The Minnesota High School Cycling League (MNHSCL) works to establish and maintain safe, quality high school and middle school mountain bike programs and is entering its fifth season bigger and better than ever. Since its inaugural season in 2012, the League has grown from 16 teams and 150 riders to last year’s 51 teams and 753 riders. This year we expect the explosion of growth to continue, with more kids racing on mountain bikes than ever before.

Why the unprecedented growth? Both parents and school administrators appreciate National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) core values. NICA is the MNHSCL’s national governing body and their core values are:

  • Inclusivity: no bench warmers; every finish counts
  • Equality: no try-outs; every student athlete rides and competes
  • Strong Body: lifelong fitness and good health start here
  • Strong Mind: student-athletes are students first
  • Strong character: work hard, play hard, play fair, respect others and the community

So what’s new for the 2016 race season? To accommodate the phenomenal interest and growth in mountain biking, this season MNHSCL has adopted changes designed to enhance the mountain bike experience for our middle through high school student athletes, while keeping our core values intact:

  • Six race weekends – An additional race weekend was added to accommodate the growth in student athlete riders. Each team picks an off week from the race list and then races four out of five regular season races. This year’s teams from throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin will race during the regular season at Austin, St. Cloud, Rochester, River Falls, WI and a brand new course specifically designed for MNHSCL races at Spirit Mountain in Duluth.
  • A true state championship – The sixth race serves as the first bona fide state championships. Every team and each racer will compete over two days at Mount Kato (Mankato, MN) for the state championships. Additionally, family-friendly activities are in the planning stages to make this weekend a fun time for everyone involved.
  • Developmental summer camps – Hosted at the True North Base Camp at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, these four-day MNHSCL camps give riders a chance to enhance their riding skills in a fun and safe environment. NICA-certified coaches will lead rides through Cuyuna’s renowned red dirt trails while supervising off-track activities such as swimming, camping, and canoeing, all conveniently located next to the trail system. Also, each camp will feature a mountain bike “celebrity coach” such as Lindsey Voreis. You can learn more about the Minnesota Rider Development Summer Camps here.
  • Teen Trail Corps – MNHSCL is serious about its commitment to create responsible riders and citizens. A recently created partnership between the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), NICA, and the Minnesota Off Road Cyclists (MORC) affords each MNHSCL student athlete a chance to give back to the sport. Riders who volunteer for local trail work are rewarded with a student IMBA membership.