The following is a post from YoungTri Member Julia Mace, a high school student from Northern California. She is a member of the National Interscholastic Cycling League (NICA) and will be sharing some of her stories with YoungTri over the next few weeks!
The National Interscholastic Cycling League (NICA) is a high-school mountain bike racing program in the US with 13 different leagues and a goal to be coast-to-coast by 2020! Although it is not triathlon or even road riding, when I learned about my school’s team I figured that it would be fun to be with a bunch of teenagers who appreciate the hard training and racing.
I have actually become a stronger cyclist from both a strength and technical skills perspective from this league which translates well to triathlons! I have also met two other triathletes on the team and have convinced a couple boys to join me in an XTERRA this summer.
NICA leagues vary by size, but new leagues have around 100 riders per race and NorCal (the league in which I compete) had over 600 riders at the opening race last weekend. Many schools are developing teams, but riders can also compete as “independents” or as part of a multi-school “composite” team.
Although this is my first year racing on one of the strongest teams in the country, I am having a great time. So far, there has been tons of camaraderie, parental and community support, as well and great races! I’ve also made quite a few new close friends. I’ll be sharing some more of my NICA stories with YoungTri over the next few weeks!