth, more than doubling in size since its inauguration in 2012. In addition to hosting races, clinics, and rider camps, the Utah league has begun offering a family camp where parents of racers can develop skills that enable them to ride with their kids.
“Part of what’s so awesome about NICA is that it brings families into mountain biking,” said Hayward. “We’re encompassing so many positive things here and it’s so cool when businesses actually catch the vision of what you’re doing. Both Scott and Backcountry.com support us in every way. It’s more than just giving us money, they’re coming to races and wanting to be a part of it all.”