The Pit Zone is the team's home base on race day. In the Pit Zone you'll find the tent, trainers, food, tools, friends, family, chairs, etc. It's where we gather, warm up, eat, and hang out. It's always fun to see empty fields turn into a small city of Pit Zones on race day.
A little disambiguation: NICA also has an online Pit Zone where you do your registration, as explained on our Getting Registered page. You'll see the online Pit Zone referred to in the NICA documentation sometimes, but usually when people say Pit Zone they mean the team tent.
The feed zone is a specific place on the course where your team can support you by handing you water and other stuff as you ride by. There are specific rules tied to the Feed Zone which you can learn about on our Rules page.
The race courses are generally between 5 and 6 miles a lap, and the races last about 1-2 hours. How many laps you do depends on your category, and how long it takes depends on how fast you ride. Here are the ranges of laps and times that are normal, broken down by category.
Freshman: 2 laps, 45-80 minutes.
Sophomores: 2-3 laps, 55-115 minutes.
Junior Varsity: 3-4 laps, 80-120 minutes.
Varsity: 4-5 laps, 90-120 minutes.
Freshman: 2 laps, 50-100 minutes.
Sophomores: 2 laps, 50-100 minutes.
Junior Varsity: 2-3 laps, 65-120 minutes.
Varsity: 3-4 laps, 90-120 minutes.
The course markings are mostly self explanatory. For example, a little sign with an arrow pointing left means that the course is about to go left. I bet you wouldn't have guessed that. Still, I find it's helpful to review Section 5 of the NICA Rules & Guidelines for all the official details on the courses, markings, etc.