NICA, Colorado school leagues receive support from Easton Foundation

Girls divisions line up during the inaugural season of the Southern California League.

Girls divisions line up during the inaugural season of the Southern California League. (Image credit: Michael McClure)

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) will be receiving matching grants from the Easton Foundations for itself and for its newest chapter, the Colorado High School Cycling League.

"We are hugely grateful for the generosity of Jim Easton and his foundation. This is a major milestone for NICA and the Colorado High School Cycling League," Matt Fritzinger, founder of NICA and the NorCal High School Cycling League. "NICA is having great success finding other sponsors soon to be announced and fulfillment of the Colorado grant is now contingent on finding other supporters."

The successful first year of the Southern California High School Cycling League, for which the Easton Foundations also provided founding funding, helped the decision to fund the Colorado League.

"The generous support of the Easton Foundations is very timely for the Colorado High School Cycling League," said Kate Rau, executive director of the Colorado League. "I am absolutely thrilled by their commitment to support mountain biking, for it is an excellent opportunity for youth to establish healthy habits and a deeper connection to the outdoors within a positive peer culture."

Jim Easton, president of the Easton Foundations, said, "Having helped create an outstanding mountain bike race series in Southern California, and having received such enthusiastic feedback from the students and parents, it is a pleasure for the Easton Foundations to be a founding sponsor of the Colorado High School Cycling League and to also be a founding national sponsor in the very promising new NICA."

The ESDF II (one of the Easton Foundations) was established in 2006 and focuses its philanthropic activities on the four sports that Easton Sports has been built upon: archery, softball and baseball, hockey, and cycling.

The NICA model has developed methods and curriculum for introducing young riders to the world of mountain bike racing, as well as recruiting and training coaches to be committed to producing amateur athletes who are gracious in both victory and defeat, and are respectful of their environment and community.

The year-round calendar of events organized by the Colorado League is scheduled to include a four-race series in September through October; a spring coaching conference; rider training camps; annual CycleFest dinner; and promotional outreach events at bicycle stores and pre-existing cycling events.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.