NICA stands for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. NICA was founded in California and has branched out from there. There are NICA leagues in 27 states. For details on national NICA and promotional information, you can find it on their website: https://www.nationalmtb.org
NICA promotes fitness, sportsmanship, teamwork, service and multiple other quality values through their cycling programs. Each NICA league is slightly different, due mainly to the terrain local riders are used to riding, and the league adjustments that are made to accommodate those differences. All NICA leagues operate with the same race/point structure and organization.
Alabama NICA information can be found at: https://www.alabamamtb.org
We also have a "new parent handbook" which has a lot of information useful to first timers here: Handbook
There you can find information about the league, the race schedule, and rules. The site also has information about becoming a parent volunteer or coach.
Alabama NICA has over 40 teams spread across the state. There are 6 planned race events, 1 time trial, 5 races, scheduled starting at the end of Feb and continuing until the first week of May. Races are held at a rotating set of state and municipal parks around the state. (Chewacla State Park, Tannehill State Park, Oak Mountain State Park, Munny Sokal Municipal Park, Space and Rocket Center, Noccalula Falls, Ft. McClellan)
NICA Pre season begins near the first of Oct, and during pre-season, teams are allowed 6 official practices until regular season begins, usually around the first of Dec. These practices in place to allow teams to teach new riders the fundamentals (MTB 101 material is required for every rider)
From the start of regular season until the first race, teams train for both riding skill and cardio development. Team's will plan a mix of on bike and off bike training in order to prepare riders for the season. Practices are limited to 4 per week. Allowances are made for athletes participating in other sports.
Race season starts with the first race event (the time trial) of the season. NICA races are weekend events. Courses are marked Sat morning and the course is available for teams to pre ride them on Sat prior to their races. Each team has a volunteer requirement that can start with course set up, and end with course take down. Various options in between are available. Races are held on Saturday (middle school) and Sunday (high school).
Race awards are given at the individual rider level and at the team level, with points awarded to HS riders applying to the team score. The team score must have one of each gender and the top 4 qualifying scores count for Division II teams. Top 8 for Division 1 teams. Scoring make-up and be any mix between FMMM - FFFM. If you do not have enough qualifying scores, your team will score only the qualifying scores. i.e. a team without a female rider would score the 3 top scores of the male riders.
At the end of the year, the top point finishers will get awards for individual state champion, and team state champion. Scoring at the end of the year drops the lowest race score for individuals.