If you want to see the future of cycling, look no farther than the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League. Founded in 2012, this League is an affiliate of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). The Arizona League consists of 75 teams from all over the State organized into three conferences.
This weekend, we had the opportunity to witness the first day of the league's Prescott race. 331 athletes - boys and girls - in grades 6 thru 8 competed on the 5.75 mile course on Saturday. Another 537 student athletes competed at various distances on Sunday. The Sedona School's MTB Club, consisting of 18 members, was represented at this race.
The races are spread out over two days as Saturday the middle schoolers compete and Sunday the high schoolers have their fun. In between, there are acres and acres of team pits and camping.
There's even an Athletes' Zone, sponsored by Pivot, where no coaches or adults are permitted.
Founded in 2009 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, NICA develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes and coaches across the United States. NICA provides leadership services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events. NICA has served approximately 40,000 student-athletes. Currently, NICA has 25 state and regional leagues and over 9,000 volunteer coaches who are working annually with over 19,000 student-athletes from nearly 1,000 high schools and middle schools in the USA.
Race Distance 5.75 miles for all heats.
In the Boys 8th Grade (even bib numbers) race, Sedona's Jackson Maddox came in 6th in 26:14 (13.2 MPH) and was followed by Willie Hunt in 45th place in 36:18 (9.5 MPH).
In the Boys 8th Grade (odd bib numbers) race, Sedona's Luke Shook came in 20th in 27:29 (12.6 MPH).
In the Boys 7th Grade (even bib numbers) race, Sedona's River Valdez came in 2nd in 26:27 (13.0 MPH).
The Boys 7th Grade (odd bib numbers) race, Sedona's Carter Pedersen came in 12th in 0:30:25 (11.3 MPH).
Sedona 7th grader, Conner Hunt, was a race day scratch due to a pulled muscle that occurred late this week running at school.
The Girls 8th Grade race, Sedona's Bronwyn Bosman came in 10th in 30:21 (11.4 MPH) and she was quickly followed by Skyrah Wilmer in 12th place in 30:32 (11.3 MPH).
Of course, it wasn't all racing as the team camped out on Saturday night.
Photo courtesy of the Sedona NICA team
In the Girls JV2 11.5 mile race, Sedona's Nyah Valdez, a 10th grader, came in 4th in 57:56 (11.9 MPH).
In the Boys JV1 17.25 mile North Conference race, Sedona's Cooper Barber, a HS senior, came in 15th in 1:17:43 (13.3 MPH) while HS junior, Dakota Farrar, was 19th in 1:20:10 (12.9 MPH).
The Boys JV2 11.5 North Conference race saw Sedona HS junior Quinn Franklin come in 5th in 53:24 (12.9 MPH) while HS junior Stephen Dufresne came in 31st in 1:02:25 (11.1 MPH).
The Boys 11.5 mile Freshman North Conference race saw Sedona's Kale Emerson come in 35th in 57:02 (12.1 MPH).
Here's pictures of the start and some Sedona team members of Saturday's races. Congratulations to all racers and to Coach Eric Mace and all his able, hard working assistant coaches: Andrea Valdez, Ashley Campbell, Carrie Barber for strength training, Daniel Wishnewsky, Evan Jarvis, Evan Puglia, Freddie Valdez, Matthew Dawson, Pamela Lusk, Phillip LeBlanc, Steve Hulme, Duff McCampbell and Wes Barber. .