News from NICA – October 2012


Dear NICA Friends,

It is my pleasure to provide you with the latest updates on what’s happening at NICA. As board president, the favorite part of my job is visiting each of our Leagues to see first-hand their races and special events. I am always impressed with the quality of the people that are drawn to our program. From the student athletes, parents, coaches, race volunteers, League Directors, League Boards of Directors and our national staff, NICA is made up of exceptional individuals dedicated to building and supporting a quality high school mountain bike program “Coast to Coast.”

We do have some personnel news to share. Doug Selee will no longer be working as NICA’s Executive Director. We appreciate everything Doug has contributed to NICA in his short time with us and we wish him the best.

The NICA Board is pleased to announce that Austin McInerny has been selected as NICA Executive Director and will serve in that capacity effective immediately. If Austin’s name sounds familiar, it should! He has been a major player in this movement from the very beginning. He is a nationally respected Environmental Mediator, coached the Berkeley High Mt. Bike Team for five years, served as both the President of the NorCal Board of Directors and on the founding committee of NICA, oversaw the publication of the Coaches Manual, and has instructed at Leaders’ Summits in each NICA League. Austin’s leadership capabilities and his knowledge of NICA place us in a powerful position to reach the many lofty goals we have in place — namely being Coast to Coast by 2020.

Over the last three years, we have refined the process and procedures for selecting, building and sustaining our Leagues. No longer a “work in progress,” we now have a solid model for success that can be replicated throughout the country. This fall, NICA attended Interbike and IMBA’s World Summit, at which time the national staff, League Directors, coaches and industry partners shared the feeling of NICA as “crossing a threshold.”

As a result of the support NICA has received from our Inner Cycle of Friends and our larger community, NICA is developing into an organization of substance and the go-to organization on issues of youth participation in mountain biking, and we thank you all for that support.

A few of the highlights the past few months:
* 1,659 student athletes participating in NICA programs
* 748 coaches trained as NICA coaches
* 227 high schools participating in NICA programs
* 8 Leader Summits put on by NICA
* First NICA National Conference held in June, attended by our League Directors and Advisory Boards from across the country
* Institution of ongoing training webinars for coaches, race production staff and League Directors
* Laying the groundwork to increase the number of “Leaders” to conduct NICA’s Leader Summits
* The development of a “Race Deployment Team” made up of our national staff, race production staff from other Leagues and League Directors, who successfully helped launch two state Leagues with 400 riders total. As each of our races follow the same rules and managed to the same standards, a coarse marshal, race director or score keeper from one league can be “dropped in” to perform that responsibility or to provide guidance and training.
* Arizona, Tennessee, and New York, NICA’s new 2013 leagues were announced at Interbike.

Our biggest challenge remains resources. Since June, NICA has lacked dedicated funding to support a Development Director, which has slowed the progress of building our development program. Despite this, we have a successful and proven model for building high school mountain bike programs across the country. With that experience and knowledge, we can now build relationships with national health foundations and more sponsors outside the cycling industry. To support these opportunities, our plan is to have financing in place by January to support a dedicated staff position for development. Additionally, Matt Fritzinger will help with fundraising upon his return.

Speaking of Matt, after a well-deserved three-month break, Matt will be return part-time in November to focus on special projects. Matt will also return as a married man, and we want to welcome his soon-to-be bride, Elizabeth Tiarks, into our family.

NICA’s focus as a “Youth Development Organization,” building strong minds, bodies and character, guided by the principals of inclusivity and equality, are the values that bind us. It is the quality and commitment of the individuals and supporters of our organization that will make our dream of bringing high school mountain biking Coast to Coast a reality.

On behalf of the entire NICA Team, thank you all for your work and support.

Rick Spittler,
President, NICA

source: Forrest Arakawa

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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