Coaches

On the Bike (OTB 101) mountain bike skills training

Skilled and dedicated NICA coaches are the most important aspect of the Texas Interscholastic School Mountain Bike League. A NICA coach puts the safety and overall well-being of their student-athletes as the first priority.  NICA coaches are role models and teachers who are open to learning the best practices of youth mountain bike coaching and actively working to hone their leadership skills.

The path to becoming a Texas NICA coach generally begins with volunteering for your local team, or attending a Leaders’ Summit in your region.


Race Season Coaches Calls

Coaches calls will be held every Monday before race weekend at 7 p.m. (unless stated otherwise). These calls are where we will present information that may not fit or be appropriate for the race weekend web page. It is a time for coaches to ask questions and to get information to make a better experience for students and families.

Coach Licensing

The League recognizes coaches as the most essential component of successful mountain bike teams and we have many resources that can help you organize your team.

The NICA Coaches Licensing Program was introduced to ensure that all League student-athletes have adult leaders familiar with the best coaching practices. Licensed coaches have been trained in topics that include risk management, team management, ride management, and youth sports psychology.

The Coaches Licensing Program includes Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Ride Leaders and General Volunteer Licenses. All license holders are covered by comprehensive liability insurance provided by the League for the duration of the season.

The online registration system requires your head coach to “invite” you onto the team.  Head Coaches who are not registered in the system should contact the League Director.  Coaches that are not associated with teams can also contact the league director to get a license.  All adults riding with NICA youth must hold a current license to be insured during these sanctioned activities.

Training Opportunities

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

CPR and First Aid Providers

AdventureMed – AdventureMed has a new, local trainer who has provided medical support at NICA races and can offer a hybridized course that consists of a learn-at-your-own-pace, online education to deliver the theory and traditional lecture-based portion of class, and then a subsequent in-person class to practice the skills. The trainer is willing to you for the cost of the course and travel expenses. For now, your team or a group of teams can set up private classes. We plan to offer scheduled courses in 2023. If you would like to set up a training, please reach out to nigel@adventuremed.com and sharon@barclayfamily.org for more details.

Expedition School – The team at the Expedition School have been long-time partners of Texas NICA and continue to offer NICA First Aid, CPR, Wilderness First Aid and more. You can attend one of their public courses or work with them to schedule a private session for the coaches on your team or in your area. Click here to find their course schedule. 

National CPR Foundation – There are many options to complete your CPR training, but the National CPR Foundation has an easy to access and inexpensive CPR course that fulfills NICA CPR requirements. 

Wilderness First Aid – Any formal wilderness first aid class that includes in-person sills assessment can be used for the wilderness first aid requirement.  Some popular courses include, REI Wilderness First AidTexasPremierCPRBoy Scouts of America.


Our Favorite Coach Resources

We’re here to help you navigate the process of coaching a team—here are a few of our favorite resources.


Additional Race Details

Race Plates

Race Plate Pick-up

Coaches will pick up all race plates at the first race. Riders will receive one plate to be used for all 2024 season races. Plates have chips on the back and require care to avoid damage. New this season: each athlete will also get a back number to adhere to their jersey. There is a $10 fee to replace lost, stolen or forgotten plates. If you need a replacement, go to the registration tent.

No unregistered parents or siblings allowed on course

To be on the course at any time during race weekend, riders (Students and Coaches) must be fully practice ready in Pit Zone and have their number plates on their bike.
GRiT ride participants should sign a waiver at the GRiT tent

Fun Lap

Fun Lap Expectations

The Fun lap is intended for athletes who want to enjoy the race weekend and get in a lap, but who are either not interested in racing. It is meant to be FUN! A coach is allowed to ride with an athlete who may not feel comfortable completing the course alone. Coaches should ensure athletes can complete a lap within 45-50 minutes to keep the experience enjoyable for the athletes. If a coach is riding with an athlete who is struggling to complete a lap in that time frame, those coaches may exit the course early, but should notify a course marshal and should also notify race staff as they return to infield.

The Fun Lap will be run like any other category with race plates, sweeps and starting times. There will be no scoring or posted placements.

Fun Lap Registration

Fun lap riders may register ($25) for the fun lap during the late registration window on Saturday. The registration fee is waived if the athlete has already registered for the and paid to race.

