Advisory Council

Since the beginning of high school mountain biking, NICA student-athletes and coast-to-coast growth have been supported in meaningful ways by a wide range of influencers. The NICA Advisory Council formalizes this relationship with our most devoted influencers by setting annual goals to support the NICA mission and, as NICA Booster Club members, make annual contributions. Don’t be surprised if you see any one of these individuals at a NICA race, camp, conference or special event, and be sure to thank them for their support!

Austin McInerny, Chair

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.


Ned Overend, Co-Chair, Pro Athlete, Specialized MTB Team

Ned has been racing mountain bikes for four decades. He was the first UCI Mountain Bike XC World Champion, six-time National XC Champion, and two-time Xterra Triathlon World Champion.

Ned has been inducted into several halls of fame, including the U.S. Mountain Bike, U.S. Bicycling, and Xterra Halls. His contributions to trail advocacy in his hometown of Durango, Colorado have been recognized with the naming of Overend Mountain Park.

Ned is a board member of Bicycle Colorado, honorary board member of IMBA and works at Specialized Bicycles in sports marketing and product development. Nicknames include ‘The Captain’, ‘The Lung’, and ‘Deadly Nedly’. He continues to race in several disciplines, striking fear into the hearts of master’s racers across the country and around the world.


Jeremiah Bishop, Pro Athlete, Sho-Air/Cannondale MTB Race Team

Bishop is quite possibly the most versatile mountain bike racer in North America. He represented Team USA 12 times for cross country racing, and was two- time USA Cycling National Cross Country and Marathon Champion. In 2012 Jeremiah won the National Ultra Endurance 100 series. Between 2010 and 2012 with Cannondale Factory Racing, Jeremiah extended his reign as the most dominant mountain bike stage racer in the US, with 11 consecutive victories in all of the country’s major stage races: TransSylvania Mountain Bike Stage Race, Breck Epic and Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race.

Bishop is also an athlete ambassador to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), an active member and contributor to IMBA, and hosts to benefit bicycle infrastructure and prostate cancer awareness foundation.

“Mountain biking was a driving force in taking charge of my young life, he said. “As a student at risk, my good behavior, discipline, and work ethic paid off, on and off the track. It’s for this reason I am honored to contribute to NICA so that other kids can find the freedom inspiration and fun that I found in mountain biking too.”

Ben Capron

The inventor of the first ‘direct routed’ brake, later popularized by Shimano as the ‘V Brake’, Ben Capron has been in the bike industry since he was 17.  Ben is no stranger to knobby tires: he was born and raised at the foot of Mount Tam. “I’m fortunate that my passion for riding has led to a career in the bike industry – I feel like I’ve been gleefully avoiding a real job my entire adult life!” he jokes. The growth of high school mountain bike racing through the NorCal League caught Ben’s attention, and he was instrumental in getting Specialized to be a founding sponsor of NICA. As a parent of three, his vision is for student athletes across the country is to learn the life-long joy and power of riding through NICA.


Chris Cocalis, CEO, Pivot Cycles

Chris, the CEO of Pivot Cycles, started out as a bike shop rat when he was nine years old, taking out the garbage and changing inner tubes in exchange for stickers. At 12 he got into BMX racing and was always the guy who worked on everyone’s bikes around the neighborhood. He designed his first frame at 16, as he’d outgrown the ‘pro XL’ length bikes of the time and had the creation welded up for him.

Mountain biking took his interest once he moved to Arizona and he studied engineering for three years at college. In 1988 he brazed together his first steel MTB frame in cohorts with the guy who started NORBA (North American Off Road Bicycle Association). Going under the Sun Eagle brand name, their elevated chainstay Talon hardtail appeared in Mountain Bike Action in a ‘Bike’s of the Future’ feature alongside the Mantis and Nishiki Alien (a few names that will bring back the memories for the old school types).

At 20, he started Titus Bicycles, a company that held its own amongst other U.S.-based boutique brands for the 17 years. Chris started Pivot Cycles in 2007. It was his opportunity to take everything he’d learned with Titus and designing bikes for other companies (Univega, Diamondback, Dean, Slingshot, etc.) and put it into practice. He’s the ideas man behind Pivot: he rides hard, tests his own products and refines them based on his own perceptions. He also works closely with dw-link developer Dave Weagle. Chris is based in Tempe, Arizona, where a new League has launched.


Lucas Euser, Pro Athlete, UnitedHealthcare Cycling Team (NorCal League alum.)

