2019 NICA Rumble On The Ridge

Mountain Biking in Alabama began on Oak Mountain. NICA has distilled countless miles of trails into a challenging race course. I-65 was clogged up due to an accident but everyone made it on time for the pre-ride.

We had a productive pre-ride, then enjoyed grilled salmon, pork chops, hot dogs, a veggie tray, and other goodies at the very busy and populated campsite. Some bad weather came through after midnight, but it didn’t do much to affect the race course.

Pre-ride is complete. Now everyone is looking forward to salmon, hot dogs, pork chops, a veggie tray, and plenty of other goodies at the camp site on Oak Mountain.

It was a loud, wet part of the night after midnight. A storm blew through quickly. If it had rained too much, the course would have been too wet to ride. We were fortunate that it blew through quickly. There is such a thing as course etiquette. Don’t ride a wet course. It deteriorates the experience for everyone who comes after you.

Bright and early Sunday morning, we put the team tent back in place and got on with racing.

This race begins with a long uphill ride. Several transitions between trail and pavement are the only places where it’s relatively easy to pass a slower rider.

Two of our JV riders move off the trail and onto some pavement. This will snake around a sprawling downhill bend where the highest speeds of the race will be achieved. It’s a good photographic spot for those so inclined.
The bottom of the curve. Racers are really moving through this segment. In about 100 yards, they will cut back left and continue along the single-track paths.
This section is why pre-riding is so important. On Saturday, some of the pre-riders were sliding into this cutback too hot and crashing. On race day, they were not crashing.

This race also showed marked improvement by all our riders over their times from last year. Off-season workouts and racing in other leagues on their own, coupled with our structured pre-season and in-season practices and conditioning really pay off. As is usually the case, NICA MTB Racing competes with other spring sports. Each rider decides on his/her own if they want to have a race weekend or a traditional sports weekend. It’s totally up to them.