An Introduction to High School Mountain Bike Racing

My name is Ryan Simonovich, I am 16 years old and I race mountain bikes. Mountain biking is a very non-traditional sport in most high schools across the United States. My school doesn’t have a mountain biking team, but that doesn’t mean I can’t race. I am proud that I was a part of the very first high school mountain bike team here in Scotts Valley, California. Last year I was one of the original members of the Santa Cruz Mountains Cycling Team. Santa Cruz Mountains Cycling Team, or SCMCT is a composite team, that means it pulls student athletes from multiple schools instead of just one. SCMCT pulls from Scotts Valley High school as well as San Lorenzo Valley High School in Northern California. SCMCT races in the Norcal High School Mountain Bike League, which is a branch of NICA.

NICA stands for National Interscholastic Cycling Association, they hold cross country mountain bike races for high school students, among other events such as skills camps. The organization is broken into 10 leagues. The oldest league is the Northern California league which was founded in 2001. The newest leagues are New York, Tennessee, and Arizona which will all hold their first races in 2013. I encourage all of you to visit the NICA website to learn more about High School Mountain Biking.

“Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops high school mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through their efforts on the bike.”

Last year I raced as a Freshman and placed 13th overall in the series of 6 races including the state championship race in Southern California. Races consisted of 5-6 mile courses. As a freshman, I raced 2 laps for a total of about 10 miles. This year I will be racing in the Sophomore division and hope to place overall in the top 5. Sophomores race 3 laps for a total of about 15 miles. I practice 3 days a week with my team, in addition to 2-3 riding on my own. Check out the video playlist as well as the below video to see footage from my team’s races last season.

This year the Norcal league has been split into 2 conferences. My team is part of the Southern Conference. Our first race is this Sunday at Fort Ord near Monterey. Expect a write up about this race in the coming weeks.

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