Athletes cannot participate in both the fun lap and their race category, but we do understand that some athletes may have registered for the race and then opt for the fun lap. Riders must be practice ready in Pit Zone. Fun lap riders MUST use their fun lap plate and not their race plate.

Season Scoring

Race Series Rules

Texas offers a 5 race series. A total of 7 races will be held. Two regular-season races will host both conferences (the conference will have separate fields for each category), two races will host only the North conference, and two races will host only the South conference. This will give each conference four regular-season conference races. The final championship race will host both conferences, and conferences will be combined into one field. Individual and team scoring will be as follows. 

Overall Individual Conference Series Champion

The series winner for each conference will be determined by the best 3 out of 4 regular season conference races, not inclusive of the state championship race. After the last conference race, 25 bonus points will be awarded for completing all conference races. The overall series champion in each category in the conference will be decided based on the total of series points accumulated after four races and dropping the lowest score. (Best 3 of 4 results and inclusive of bonus points.)

A missed race would be the lowest score dropped. In the case of a race cancellation, the conference series becomes a 3-race series. Scoring becomes best 2 out of 3. If a second race is canceled, no score will be dropped. 

State Championship Points, Podiums, and Call Ups

Call-ups for the State Championship race, to include all conferences, will be determined by the individual student athlete’s conference series points total, inclusive of bonus points. Podiums will be awarded to the top 10 athletes in each category. The winner of each race category will be declared as State Champion.

In the event that all conferences don’t have the same number of regular season races, the number of best-of-races considered for call-ups will be determined by the lowest number of races completed by any conference. 

For example, Conference A completes one more race than Conference B. The combined state championship call-ups will be based on the number of regular-season races completed by Conference B minus one. There will be a minimum of 2 races considered when determining call-ups for the state championship race.

State Championship Eligibility

  • Student-athletes must have earned points from a regular season race to be eligible to compete in the state championship race. 
  • Student-athletes must be a Texas League member to compete in the state championship race (no guest riders).

Overall Team Scoring

A team’s overall conference placement is based on team point totals from all regular season conference races (total of all conference races and no scores are dropped). State champion teams will be determined by the winners of the State Championship race. The team’s score is the highest score possible out of the boy-girl combinations.

Series Call-Ups and Waves

  • Maximum Field Size- Any category with 50 or more racers will be split into multiple waves not to exceed 50 per wave. As an example, an 80-rider field would be split into 2 waves. The top 40 call-ups would be in the first wave and 40-80 call-ups in the second wave. 
  • 1 podium for each category, 5 deep for conference races, and 10 deep for the state championship
  • At the League’s discretion, conference categories of the same level may be combined into one category based on registration numbers.
  • 100% Call ups for all categories
  • Call-ups for the first race will use the previous season’s point totals, inclusive of championship points and bonus points. 6th graders will be random for the first race. New riders to the League will be assigned a random call-up behind all returning riders.
  • Subsequent race call-ups will be based on the student athlete’s overall points. This will be applied to both middle school and high school categories. 
  • Middle school athletes will follow the same call-up and series points protocol as high school athletes.
  • Middle-school team awards will not be tracked or awarded.
Rules Update for 2024

Based on feedback from Season XII and Leader Summit, the Rules Committee has reviewed and amended a few rules to better accommodate our teams. Those amendments are summarized below. Please review the full 2024 NICA handbook for more detailed information, including the Texas specific amendments. It is the responsibility of all teams and athletes to be familiar with the rules.  

Student-athletes must join school teams:

School teams must submit their intent to register to the league director before the student-athlete registration opening for this rule to be enforced for that team. If a team registers after this deadline, any eligible student-athlete who has already registered with a different team will be given the choice to move to the school team or complete the season with the team they have already registered with.

Composite Team Limitations

High school composite teams are limited to a maximum of 30 student-athletes. Middle school composite team size is not limited. 

Guest Riders:

An active member of another NICA league may participate in one regular season race as an independent rider. 

Jerseys for subdivided teams

Teams that are subdivided based on having 5 student-athletes from a school may choose to wear a unique jersey that represents their school team or the jersey of the composite team they were subdivided from. All members of the subdivided school team must wear the same jersey. 

Race Duration Guidelines

Middle School            
45 minutes  

JV Girls and Boys
75-100 minutes

Varsity Girls and Boys
90-120 minutes

Student athletes are expected to be able to safely complete the course within the designated time limit. Athletes may be asked to withdraw and exit the course after cut-off time limits have been reached. Racers who do not make the time limit cut-off will still be scored and ranked. 

