July 7, 2017

New League Director's Welcome Aboard Message

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Meeting, NICA Style. Photo: Jason Gonsalves

Wow! What a journey it has been since Jason snapped this "over the shoulder" selfie back in February. The league crew had just met at Halter's Cycles for a weekly meeting and ended with a ride along the canal path to eat lunch in Princeton. On the way back, Tom Kruse casually asked if I would be interested in leading the league. You can see Tom in this photo speaking to me, but you can't quite see the shock or emotion I felt. So many questions; Where is Tom going? Could I dedicate the time needed to succeed? Is this right for my family? Learning that Tom planned to transition to Board President, ambitious excitement and a little fear of the unknown danced in my head.

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CG Training days. Photo: Ken

For the past 25 years I have dedicated my life to the US Coast Guard, where training for the unknown was critical to safety and mission success. I quickly recognized parallels between the CG, the NICA National Program and particularly the New Jersey League. We traveled to Virginia to train side-by-side with counterparts at a live NICA race. Policy and procedures to ensure student athlete safety are in place and always take center stage. Other leagues and national staff would be traveling to NJ to assist with our inaugural races; production value of the races themselves are second to none, and set the standard for youth cycling in the country. The questions in my head quickly changed to, "How can I make this work?".

Those fears and questions have since morphed into optimism, training and planning. After a whirlwind close to our race season, I flew off to Minnesota for the NICA National Conference, where directors and coaches from around the county met to strengthen our organization, share best practices and ideas, and get more kids on bikes. I stand ready to help our league grow and succeed, inspired by this amazing cast of characters. Mountain biking has done so much to enrich my life. The opportunity to work alongside these folks to share the power of the bicycle with the youth of tomorrow makes me incredibly happy. So here I am, humbled and honored to be your League Director.

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The Kruse Family: Tom, Jessi, JoAnne and Jakob.

I am eternally grateful for the years Tom has dedicated to bringing NICA to New Jersey and smashing the inaugural season out of the park. His commitment is nearly impossible to describe, and certainly not in a paragraph. His guidance as Board President is invaluable, and a critical aspect of our future success. Similarly, the entire Kruse family has worked to support the effort; as trusted confidants, advisory board members, core staff members, and race-day volunteers. Tom, JoAnne, Jessi and Jakob have shown all of us what is possible when a family as strong as theirs unites around a common cause. I am proud to call them friends, and we are all fortunate to have their continued support and guidance.

A tremendous debt of gratitude is also owed to the rest of the inaugural season's core staff: Sandy Chapman, Kristine Contento-Angell, Chris Facas, Jason Gonsalves, David Kahl, BJ Kisch, Kathi Krause, Robin Lauezzari, Emilio Lois, Charmaine Michaels, Jon Sherwood, Larry Towner, Ben Tufford, Mary Beth Van Wart and John Williams. Thank you, and I look forward to many more years of fun on bikes!

To our inaugural season's coaches, THANK YOU! Your hard work and dedication to our student athletes is so inspiring. All of your training, practices, team building events and behind-the-scenes efforts have made life-long positive memories. You are the backbone of our league, of our community, and I could not be more excited to work with you in the coming years as we grow the league and get more kids on bikes!

Thank you as well to our Advisory Board, league sponsors and individual donors, at the local, state and national levels, without whom none of this is possible. Thank you for sharing our vision of enabling every NJ teen to strengthen body, mind and character through this lifelong sport.

A final thanks to our parents, families and student athletes! As a husband and father of four, I understand the commitment and sacrifices you continually make. This league is for you, and for the future of our sport. I look forward to providing you with the best possible experience in everything we do, and will work tirelessly to achieve that mission. Together we will continue to provide a fun, enduring and relevant mountain bike program for many years to come.

Thank you for reading, and I welcome your feedback at any time.

Happy Trails,

Ken Seebeck


In This Issue

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2016 NJ Summit. Photo: Tom Kruse

Want to get involved? This is step #1! The New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League’s annual Leaders Summit will bring together coaches, assistant coaches, ride leaders, and parent volunteers—both new and experienced—to develop skills and knowledge, share strategies, and build community.

We have an amazing weekend planned. Curriculum for new coaches will focus on establishing a team in your area or school, and building the foundation for "101" level skills instruction. Seasoned coaches will find topics geared towards expanding license levels, including NICA approved first aid training from SOLO, the oldest continuously operating school of wilderness medicine in the world. Our league will be the first to receive this training, which is mandatory for level 3 coaches.

For more information and to register, please visit our registration pages on Eventbrite:

New Coach Registration Page
(Has never attended a Summit or MTB 101 Class)

Returning Coach Registration Page
(Has attended a summit/MTB101 and will complete First Aid/CPR prior to Sunday, 17 Sep)

We have worked very hard to keep costs as low as possible, and have some scholarships available for those who may need financial assistance. If you have questions or concerns, please email

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▪ September 16-17: Leaders' Summit (for new and returning coaches)
▪ October 15: Start of the 2018 pre-season!
Keep an eye out for try-it-out rides in your neck of the woods to help recruit your friends for next season. Want to host a try-it-out ride?
September 16-17: Leaders' Summit (for new and returning coaches)
October 15: Start of the 2018 pre-season!
Keep an eye out for try-it-out rides in your neck of the woods to help recruit your friends for next season. Want to host a try-it-out ride?

Core Staff Openings

We are always looking to increase the bench strength of our Core Staff. Volunteering at the staff level is incredibly rewarding. If you are interested in staff position, drop a line!

Race Venues

We've started surveying potential new race venues for 2018 - if you have any suggestions, please reach out to League Director Ken Seebeck.

New Teams

Now is the time to start thinking about starting a team in your community. You don't have to be an expert mountain biker to become a coach - as long as you bring enthusiasm and commitment to the table, we will take care of the rest. To find our more, contact League Director Ken Seebeck.


We are always looking for new organizations that would be willing to step up as league sponsors. We provide our sponsors with premium exposure to New Jersey's active youths and their families, and our sponsors love to help us introduce today's youth to an active lifestyle, and the lifelong sport of cycling. To find out more, please contact our VP of Development, David Kahl.


Please join us to build a Strong Future.

Help us build a strong future for NICA in New Jersey by donating to our 'Strong Future' campaign. For all donations of $35 or more, completed by the end of August, receive this awesome 'Me Made History Together' t-shirt (super soft, high quality cotton, just like you saw the league staff wear at the races) - the image to the right will appear on the back of the t-shirt, the front will feature our league logo. Click HERE to donate now, help us build a strong future and reserve your t-shirt.

GFNJ Trademark NoDrop

Don't miss out on a fun day on your bike, register now!

Gran Fondo NJ has recently come on board as a league sponsor, and we are forming a NJICL Gran Fondo team to celebrate this partnership, AND as an opportunity to get together friends of the NJICL for a fun and rewarding day on the bike. THE GFNJ offers routes ranging from 18 to 107 miles. We are not looking to make this into a hammer-fest, our goal is to challenge ourselves, have some fun with other members of the NJICL community, and raise awareness about NICA in New Jersey. We will offer team members the opportunity to make this into a NICA fundraiser, just like the many other charity rides out there. Click HERE to register for the NJICL team.

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