Austin McInerny, President
After witnessing the power of organized mountain biking to help teenagers learn life-long lessons during his seven years of coaching the Berkeley High School Mountain Bike Team, Austin decided to put his career in natural resource management and public policy mediation on hold to become the president of NICA in late 2012. Since then, he has helped grow NICA into the largest youth cycling program in the United States. Austin is a strong believer in the power of cycling to transform individuals and communities and loves to tour and ride all types of bikes with his wife and friends. Austin received a Community Leadership Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and was named by BICYCLING Magazine as one of 21 “New Heroes of Cycling” in 2016.
Lauren Duensing, VP Programs
Lauren Duensing is passionate about NICA. She manages the program staff in the NICA headquarters, and works closely with League Directors to support NICA programs in 19 Leagues (and growing) across the United States. Lauren is committed to raising the bar of excellence that NICA programs provide for League Directors, Coaches, Student-athletes and parents. She understands the expanding reach of the youth mountain biking movement in the United States and the strategic role NICA continues to play. She comes to NICA as a parent impacted by the NICA story. An avid trail runner and reluctant biker, it was her two children who participated in the NorCal League and taught her to mountain bike. How fun is that? She went on to become an enthusiastic mountain biker, road rider and tri-athlete – all because of the impact of NICA.
Lauren Haughey, VP Finance & Administration
Lauren began her stint at NICA before it actually existed – as part of the NorCal Mountain Bike league staff – and transitioned to Finance Director while helping to launch the National organization in 2009. Prior to joining NICA, Lauren spent 20+ years working in the corporate world – shifting paradigms, thinking outside the box and taking it to the next level, while running it all up the flagpole – only to suffer a midlife crises, resulting in a lifestyle shift towards nonprofit work. When not at work, Lauren volunteers as Board Treasurer of the BTCEB advocacy organization, commutes by bike, enjoys trail running, is pursuing an MBA, and guides her two teenaged kids while their pre-frontal lobe development continues to progress.
Kristine Urrutia, VP of Development & Partnerships
As a long-time runner and roadie, mountain biking was not on Kristine’s bucket list- until her children decided it was on theirs! In years past when her then small children would ride mountain bikes, she would trail run behind them. In 2015 her husband and three children decided to give her a mountain bike for Mother’s Day. Kristine found both a new freedom and community that came along with mountain biking. In 2016 she took her new passion to the next level and joined the Management Team of NICA’s emergent North Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League.
Kristine has nearly 20 years of leadership experience in global, community and foundation development with a particular interest in social entrepreneurship. She profoundly believes that issues of the environment are inextricably linked with matters of social justice. Joining the NICA team gives her the opportunity to merge her passions for biking and getting youth outside and into nature. At the heart of all Kristine’s efforts is a relentless drive to lead, seek, design, or create ways for people to collaborate with purpose. Kristine has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from Bowling Green State University and is a Certified Teacher Naturalist.
Nic Sims, Development Manager
After being introduced to cycling by my father the fun and games began and the rest is history. I raced mountain bikes and wrenched for several road and mountain bike teams. In 1998 we moved to the US from the UK to work for Specialized, while there I enjoyed being the “Face of Specialized” at multiple Tours De France as well as other cycling classics. I left Specialized after 23 years and moved on to Alpinestars to work in the motorsports industry; this let me get a behind-the-scenes view of motorsports including Formula 1, Moto GP and Supercross. In 2013 I returned to the cycling industry to work for SCOTT Sport. Throughout my life I have had the distinct pleasure of turning hobbies into jobs. I have worked with some great companies that I can say have all made a difference in their sports and now with NICA the trend continues.
Chris Spencer, Director, Risk Management & Training
Chris is a proud NorCal League Alumni. As a high school Freshman he experienced the adventure of mountain biking as a mechanic then racer on San Francisco’s Roaring Mouse Cycles Team. After some early racing successes, he started working with the Whole Athlete on a performance training program that helped him achieve some NORBA national podiums. While studying at UC Santa Cruz, he coached for a local team and volunteered for league events. Since 2009, he has worked for the NorCal League and then the NICA national office. Chris has had many roles at NICA with his primary contributions being the development and refinement of the risk management and training programs. The focus of his post-high school education has been economics, project management, counseling, program development, and risk management. Chris brings a wide range of experience including work as a bike mechanic, deckhand-engineer on tug boats, aviation and maritime insurance adjustor, comedian, residential advisor, outside salesman, and marketing representative. Chris enjoys many outdoor sports and is STOKED to be a coach on the Berkeley High School Cycling Team.
Julia Lawrence, Registration & Administration Manager
Julia is an outdoor enthusiast and all-around “fun-seeking” mountain biker who came to the NICA team as a current parent and Assistant Coach of San Ramon Valley High School. A stay at home mom for the past 20 years, Julia fills her days with volunteering at the local schools and exploring Las Trampas and Mt Diablo on her mountain bike. She has seen what a positive impact high school mountain biking has had on her own children as well as the students in her community. “Our team emphasizes life skills, and while we love to compete, at the end of the day it is more about our experiences on the bike with our teammates, learning a life-long sport.”
