Austin McInerny, Executive Director
In his role as Executive Director of NICA, the governing body that provides leadership and services to local mountain biking leagues across the country, Austin draws on the experiences gained from his five years as head coach of a large cycling team, extensive race course marshaling, as well as more than 30 years of riding. Prior to being named Executive Director in 2012, Austin contributed to the creation of the teaching materials used by NICA to launch new state leagues and played an integral role in creating the organization’s Coaches License Program. With a background in environmental mediation and a master’s degree in regional planning from Cornell University, Austin has also been an effective advocate for the mountain biking community.
Lauren Duensing, Programs Director
Lauren Duensing is passionate about the programs of NICA! She manages the program staff in the NICA headquarters, and works with the 9 leagues and a national team to deliver the 65 (and growing) races, events, summits and conferences a year. Lauren is committed to the continued excellence the NICA programs provide for student riders, coaches and parents, and the expanded impact of the high school mountain biking movement. She comes to NICA as a parent impacted by the NICA story. An avid trail runner and reluctant biker, she was lead by her two children who race(d) with NorCal to become an enthusiastic mountain biker. “Mountain Biking has defined and changed our family. It is what we do.”
Lauren Haughey, Finance and Administration Director
Suzette Ayotte, Development Director
A Maine native and twenty-year cycling industry veteran with a background in sales, marketing and public relations, Suzette remembers riding across icy college campuses and through Portland’s wintery streets long before using bicycles for transportation was a conscientious movement. It was after she’d graduated from college with a degree in Communication and Journalism, and left Maine for parts west that she purchased her first mountain bike and fully understood that there was more to it than getting from point A to B. Twenty-four years later, she finds it completely normal that she has ten bicycles stashed in her San Francisco apartment.
A former high-school basketball and field hockey player, Suzette echoes the sentiment we hear most often from those who first witness a NICA high school mountain bike race: I wish I had that. “High-school mountain bike racing builds strong character, minds and bodies. Witness it and you’re sold! There’s no doubt in my mind that NICA will be Coast to Coast by 2020.”
Chris Spencer, Senior Programs Manager
After Graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Global Economics, Chris got back to his roots and started working at the NorCal League. Starting in 2002, Chris raced in the League for three years as an independent for Roaring Mouse Cycles. In 2004 with the help of his coach, Dario Fredrick, Chris took his success in the League as encouragement to race the NORBA National series. He placed 3rd in the Junior Expert National Finals at Durango, CO and in the National Championships at Mammoth, CA. While taking a sabbatical from competitive racing at UC Santa Cruz, Chris stayed involved by coaching high school athletes. Chris says, “My current interest in racing is expanding opportunities for all high school athletes.”
Julia Lawrence, Programs 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 tore up 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 around the East Bay. Jorge has six years of marketing experience in Ecommerce, product management, web production and user interface testing. Jorge has a BS in Business Administration from San Jose State University, an MA in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and a Graphic Design certificate through UC Berkeley Extension.
Jehn Mikalacki-Sublett, Accounting & Registration 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, Accounting & 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 finishing The Tour of the California Alps (aka Death Ride). Having recently coached three runners in the 2014 Boston Marathon while simultaneously chasing after her 2-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!
Alex Tiberi, Programs Assistant
Born and raised in SoCal, Alex loves escaping smog and gridlock for technical trails and mountain views. In his spare time he’s involved in martial arts, trail restoration, and bicycle mechanics. Alex has a passion for empowering people through outdoor recreation and sports which has taken him to Utah, Colorado, Whistler, and now Berkeley. He graduated with a B.A. in Recreation Administration from Cal State Long Beach and has worked for a number of SoCal race promotions along with serving as the SoCal High School Cycling League Race Director.
Paul Skilbeck, Communications Consultant
Paul Skilbeck is an accomplished and widely respected marketing specialist with tremendous experience in the cycling world, in both Europe and the USA. After participating in a tiny high school cycling league in Canberra, Australia, where he spent part of his youth, Paul became a lifelong cyclist, living proof that what 99% of NICA student-athletes say is probably true!