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.”
After a short career in the Mechanical Engineering field (Graduated from UC Berkeley in 1995) Matt discovered teaching high school mathematics a more rewarding experience. Before long he also discovered that his cycling experiences (15 years road and mountain bike racing, 8 years working in bike shops, organizing local races) lent themselves to coaching, and formed the Berkeley High Mountain Bike Club. The success of the club eventually led to founding the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League (2001). In 2008, with a generous grant from Easton Foundations, Matt directed the creation of a SoCal League. That experience, along with the support for dedicated sponsors and inspired individuals, led to the launch of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association in September of 2009.
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.”
Katie Styer, Social Media Specialist
Katie Styer, NICA’s new administrative assistant, was raised in NorCal and is a lifetime cycling enthusiast. She grew up with two great role models, older sisters who raced collegiate cross-country mountain bike events and taught her that great friends and big adventure were best created on bikes. A passion for empowerment through biking was then cultivated. She has since toured across the U.S., worked as a bike messenger, commuted to school and now work, raced nationally and now locally with the Early Birds Women’s Developmental Racing Team! If that weren’t enough bike involvement, she has worked and volunteered at many bike shops and community bike shops in San Francisco. Katie earned her B.A. from San Francisco State University. Photo Credit: Pamela Palma
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!
Jorge Montoya, Tech and 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 and recently completed a Graphic Design certificate through UC Berkeley Extension. Jorge has a BS in Information Systems from San Jose State University and an MA in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.
Ginger Jui, Administrative Assistant
Ginger Jui holds a Master’s degree in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley and according to her mom this has nothing to do with bicycles. While transitioning from a research career in biology to an adventure career in bike advocacy, Ginger founded the Campus Bicycle Initiative at UC Berkeley, interned with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, and worked as route support for Climate Ride 2013 in California. In addition to keeping the books at NICA, she is the cycling program assistant at BORP, an adaptive sports and recreation program, and a volunteer at Spokeland, a community driven bicycle education workshop. She is currently working on a field guide to Bay Area bike-camping adventures at The Flaming Bike Blog.