General Team Info
Our style of mountain biking is called Cross Country (XC Biking). We ride on dirt up and down hills in a mixture of single track and dirt roads. In this style of riding, a person’s fitness to go uphill and their skills to go downhill are both important. A super basic comparison is that Cross Country Biking is to Cross Country Skiing as Downhill Biking is to Downhill Skiing.
We have a few names but we are all the same team :
- Biting Goats. This is the official nickname by which we’ve become known.
- Madison Team. Most of our athletes go to Madison High, Jr, and Middle Schools. So, the Idaho League requires that we register as the Madison Team for point purposes at races.
- Upper Valley Composite Team (UVCMTB). This was our original team name in 2015 and we still use it so that students who don’t go to Madison Schools but live in Madison or Fremont Counties can participate with us. This allows students who are home schooled or who go to Sugar, South Fremont or North Fremont Schools to participate on our team!
2015 was the inaugural year of the Idaho League of NICA. Our team formed that year under the encouragement of Lori Merrill and the support of Joe Hill, owner of Sled Shed. That year, our team had about 15 student-athletes with only one female on the team and a few coaches. As students are required to wear matching race jerseys to participate in races, our students each wore their own white t-shirt and Lori had the kids write Madison on a swatch of red duct tape to stick to their shirts. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked and kids, parents, and coaches had a great time!
This youtube video from the Neature Guy (0:51) inspired Joe Hill, owner of Sled Shed and Team Director during our inaugural year, to choose a Biting Goat as our mascot. Joe designed our first Biting Goat logo–the grass biting goat head.
About 70 student-athletes and about 30 coaches
ALL students in Madison or Fremont Counties who will be in grades 6-12 during the Fall racing season may register as a student-athlete on our team.
ALL adults in Madison or Fremont Counties who can pass a background check and complete the required trainings may register as a coach on our team.
Time, Commitment, Schedule
Attendance at each event, practice, and race is completely optional. Students and coaches can participate to the level that interests them. The NICA program encourages participation for competition or just for experience, adventure, friendships, etc.
To get the most out of the training and team experience, we recommend that students and coaches participate in as many events and practices as possible, and highly encourage each student to compete in at least one race–but it is not required. See our 2022 Season page for this season’s anticipated schedule.
YES! Students and potential coaches are allowed to attend ONE team event or practice without officially registering. But, they must complete the appropriate waiver found at nationalmtb.org. Note that there are separate ones for students and adults.
- May and June are considered “pre-season” and the team is allowed to hold 8 events. We usually hold them on Wednesday evenings and they may include things such as skills clinics, trail maintenance, fun ride, coach ride, etc. We might also conduct fundraising events during this time.
- July through mid-October is the main season. During this time, we hold practices twice per week.
- Monday practices are held at various Rexburg Parks, start at 4pm or later, and last about an hour.
- Wednesday evening practices are held at trails surrounding Rexburg, generally start at 5:30pm or later, and last about three hours. Commute time to trailheads averages 40 minutes each way in addition to the practice time.
- In July & August, we hold mini-clinics after some of our Monday practices on topics such as bike mechanics, nutrition, mental health, etc.
- Late-August through mid October is race season! We participate in five races held in various locations in Idaho and put on by the Idaho League of NICA. See this year’s Idaho League races. Note that teams only go to 5 of the listed races. To see which ones our team is assigned to attend, check out our Team’s race information at this link.
Cost & Equipment
Those details can be found on the Pricing/Fees page.
Those details can be found on the Pricing/Fees page.
The team has multiple ways to assist. Each year, we hold multiple fundraisers in which students can work to earn money/credit for fees and equipment. We also usually have a small fleet of loaner bikes and some financial assistance for students in need. If interested, talk to the Team Director (email link at bottom of this website).
Each student MUST HAVE a bike, helmet, and hydration system (water bottle & cage or hydration pack). Students should also have a bike multi-tool and equipment to fix a flat (patch kit or new tube, pump or inflator with CO2 cartridges, tire levers). A more detailed list can be found on the Pricing/Fees page.
For XC biking, light bikes are best because athletes will be riding uphill as much as downhill. People often choose a lightweight hardtail bike for cross country riding because a lightweight full-suspension bike will cost a lot more AND because you might get too much “travel” (movement) from the full-suspension bike which makes uphill effort less effective. In any case, we highly recommend NOT using a Walmart or other “department store” bike. Just about any mountain bike could work, but we recommend staying away from Department store bikes.
