Quick Spin with Chris Spencer, NICA Programs Manager

This summer has been a busy one for Chris Spencer. We caught up with him over ClifBars and Quinou in the break room to talk about what he’s been doing and what’s coming up in the near future.

Chris Spencer poses with the NICA Travel Team in Ketchum, Idaho. Photo credit: Austin Gooder

Tell us a little about yourself, Chris. What is your connection to high school mountain biking?
Straight up, high school mountain biking has done a lot for me. As a high school cyclist, racing in the NorCal League, I gained a lot of discipline, real-world understanding and confidence that helped me grow as a person. As a NICA employee I’m able to tackle big projects with the support of my super sharp co-workers.

Tell us about your summer so far, Chris.
This has been one of my favorite summers! It kicked off with an overnight trail work event at Boggs Demonstration Forest (just north of Napa Valley) .

The following weekend we picked up Washington coaches from the airport for our NICA Invitational Camp at UC Santa Cruz. That week was amazing. We had sixty riders and coaches from NorCal, SoCal and Washington State. We treated the riders to five days of high-level racing instruction. We included a four-event stage race and featured guests such as the UCSC yoga instructor, Julie Kimball and WTB staffer and rider Jason Moeschler.

The Camp qualified ten riders for the NICA traveling team. For eight of them it was their first National-level event. Highlights of the Nationals trip included the races, some epic rides around Ketchum, ID, having some great Q and A with the Subaru Trek Team – and generally spending time with fellow bike racers under one roof.

After Nationals there was also time in there for a few trips with my girlfriend, Erin as well as a few trips with buddies to Downieville, Annadale and a ranch we share in Sonora, CA.

I heard you and Matt originally met at the Invitational Camp backin 2003.
Yep. And I left him with quite a lasting impression. As you can imagine – a camp of high-energy, creative and capable high schoolers, needs a lot of rules including: No late night escapades and absolutely no cuss words. Well, on the third day of camp I let one cuss word slip out.  As a result of my potty mouth, Matt gave me a hard 1-minute time penalty, moving my placing in the overall GC for the camp. That night I had to write him a 3-page essay disputing the penalty. Even though appreciative of the thought put into the essay, Matt made the penalty stick. Matt and I still laugh about it.

Sounds like you have been busy so far this summer! What’s coming up next?
Well, first I get a little time in the office to work on some guides and manuals to putting on our programs. I’ll also be helping the directors in six states get their 2012 programs off the ground and a smooth start.

Other than that, I’ll be be pretty busy with the NorCal League Coaches Training programs and fundraising events. I’ll also be out in Colorado helping them kick-off their Season Opener in Nathrop on September 18th.

What’s the best part of your job?
Sharing mountain biking and all the good it brings with riders and coaches.

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