MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN) — Specialized has renewed its financial commitment to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, the organizing body for high school mountain biking in the United States. The bike brand is a Founding National Sponsor and a continued Platinum Level supporter, and will provide a combination of product and cash for NICA's 2014 season.
Simon Dunne, Specialized's global advocacy manager, said he was inspired by NICA’s growth and excited about its potential in the coming years. “The enthusiasm for NICA within the industry is undeniable – we all recognize the importance of giving youth an outlet through cycling and I have no doubt that industry support will continue to climb. What’s most exciting is the broader audience outside our industry that’s starting to take interest in NICA and recognizing the benefits of high school mountain biking in addressing a whole range of social issues. If you’re not currently a supporter, now is the time to throw your hat in the ring!”
At the Interbike show in Las Vegas this year, NICA announced a new league in Georgia, now the ninth state to offer NICA-sanctioned high school leagues, races and coaching seminars. Since 2009, NICA has been growing steadily and now provides support for over 3,000 students and 1,000 coaches who ride, train and compete under the NICA banner.
Austin McInerny, NICA’s executive director, said, "Specialized, like NICA, has succeeded through a mixture of innovation and improving on existing ideas in cycling. Four years ago, we were honored to sign with Specialized as our National Founding Sponsor and now, we are equally honored by their renewed support. In 2013 more student-athletes participated in high school cycling than ever before. As we grow, we bring interscholastic opportunities to areas that have never before had organized cycling teams.”
McInerny also said that NICA has been good news for bike retailers. “The feedback from retailers involved with NICA teams is that families are coming to our program where otherwise they would not have gotten into cycling. This is a victory for all of cycling, and Specialized has been a big part of making that happen."
NICA's 2014 leagues are: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, Northern California, Southern California, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. Discussions are underway with a number of new regions for possible launch in 2015.