The Inaugural Season for High School Level Mountain Biking in WashingtonMountain Biking leagues at the high school level have come to the state of Washington. As part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association or NICA, based in California, this is the first season for NICA sanctioned teams and race events in this PNW state. The league is in its 11 season in Northern California where it has experienced significant growth and success. A Colorado league has been operating for a couple seasons now and Southern California is in its third season. Texas, Minnesota and Washington were added for 2011.
It is a real privilege to be involved at the ground floor of this fantastic program in our state and I expect things to only move up from here. As the SW WA head coach, my duties involve guiding kids through skills, ride, and strength training activities, coordinating a great team of adult assistants and parents, and helping everyone prepare for the race events.
Our shop sponsor, Camas Bike and Sport, with owner Ed Fischer are the perfect compliment to this effort. Ed serves as the team director and was responsible for generating initial interest in a team here in SW Washington after attending the state-wide Leaders' Summit in January 2011. He and his wife have been more than generous with their time and resources to make this happen.
If you live in one of the states currently part of NICA or are interested in finding out how you can get a league/team started in your state, check the information at www.nationalmtb.org. The folks at NICA would love to see more people interested and more students out there on bikes.
Making NewsFrom a story in our local paper.
Digging the ride
High school cycling comes to Camas and Washougal
By Dan Trujillo
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The beauty of Camas and Washougal is best seen from the seat of a bicycle. Pedaling on roads, sidewalks and trails with the wind blowing through your hair is the definition of freedom.
You can go as fast or as slow as you want to. It doesn’t matter where those wheels take you, as long as you’re outdoors with friends and family.
This is the mission of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, which strives to provide and govern high school mountain biking leagues throughout the United States.
When Washington became the third state in the nation to join the NICA, Ed Fischer, owner of Camas Bike & Sport, did not want the Columbia River Gorge to be left out of the landscape.
“You find these callings, and that’s why I’m in this business,” he said. “I feel like the torch has been passed to me to make this a successful program for racing in the state. It’s such a great way for kids to stay active in a place that has beautiful scenery.”
The downtown Camas bike shop is the base camp for the Clark County Mud Slingers, a team of nine riders from Camas, Washougal and Union high schools, and eight coaches, ride leaders and volunteers.
Riders Michael Roberts, Rachel Trautman, Zach Vergillo and Billy Warning are representing Camas. Corey Craig, Hannah Hart and Sharon Hart are cycling out of Washougal. Alex Visser and Michael Williams of Union round out the team.
Dave Webb is the head coach. Ed and Katina Fischer, and Sean Vergillo are the assistant coaches. Brian Hart, Scott Troutman and Bill Waring are the ride leaders. Brian Peterson is a volunteer.
“My son and the other kids on the team are getting into the sport of cycling. When I went to Camas High School, I wish I had this kind of an opportunity,” Waring said. “Not everybody is a baseball player or a football player. This gives kids who enjoy the ride an opportunity.”
The Mud Slingers are anxious to be a part of the first Washington High School Cycling League race, which is scheduled for Sunday, April 3, at Fort Stelacoom Park in Lakewood.
“This is our first event of ever doing this. It’s exciting to be at the first step of it at the grass roots level,” Waring said. “After this first race, we get to see how we compare with the other teams and build our strategy off of that.”
In the meantime, the Mud Slingers train together at the shop on Mondays and Wednesdays and go for rides on the weekends. As a coach, Katina Fischer said her goal is to give each kid a positive experience no matter what level they are at.
“We encourage beginners and riders."
The Clark County Mudslingers finished 2nd overall at the first Washington Cycling League race on April 3, 2011 in Lakewood, WA. GO 'SLINGERS !!
Links to NICA and Team Facebook PagesNICA website
Mud Slingers Facebook
Washington High School Cycling League Facebook