League and race officials reserve the right to determine these time limits and alter them at any time. Time limits may be imposed or altered for reasons that include, but are not limited to, safety, heat, cold, rain, and muddy conditions. 

Chip Timing

All riders will receive a permanent number plate with a chip timing transponder on the backside. Riders use the same plate for the entire race series. Please remove this number plate before transporting bikes to prevent loss. 

Replacement number plates will be available at the registration tent for $10.00.

Category Placement

Race categories have been evaluated and assigned in Pit Zone. Petitions should be submitted to the Texas League Rules Committee using the petition form by Friday at 11:59 PM, one week before the race weekend.

No race day petitions will be accepted

PEITITON FORM

6th Grade6th Graders only
7th Grade7th Graders
6th Graders who have successfully petitioned into the category.
8th Grade8th Graders only
6th or 7th Graders who have successfully petitioned into the category.
Freshman9th Graders
Middle School student-athletes who have successfully petitioned into the category.
JV210th – 12th graders who have not qualified for other categories.
JV110th-grade students who:
1. Placed in the top 25% in any two Freshman races the prior year or
2. Placed in the top 30% of the Freshman overall season standings the prior year.

11th – 12th grade students who:
1. Placed in the top 25% in any two JV2 races in the prior year or
2. Placed in the top 30% of the JV2 overall season standings the prior year or
3. Raced in JV1 the prior year but did not qualify to upgrade to Varsity.
Student-athletes who successfully petition into the category.
Varsity10th – 12th grade athletes who:
1. Placed in the top 25% in any two JV1 races the prior year or
2. Placed in the top 30% of the JV1 overall season standings the prior year or 
3. Raced Varsity the prior year.
Students who successfully petition into the category.
Fun LapAny middle school or high school student-athlete who elects to participate in the Fun Lap instead of their race category.
Weather and Refund Policy

Weather Policy

The League’s primary considerations in assessing inclement weather plans are the safety of riders, staff and spectators, as well as the potential for damage to the venue and trails. Decisions regarding canceling, postponing or altering race start times, lap lengths, number of laps, etc. will be made jointly by league staff and the land manager. If inclement weather is predicted, we will make a decision about weather related cancellations by Thursday at 5:00 p.m. For more details about our inclement weather thresholds and cancellations, see the Weather Policy. 

Race Refund Policy

The Texas League understands that money is valuable and that circumstances come up that can cause a change in plans. We want to work with you to put your money to good use wherever possible. We also forecast our race resource planning based on having a solid understanding of how many riders we are expecting. Based on these considerations we have adopted the following race fee refund guidelines for all requests not directly related to weather as noted in the above weather policy:

  1. NICA and Texas League Season fees pertain to a host of activities outside of racing and are not refundable.
  2. Requests for refunds of the season pass must be received via email (please include the rider name and team) before 4 pm on the Saturday of the first race weekend. No season pass refunds will be issued, partial or otherwise, after the first race.
  3. Requests for refunds of individual race fees must be received via email (please include rider name and team) before 4 pm on the Saturday of that race weekend.
  4. If your request for a refund meets the above requirement, fees for any given race will be refunded (minus a $10 service charge). If you prefer, we will issue a credit to be used for future races or registrations with no service charge, as long as your request meets the above requirements.
  5. Please note that we are usually unable to respond to emails on race weekend (Friday through Sunday). As long as the time and date stamp on your sent email meets the above guidelines we will honor it. It is highly unlikely we will respond with confirmation on a race weekend.
NICA Handbook: Rules and Guidelines

All participants are required to read, understand and abide by all league policies, rules and protocols while attending any league event.

The handbook details important rules that should be followed at all races as well as any associated penalties or disciplinary actions that can be assessed against riders or teams for violations of the rules.

READ THE NICA HANDBOOK

READ THE 2023 TEXAS SPECIFIC APPENDIX

LEAGUE RULES COMMITTEE PETITION FORM (Form will be available soon – Do not use this from for category placement petitions)

Safety Reporting and Insurance Coverage

Safety Reporting
Incident reports are mandatory whenever a student-athlete or coach is injured during a NICA activity. These incident reports are submitted by each team’s Designated Reporter or an independent rider’s parent. For more information on safety reporting please see our brochure here

Insurance Coverage
NICA insurance coverage is for registered student-athletes and registered coaches injured while participating in the sanctioned pre-ride and race events. For more information on NICA Insurance Coverage, please see our FAQ here.

