2024 Candy Rush at Sugar Land Recap

A community as sweet as Sugar Land

The inaugural Candy Rush at Sugar Land was hosted on April 6 and 7 at Brazos River Park in Sugar Land, TX. The race came together thanks to the Texas NICA race crew, the City of Sugar Land, and the Fort Bend Mountain Bike Association (FBMBA). The Brazos River Park and Sugar Land Memorial Park support a host of outdoor activities, making this one of the most family-friendly venues on the Season XIII schedule. When not racing, families and athletes had the chance to visit the world-class pump track, a full zip line and ropes course, miles of walking paths, disc golf, or one of the many playgrounds. In addition to our teams, there were hundreds of community members enjoying the park and learning about the league and the sport of mountain biking. Sugar Land has built a great space for community members to enjoy the outdoors. Way to #optoutside, Sugar Land!

The race course included about six miles of trails built and maintained by Fort Bend Mountain Bike Association. If you had fun out there this weekend and enjoyed the fast and flowy trails, send FBMBA a huge high-five and thank-you, follow them @ftbendmba, and consider becoming a member. FBMBA put in hundreds of hours to ensure the trails were ready for the race. The trails were underwater from flooding in January. It is because of FBMBA volunteers that the trails were in such good shape for the weekend! Their volunteers also came out in force, providing extra volunteers, a wash station, and even some race-day trail work.


The Texas NICA race crew and volunteers pull in on Fridays to get the park ready and set up the course for more than 1000 visitors and the weekend’s adventures. Don’t worry, the crew makes sure to take some time to try out the course themselves!


Pre-Rides and Team Fun

Saturdays at NICA races are all about fun. Teams get together to pre-ride the course, set up camp, and plan out the race day. Many teams have special Saturday traditions and you can often find spontaneous inter-team competitions breaking out. At the Candy Rush, almost every team joined in on a friendly game of kick-ball. These activities are what makes the NICA weekends so special.

OTB 101

Texas NICA Coach Supporter, Lynnette Wood, hosted OTB101 for new coaches. OTB101 is NICA’s initial coach course. The course teaches coaches best practices to teach MTB skills to others. It focuses on using common language and instructional skills to help coaches break down mountain biking fundamentals for others to learn. The courses teach coaches how to coach the skills that they already know themselves. Coaches who have taken OTB101 can continue their learning with OTB201.

MOB Skills (Moms On Bikes)

Lynnette also hosted this season’s first Mom’s on Bikes (MOB) ride. A collaboration of the NICA GRiT (Girls Riding Together) staff and Coach Supporter Coordinators, the MOB (Moms on Bikes) skills clinics offer basic bike skills instruction for small groups of women. The sessions will progress over time to help improve riders’ skills and confidence on the bike. Stay tuned for more MOB opportunities! MOBs is definitely open to women who aren’t moms!

GRiT Activities

More than 60 girls and women joined Saturday’s GRiT activities. They started out with candy-themed temporary tattoos and then headed out on the girls-only course pre-ride.

GRiT Leadership Applications Open

GRiT Leadership Applications Open April 9-May 7

Trek Try-it-out ride

Try it out riders getting basic mountain bike skills

Texas NICA partner, Trek, hosted a try-it-out ride for any students interested in learning more about NICA. Almost 50 kids joined the ride and got to experience first-hand what a NICA race weekend is like. After learning and practicing a few foundational skills with NICA coaches, they put on their race plates and took a lap of the NICA course. The try-it-out rides are a perfect opportunity to invite friends, family and community members who have been curious about NICA but haven’t yet joined. Keep your eyes out for more try-it-out rides in the future.


Sunday brought the HEAT! Both literally and in our lap times! More than 300 student-athletes raced on Sunday.

The fastest laps of the day came from the varsity boys category at 21:49 by both Isaac Might (Lake Travis) and Tad Cowan (Houston Composite)! They finished the race in a sprint with less than .01 seconds between them for a photo finish!

With such competitive categories and different terrain at this venue, many points leaders changed places. Everyone will be on the edge of their seat at the Tangle in Troy where we will crown our conference champions and determine the line-up for the State Championship race. See the results and race photos in the links below.

Race Weekend Photos

Official Race Photos

Our race weekend photographers are 100% volunteers! They share their talents because they love the heart of NICA. Their photos are for sale for $2 each on SmugMug, but all proceeds go towards a bike scholarship at the end of the season!