280-plus riders participate in league’s first-ever race
PARK CITY- September 8, 2012 – High school mountain biking took off today in Park City as the new Utah High School Cycling League kicked off its inaugural season with more that 280 riders at Round Valley.
The new league – a chapter of the nationwide National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) – is already among the largest in the country. Rider counts at the first race rivaled that of established chapters in California and Colorado.
“For the first event you’re always a little nervous, but today has absolutely exceeded our expectations,” said Utah High School Cycling League Director Lori Harward. “There was a great turnout of riders, fans and volunteers, and it’s a perfect start to this amazing opportunity for students across the state.”
Riders were broken into freshman, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity divisions to tackle the 4.5-mile loop in the Round Valley area east of Park City. Top honors in the varsity division went to Park City High School’s Brenna Egan and South Davis Composite’s Zach Peterson, who raced three and four laps, respectively (full results for riders and teams).
“It was a super fun course, I had a great time,” said Egan, whose time of 1:05:40 bested her competition by more than three minutes. “I’m so glad the league is out here now. It’s a great opportunity to get out and bike and meet kids my age who do the same thing, so I’m really happy it’s started here in Utah.”
Thirty-three teams from around the state were represented at the kick-off race, plus a handful of independent riders.
“This is the very first race for every one of my riders; yesterday we handed out jerseys and their eyes were as big as saucers,” said East High School Coach Drew Jordan. “We have students who are refugees from Malaysia, India, and Africa who’ve never been on a team before. It’s an incredible feeling to watch them.”
Founded in 2009 in California and now covering six states and rapidly growing, NICA was created with the core principles of developing strong body, strong mind and strong character through efforts on a bike. Events have divisions for freshman, junior varsity and varsity athletes with top riders qualifying for regional and national championship races. Additional leagues are already scheduled to join the organization, and NICA is aiming for coast-to-coast participation by 2020.
The Utah High School Cycling League’s next race is September 22 at Sherwood Hills Resort between Brigham City and Logan, before heading back to the Salt Lake area with events on Oct. 6 in Alpine and the state championship Oct. 20 at Soldier Hollow in Midway.
For more information, visit www.utahmtb.org.