Coach Communication

League Newsletter

Important information about things like coach benefits, team sponsor deals, rule changes and race information are communicated via the Coaches eNews, an email newsletter. This newsletter is the primary and most important source of League communications. Important League updates, race schedules, rule updates and clarifications, standings, etc. will all be communicated in the newsletter first.  

TeamSnap

New for the 2023 season, the league will have a TeamSnap app to facilitate faster communications with teams and coaches via a mobile app. As a member of the League, all teams have access to a team dashboard and the highest level of subscription benefits available. The Texas League is please to be able to provide this benefit to all team. If you have questions about your teams app, please contact info@texasmtb.


Student Recruitment

There are countless ways to recruit for your Texas NICA team. Whether you’re a long-time coach, or just getting started, we’ve put together a few of our favorite ways to get #morekidsonbikes.

Yard Sign mockup

Yard Sign Template

Get the word out about your team! Coordinate with your local trails, bike shops and schools for permission to place signs in populated areas.

Customize Your Template

Business Card Templates for Coaches

Business Cards

Add your team name and team’s contact information to business cards that can be stashed in your riding pack or your car – that way you’re always ready to share with any riders you come across!

Coach Business Card Template

Team Flyer Template

Team Flyer

Printed flyers are a lost art, but can be useful if placed at bike shops and restaurants. Send PDF versions to local cycling club’s via email and post to social media!

Start Advertising for your Team


Race Day Communications

ROCKY TALKIE logo

Official race day communications will be on hand-held radios. All teams should have at least one Rocky Talkie radio to receive real-time updates from race officials. While we do our best to provide updates on TeamSnap and through PA announcements, those methods are not always available. Our partners at Talkie offer a 25% discount for all teams. Contact JJ for the discount code.

If your team has a financial hardship and cannot purchase a radio, contact the league director at jj@texasmtb.org.

Team Radio Channels

The league has pre-assigned radio channels to teams across the Texas league in an effort to reduce as much cross-communication. The listed channels are by no means a requirement. They are a recommendation to avoid having 3 teams sharing a single channel. Please reach out to Mr. Communications (Mike) if your team feels an alternative channel may work better for you. 

Assigned Team Radio Channels

Channel           Team Name

6 (6)                 Texas League

16 (16)*           A&M Consolidated High School

18 (41, 32)       Alamo Heights Mules Cycling

20 (20)             Amarillo Interscholastic

2 (2)             Boerne 9ers (TWO10) Composite

4 (4)                 Bulldog HS Composite

4 (4)                 Bulldog HS Composite

4 (4)                 Bulldog MS Composite

15 (30)             Camacho Activity Center Composite

16 (16)*           College Station Composite

16 (16)*           College Station Composite Middle School

7 (14)               Dripping Springs Composite Mountain Bike Team MS

1 (1)                 East Texas Fresh Composite

8 (17)               Fort Worth Composite Middle School

21 (21)             Hays County Composite

3 (1)*               Heart of Texas Composite HS

3 (1)*               Heart of Texas Composite MS

22 (15)             Highland Park Scots Cycling

22 (22)             Houston Composite

                        Jesuit HS

15 (15)*           Lake Travis High School

15 (15)*           Lake Travis Middle Schools

4 (8)*               Laredo Comp MS

4 (8)*               Laredo Composite

                        Lopez Middle School

                        Midway High School

5 (2)*               North Austin Composite HS

5 (2)*               North Austin Composite MS

7                      North Texas NICA Cycling

2 (10)*             Reagan TWO10 HS

Other               San Marcos High School

17 (17)             South Metro Composite

17 (?)*             Steiner Ranch Composite HS

17 (?)*             Steiner Ranch Composite MS

1 (33)               Stephen F. Austin Mountain Bike Team

2 (10)*             TWO10 Comp MS

2 (10)*             TWO10 MTB Racing

5 (5)                 Vandegrift High School

18 (?)               West Houston Composite (Coyotes)

19 (19)*           Westlake High School Composite

19 (19)*           Westlake MS Composite