Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Mountain Biking in the Midlands

The Columbia Composite Team Photo courtesy of Columbia Composite Team

The Columbia Composite Team Photo courtesy of Columbia Composite Team

Have you been to Harbison Forest lately and noticed a large number of teenagers on mountain bikes racing through the woods? If so, you might have encountered the latest competitive outdoor activity for sixth through 12th graders in the Midlands.

Columbia Composite is a National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) sanctioned mountain bike team for grades six-12 affiliated with The National Interscholastic Cycling League. Columbia Composite, a fall league team with the season running from July 1 through mid-November, represents many different schools in the Midlands area. The Harbison Forest bike trail is where the team practices. The team calls Sesquicentennial State Park their home course for events. The Columbia Composite Team began competing in 2021 and will have five matches this year.

NICA, founded in 2009, proclaims to “get kids on bikes.” More specifically, the organization develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA is about having amazing adventures with your teammates while tackling both small and epic challenges.

NICA’s Coach Education Program delivers comprehensive training to NICA coaches that provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide quality programming to student-athletes. Quality coach education is the cornerstone to developing great youth coaches who can support the mission and vision of NICA. For more information, visit

The South Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League (SCICL) was founded in 2018 as a non-profit Emergent League of NICA. SCICL facilitates the development of high school and middle school teams and provides the education, training, licensing, and insurance for coaches and volunteers.

It also produces high-quality mountain bike events and races that emphasize the value of participation, camaraderie, positive sporting behavior, and well-being over competition. Among the listed sponsors for SCICL are Specialized, Trek, Shimano, Sram, Rockshox, and Salsa. All are bike and bike equipment related companies.

Daniel Brown joined Columbia Composite in 2022 after getting interested in the sport watching YouTube channel Porter MTB. He said he was “instantly hooked” on mountain bike racing and began looking for information about competing. A team flyer at Outspokin’ Bike Shop sealed the deal. He signed up for the team and hasn’t regretted a minute. Brown is in the tenth grade at A.C. Flora High School and looking forward to his second season of competition.

The five event schedule for 2023 begins September 9-10 at the bike trail in Fant’s Grove Wildlife Management Area in Pendleton, S.C. The second event will be September 23-24 at the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill.

On October 6-7, Wedgefield’s Poinsett State Park will host the season’s third event. The fourth race will happen October 21-22 at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, and the season will close November 4-5 at a private venue in Buffalo, S.C., which is close to Union.

Each event involves all the teams in the league, and everyone competes against peers. Boys race against boys and girls race against girls. Each participant races against riders at the same school grade level. Points are awarded to the winner of each heat based on how many riders the winner beat in that segment.

According to the national website, 31 states will field teams this year. South Carolina’s league lists nine different teams involved in the South Carolina League. SCICL was founded by Curt Kurz-Edsall. For more information, visit and

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