Team United Healthcare professional road racer Lucas Euser was born, raised, and found his love for the bicycle in beautiful Napa, CA. He took to the mountain bike as his extra curricular activity in high school in the early 2000s; just so happened the NorCal League was forming at the same time, and he was able to use the League as a pathway to both his collegiate and professional cycling career. Lucas spent his college years balancing studies, training, and a part time job. His work ethic landed him a spot on the U23 US National Team in the summer of 2005 which kickstarted his career in the international peloton. After graduating from the Cal Poly State University SLO, Lucas packed up and moved to Europe to race for the Slipstream Sports organization, which is currently known as the Garmin Sharp Pro Cycling Team.

His career was derailed in 2009 when he was hit by a car in Girona, Spain, shattering his right kneecap. His road to recovery turned out to be an eye opening experience into his own self-evolution. A three-year stint with Team SpiderTech brought him back to the competitive level to compete on a global scale. He is a partner in the IceDOT Helmet Crash Sensor, a project he became part of soon after his accident. He also sits on the board of the Napa Valley Vine Trail and is very active in his home community of Napa and his newly adopted home of Boulder, CO.


Gary Fisher, Mountain Biking Evangelist, Trek Bicycles

Gary exemplifies visionary leadership. Considered by many to be one of the godfathers of the modern mountain bike, it wasn’t until he attended the California State Championships in 2004 that he had an epiphany about high school mountain biking. Here in his home county, high school kids were competing on mountain bikes for their schools, and acting like that was a normal thing to do. From that point forward, when speaking at events nationwide, Gary always described the NorCal League when speaking about the future of the sport. Matt Fritzinger has stated “Early on, even I chuckled about Gary’s vision; I felt what we had in NorCal was very special and wasn’t sure it would work elsewhere.” Gary’s outspoken belief in his vision for the success and impact of NICA helped pave the way for the creation of new leagues and NICA.


Ashley Korenblat, CEO, Western Spirit Cycling Adventures

Ashley is CEO of Western Spirit Cycling, a national bicycle outfitter and one of the largest holders of recreation permits on the public land system. She formerly ran Merlin Metalworks, a titanium bicycle manufacturer. Ashley served on the Utah BLM Resource Advisory Council for two terms, as well as the Utah Outdoor Recreation Economic Ecosystem Taskforce. She has testified before Congress on the recreation economy and served on the Get Out West Committee for the Western Governor’s Association. Ashley is a past president of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and recently created the Public Lands Initiative at IMBA, representing the bicycle industry in over 30 Wilderness and land protection bills around the country. She has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth and was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2003.

Ken Mozek- Active Athlete and Head Coach of the San Ramon High School Mt Bike Club

From an early age Ken has been active athletically playing basketball in high school and college, running track and field and biking. In his first Mt Bike race in 2003 he became hooked on the excitement of the sport. In 2006 he was introduced to the NorCal High School Mt Bike League, attended the league’s coach’s clinic and started the San Ramon Valley High School Mt Bike Club the following year. He established the clubs mission as; “The positive development and mentoring of young men and women through Mt Biking with a focus on Health, Fitness, Leadership and Active Community Service”. The club has thrived ever since with consistent annual membership of 60 + students and 20 + active parents, likeminded coaches, ride leaders and mentors.

Professionally Ken has a Mechanical Engineering Degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology, has pursued his interest in thermodynamics and physics in the Industrial and Commercial refrigeration industry for the past 37 years. Ken is the Refrigeration Sales Manager for Air Treatment Corporation, and is on the Industry Advisory Board at California Polytechnic Institute where he actively participates in the development and recruitment of young engineers. He is passionate about the positive impact mentors can have on a young person’s life.



Nat Ross, Brand Manager KASK

Nat grew up in Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado, a small town on the Colorado River between Winter Park and Steamboat where he ran track and skied as a child. His specialty was the 400- and 800-meter along with the mile relay. He was the 1990 Colorado State Champion and a two-time All-American NCAA Division I XC ski racer.

In his role at KASK, Ross manages sales and marketing for the North American Ski and Cycling Markets. As his professional bike racing career placed him in Europe every season for over a decade, Nat currently specializes in bringing in high-end European brands to the US Market. Nat brought in fi’zi:k and later POC into the retail shops and IBD’s and later marketed both brands. Ross holds a biochemistry degree from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. After graduating from college, he was a brewmaster at the Breckenridge Brewery for five years where his favorite medal in his collection is a Gold Medal from the Great American Beer Festival. Nat later pulled a five-year stint as high school teacher of biology, chemistry, and physics and coached at Summit High School. Nat promoted numerous cycling events on the global calendar and commentated after retiring from professional cycling. During his fruitful career, Nat was the first pro to ever race a 29” wheel starting in 1999 at World Cups, World Championships, and NORBA Nationals. Back then, he was often not allowed by the UCI to start races as the 29” wheel was considered illegal by the UCI until 2003. Nat developed the first 29″ race wheels with Keith Bontrager and helped developed the first 29 tires with several manufacturers. Ross was one of the first professional mountain bikers to race on tubeless wheels and helped develop full-suspension race bikes with Gary Fisher. Fat Bikes are not new to Ross, as he used to weld two MTB rims together in the mid 90’s to make fatter rims for riding on the snow. Nat raced on “Fat” Bike tires glued up with tubular glue over 20 years ago, and has been a fat bike enthusiast ever since.

