Welcome to the 2023 season for the Lower Merion Trailblazers MTB Team! The Trailblazers are a NICA-affiliated coed youth mountain bike team for students in grades 6-12, based within the Lower Merion area. The Trailblazers are a Composite team, meaning we welcome students from LMSD as well as home-schooled and private school students in the area. And we're a completely volunteer run team, all made possible by the generous contributions of our coaches, parents and sponsors!
NICA (the National Interscholastic Cycling Association) is a non-profit organization that promotes middle and high school mountain biking programs throughout the USA - providing governance, leadership, insurance, and program support. NICA is a newer organization, started in 2009, but is growing fast and now has 31 leagues in 30 states - including the Pennsylvania league, called PICL (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League). NICA may be new to Lower Merion, but PICL already has dozens of teams throughout PA, with several well-established teams in the surrounding Philadelphia area.
The goals of our team are simple: learn to ride and race safely, include and value every rider, and have fun! We strive to teach riders that mountain biking is a life-long activity for good health, to develop a connection to the outdoors and enjoy nature with their families and friends, and learn good trail etiquette and stewardship. While student-athletes are learning skills and gaining fitness, LM-MTB coaches concentrate on teaching students how to respect each other, themselves, the environment, their trails and their communities. We emphasize teamwork and creating stronger and more confident student-athletes both on and off the bike. This is a unique school team environment in that "no one sits the bench" - everyone rides and contributes to the team no matter his or her ability. Racing is a big part of what NICA offers, but it's not required. Students who wish to compete will have several opportunities to race during the fall season. And those who don't race can opt for fun-focused adventure rides instead, so there's something to meet the needs of many riders.
A note about COVID-19: NICA and the Trailblazers are following state, federal, and CDC guidelines for all our activities during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions have been eased, we're largely back to a normal routine in our practices and upcoming events. But we'll continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed to ensure the well being of all on the team.