Our local bike shop, Sled Shed, can offer a NICA specific discount for students wanting to buy a new bike. If a new bike is out of the question, we have people who can help direct you to good used, rented, or loaner bikes. So, talk to our Team Director if you need help getting a bike.
Yes–any time you straddle the top tube of a bike at the location of an event, practice, or racing venue. In fact, the team can be given a team point penalty if a student, parent or coach does not wear a helmet at a race venue.
Acronyms & Terminology
Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA’s Mission is: “We build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling.” Learn more about NICA’s vision and values here.
Read more about NICA on their website: nationalmtb.org
The Idaho Interscholastic Cycling League (IICL) was founded in 2014 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) Project League of NICA to facilitate the development of high school and middle school teams/clubs for grades 6-12. They provide education, training, licensing and insurance for coaches and volunteers and produce high-quality mountain bike events and races that emphasize the value of participation, camaraderie, positive sporting behavior and well-being over competition.
Read more about the Idaho League on their website: idahomtb.org
Pitzone has two meanings.
- Pitzone is the website where parents & students complete NICA and Idaho League registrations, waivers, and register for races, camps, etc. It is also the website where coaches register, request a background check and complete online trainings to qualify as a Level 1, 2, or 3 coach.
- Pitzone also describes the physical location at races where each team sets up team canopies. Our team uses this space to have a bike mechanic station, bike trainers, team lunch, etc. Student-athletes should always “check in” at our Team’s Pitzone when they arrive at a race venue and “check out” when they leave the venue. It is the perfect place for racers to find a coach or teammates, store a little bit of stuff during their race, and to relax after races. This is also a good place for parents and friends to gather with the team but be aware that priority for the space is for racers who are preparing or recovering from racing.
TeamSnap is a subsription service our team uses to communicate with our team. Each student, parent, and coach will need an invite from our Team Director to setup an account in TeamSnap so they can see our schedule, roster, receive emails, texts, etc.
If you’re on or going to be on our team and don’t yet have access to TeamSnap, email our Team Director (link at bottom of this webpage) and ask for a TeamSnap invitation.
Student-Athletes are expected to:
- Respect all other participants–adults and students.
- Help foster a culture of positivity, encouragement, and fun!
- Be self-reliant on the trail and come to practices, events, and races with hydration, nutrition, apparel, and equipment to meet their needs.
A student just needs to know how to ride a bicycle. We are anxious to accept riders of all skill levels and do everything we can to accommodate them at practices and help them learn the skills to make mountain biking a life-long sport. Participating in races is optional and the NICA race courses are designed to be completed by beginner riders.
That’s fine! We encourage every student-athlete to participate in at least one race but it is NOT required! Every student is invited to participate in practices, events, and races that suit their interests.
- Talk to our Head Coach to get help designing a daily training program to carry out in addition to team practices.
- Plan to race ALL 5 RACES that our team is invited to attend. Seeding at races and end-of-season results are based on a cumulative scoring system. See the NICA Rulebook (link at bottom of page) for details about the seeding and scoring system.
Follow the steps on our Registration page.
No. You need to be able to ride a bike. It’s helpful if you have ridden on singletrack trails before and if you already have some endurance. BUT, we have students of all abilities. So, as long as you can keep up with our slowest riders, and can meet the Coach licensing requirements, there’s a place for you on our team!
There are three different Coach Levels–each with its own training requirements. For a comprehensive list, please visit: http://www.nationalmtb.org/coaches-license-program/
They are Cross Country mountain bike courses which means they include both uphill and downhill. NICA has certain requirements for all of their race courses. For example, courses:
- begin with a climb on a dirt road for the first few hundred yards to allow racers to get into “position” before the course changes to a singletrack
- always have a mix of single and double track trails
- have obstacles such as rocks, roots, and even optional small jumps or drops
- course lengths are 3-5 miles and 300-500 vertical feet per lap
- students complete 1-4 laps based on their age and skill level.
Generally, the easiest courses to ride are scheduled for the beginning of the season and courses may get progressively more difficult as the season goes on.
Have More Questions?
There’s a lot to learn so don’t be afraid to ask us whatever you need.