Our definition of “RACE”

Language is important. We have noticed that the reaction we get from people when we mention the phrase “race mountain bikes” can vary a lot. To a new rider, even the words “mountain biking” can bring up images that don’t really represent what our version of mountain biking is, as explained in this article.

We like to think that we were fortunate to have launched the league at a time when large group gatherings were forbidden. This gave our teams the opportunity to invite new riders to experience mountain biking without the pressure of competition. However, competition can have really positive benefits as well. It can inspire us to achieve things we didn’t think were possible.

Our friends at the Oregon Interscholastic Cycling League came up with a great acronym for what a race is and we wanted to share it with you here: Really Awesome Challenging Event  – because that’s exactly what it is. A race will be a timed event on a closed course and the rider can choose what they want to accomplish out there. That may be getting on the podium or just finishing one lap without getting off the bike, but whatever it is, it’s gonna be rad and we’ll be there to root and cheer for each and every rider that comes out.

NICA core value flags
Alex Noguera
Flannery Allison
Flannery Allison

What sets us apart

One of the great things about NICA is that we produce our own youth-specific events. This means we pick out race venues and work directly with landowners and managers to produce the highest quality youth development race courses and events. Our student-athletes get a stage of their own, away from adult competitions, and we strive for safety and fun above all other factors.

We are always in the process of evaluating potential venues around our state to ensure that our events will meet NICA risk management standards. Our top priorities are the safety and the experience of all participants. If you have a suggestion for a venue, we would love to hear it. Please send your ideas to us at (

Our Racing Philosophy

The goal of the Missouri League is to facilitate youth development through the sport of mountain biking. Most of our student-athletes are new to racing and many of them ride trails for the first time upon joining our program. We really do want to get more kids on bikes – not create a development program for high-end athletes (although we do see a lot of talent emerge through NICA participation). There are students already racing in other programs and that’s great! They’re already in the cycling community, and chances are that their family is, too! And while we invite them to join us, we know there are thousands of others who don’t know what this is about. We’re ready to share what we’re doing with both new and experienced riders.

Our racing philosophy is simple and might not be what you expect from a traditional youth sports program: Everyone is invited to participate and we encourage challenge by choice. Student athletes race with their grade level (6th-12th grade only) and choose an appropriate race level with guidance from their coach. In the Missouri League, races range from A categories (most difficult) to C categories (least difficult). We encourage student athletes to work with their coaches to set appropriate goals for the season.

Flannery Allison

Looking for advice?

Check out what our Student Advisory Council has to say!

What I wish I knew at my first MICL Race…

Are you ready to try racing?

Race Archive:

Look no further for past results and photos!