As a professional cyclist, Ross earned four World Championship titles, three National Championships, won Race Across America (RAAM) twice, and was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2008. Ross is also the founder and CEO of the Pro Bike Center in Golden, Colorado.

Rebecca Rusch, Pro Athlete, Liv & Giant Bikes, Red Bull

A 7x-world champion and celebrity in the ultra adventure/endurance realm for nearly 3 decades, elected to the prestigious international Mountain Bike Hall Of Fame, her status as a fierce competitor and inclusive influencer motivates millions. Recognized by Outside Magazine among the Top 40 Women Who’ve Made the Biggest Impact, and by Men’s Journal with the 25 Most Adventurous Women, she’s a maverick whose grit, determination, and perseverance labeled her the “Queen of Pain.” By repeatedly embracing risk she has reaped the reward of championship titles, course records, “first-evers” and myriad accolades, but it’s her desire to share the journey that sets her apart and attracts a loyal following.

Known for seeking the toughest challenges imaginable and pushing herself into unknown territory, she’s the only female competitor to win the iconic Leadville 100 (Mountain Bike ) four times; she’s won the renowned Dirty Kanza gravel grinder in 6 of 7 attempts (including the notoriously demanding 350-mile DKXL); she’s the fastest woman to complete the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail through Colorado and Utah (13:32:46), and the first person to ride the entire 1,200-mile length of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, documented in the Emmy-winning film, Blood Road.

Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a grueling gravel road event in her hometown of Ketchum, attracts hundreds of riders to her backyard every year, all benefitting organizations like World Bicycle Relief, People for Bikes, the National Interscholastic Mountain Bike Association, and the Wood River Trail Coalition.

To learn more about Rebecca visit:

To learn more about her fundraising for non-profits:


Brian Vaughan, CEO/Co-founder, GU Energy

Brian is president of GU Sports, based in Berkeley, California, down the street from the NICA headquarters. An avid mountain biker who has participated in 24-hour solo mountain bikes races, Vaughan was a high school and college track and cross-country runner. He left a New York City gig consulting in finance and management to become the chief GU operations guy in 1995 as general manager. His father, a UC Berkeley bio-physicist, started the company to develop a nutrition gel to give endurance athletes like his ultra runner daughter, Laura, a competitive edge after she struggled through the grueling Western States 100.


Scott Montgomery, Club Ride, CEO

Scott Montgomery starting his experience in the cycling industry at age 11 working for his father part time at a small but growing Cannondale Corporation. After University, he would join the company full time and would later start Cannondale Europe and Japan. Then eventually returning home to Connecticut to become the catalyst for the Volvo-Cannondale cycling team which became the dominant mountain bike racing program of the decade.

In 2004, Montgomery brought back to America Scott Sports which grew quickly to become a strong brand which was both innovative and respected for its outstanding innovative mountain bikes. It’s racing program fielded personalities such at Thomas Frischknecht, Nino Schurter, and Florian Vogel all of whom dominated world cup racing.

In the fall of 2011, after selling his shares of Scott Sports, Montgomery invested in a small but promising emerging company that was making a name for itself by manufacturing casual performance cycling apparel. Club Ride’s apparel works on the bike, but is also very useful off the bike in traditional settings. Club Ride continues to inspire individuals to ride more and feel better by looking good on off the bike.

Montgomery is thrilled to join NICA as an Advisory board member as he believes that daily movement is a vital element to an active and healthy lifestyle. Mountain biking combines rigorous exercise with fresh air and beautiful countryside that can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and exploration at trails all over the world.


Todd Wells, Pro Athlete, SRAM/TLD Factory Racing

Getting his start in the rural woods of upstate NY, Todd fell in love with the bicycle at a young age. He started racing BMX when he was five and switched over to the bigger wheels after high school. The mountain bike brought him to Durango, CO where he started school and finally down to Tucson where he eventually graduated from the University of Arizona. He hung up his wheels for a short time to try the “real world” of IBM but quickly returned to his passion of cycling. Todd has won fifteen national championship titles across the disciplines of mountain bike XC, STXC, Marathon and Cyclocross. He is also a three-time Olympian and three-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100. He is a new dad and had this to say about NICA “I wish we had NICA when I was kid but I’m thankful Cooper (my son) will grow up with high school mountain bike racing being just a regular sport”.
Follow Todd on Twitter: @yotwells / Instagram: yotwells / Blog: / Facebook: toddwells