Emily Batty stopped by Trek headquarters in Waterloo, Wisc., where 7,000 high school athletes were gathered for NICA state mountain bike championships. The Canadian World Cup racer got to see first hand just how big American high school racing has become.

High school mountain bike racing is growing fast in America. There are 18,500 kids currently racing in the NICA system, spread across 1000 teams in 25 state leagues. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) works to build school-age youths and help develop coaches, all as a way to help make healthier and more engaged members of their communities.

Batty was on the scene when NICA’s Wisconsin state championships landed on the trails outside Trek HQ. Usually reserved exclusively for Trek testing and staff rides, the Waterloo trails were taken over by a huge crowd of young racer and their families. Many camped out for the weekend’s racing, building a small village of mountain bikers.

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