Jorge Montoya, Tech & Media Manager
In his youth, Jorge was a recreational mountain biker who was just as familiar with the pavement as the wind, as he barreled through the bike paths of the Bay Area Peninsula. After a long hiatus, he has been inspired by the NICA crew to pick up biking again, and now enjoys the trails and roads around the East Bay. After working in corporate, start-ups, and now the non-profit world, Jorge has years of experience in marketing, information technology as well as graphic, web and UX design. Jorge has a B.S. in Business Administration from San Jose State University, an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and a Graphic Design certificate from UC Berkeley Extension.
Jehn Mikalacki-Sublett, Finance/Donor Development Coordinator
Jehn became an avid cycler the old fashioned way… by needing transportation. At NICA, she brings her business degree and 12 years of accounting experience to the table, along with a side dish of photography and a registered veterinary technician license. After leaving the role of head technician at a nonprofit animal hospital, Jehn is excited to share her heart and compassion with the NICA team to promote student athletics and mountain biking.
Nargis Solis, Systems Management
Two time Ironman finisher and long time triathlete, Nargis Solis started her athletic endeavors in high school as a runner and then continued into rowing. Never having considered herself as a swimmer, Nargis was encouraged by a friend (also not a swimmer) to register for her first olympic distance triathlon. She learned to swim and completed her first triathlon in 2001; the start of a longtime passion with the sport. Her last athletic achievement was The Tour of the California Alps (aka Death Ride). Having recently coached a small team of charity runners for the 2014 and 2015 Boston Marathons while simultaneously keeping up with her 3-year old daughter, Nargis is passionate about getting kids outside running and cycling. Nargis has a BA in Applied Mathematics from UC Berkeley.
Kim Wik, Office Manager & Accounting
Kim has always liked riding bikes but about 8 years ago a chronic running injury got her back on the bike full time. She started riding with a local group to improve on her riding and within a year she started racing in the Northern California/Nevada Cycling Association. Now after 7 years of racing she is still going strong. She is the reigning California State TT Masters 45-49 Champion for the last 5 yrs and has competed in Masters Nationals the last 4 yrs. Kim has found her dream job at NICA. When she isn’t working or riding she likes to spend time baking for the NICA staff (keeping them happy is important) and spending time with family/friends. Life is good and she is enjoying her ride to the fullest!
Tracey Bracco, Accounting Manager
Tracey joins NICA believing that sports can make an incredible difference in a person’s life. After completing seven Ironmans, XTerra and the New York and Boston Marathons, she took time off to raise her two young children and attempt a ball sport, tennis! Ten years later, she has dusted off her mountain bike and is back on the trails, hoping her kids will follow. Tracey has 10 years of non-profit accounting experience. She received her B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and her M.B.A. from UC Berkeley.
Emily McDonald, Communications & Marketing Manager
Emily grew up hiking and exploring the outdoors with her family and was introduced to mountain biking by her older brother in 2003. She was an endurance mountain bike and adventure racer for several years before moving to California in early 2014 with her husband Mike. Emily discovered NICA shortly after when she met some fellow mountain bikers on the trails in Sibley Park and was recruited to help coach the Berkeley High School Mountain Bike Team and grow their Young Women’s Program. She is passionate about youth development through mountain biking and encouraging environmental stewardship. Emily has a background in communications and program management and has worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation. She has a M.S. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of South Carolina.
Jerel Wilson, Training Manager
Jerel grew up down the street from a local bike shop in the suburbs of Chicago. She spent as much time there as the owner would allow before kicking her out. After college, Jerel did some Ironmans and fell in love with competitive cycling, quickly switching over to road and cyclocross. She enjoys both the physical and mental challenge of bike racing and is convinced her life is richer because of her experiences as a cyclist and the friendships she has gained (both teammates and competitors). Jerel is passionate about introducing cycling to youth and loves to see kids get their parents hooked on cycling. Riding bikes recreationally is a favorite family activity in her household. Jerel joins NICA with a background in social work and education and holds master’s degrees in both social work and educational leadership. She has spent the majority of her career in public education advocating for alternatives to expulsion for gang involved students and students with disabilities.
Sarah Thomson, Registration Coordinator
Sarah is a Bay Area native, growing up in Menlo Park and attending UC Santa Cruz where she earned a degree in Marine Biology. She has been a competitive fencer for over 15 years and has worked with fencing clubs and and leagues for over 10 years. Sarah is excited to join NICA and bring her extensive experience with fencing tournaments and registration to her new role here. In her spare time she likes to read, in particular murder mysteries.
Sara Marks, Accounting
Sara recently returned to work, after a 15-year hiatus, where she was a stay-at-home mom, volunteer with several non-profit organizations, coach of youth soccer teams, and heavily involved in local schools. She received a B.S. in Business Administration, Accounting Concentration, from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Sara grew up riding bikes, was a member of the Cal Poly SLO Wheelmen, and one of her favorite activities is exploring the hills, either on foot or by bike. She played college soccer and in the W-League and WPSL semi-pro soccer leagues for the San Diego Autotrader and Albuquerque Crush. Sara’s husband Derek is an avid cyclist who is an Exercise Physiologist, Nutritionist, and Director of the Human Performance Lab at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. She and her family recently returned from living abroad, in Australia, for two years. They now call Australia their second home and loved every minute there. Sara is passionate about animals, gardening, the beach, and being out in nature. She is very, very excited and proud to be part of the NICA team!