The 2016 season is in full swing and we are bringing you behind the scenes with each league’s director!
Brandon attended his first league event in 2011 under the assumption that it would be just a typical mountain bike race, but soon realized he had stumbled into something very special. Like many others, Brandon spent his first race as a course marshal, wishing he had stayed closer to the infield. Despite getting a sunburn and running out of water, what he saw that day at the race made him want to become more involved with the league. He went on to serve as a volunteer staff member for five seasons before leaving his cushy government job to accept a full time position with the league in 2015.
Prior to his work at the Federal Court of Appeals, Brandon served in the US Navy then later worked as a shop foreman. He is a So Cal native, having grown up in La Cañada Flintridge, and can best be described as an avid enthusiast of anything that gets people outside and living life. He would describe his riding style as “enduro” because he rides his trail bike like a long-travel bike…be it up or downhill. Brandon has also been involved in rock climbing, distance running, and even played interscholastic equestrian polo during high school. He is devoted to the high school cycling movement and hopes to see more riders, more trails, and more community support for cycling as a result of his work with the league.
Q: Please share your name and league.
A: Brandon La Rue, SoCal.
Q: How long have you been a League Director?
A: 1 year.
Q: What led you into this position?
A: I volunteered with the league for five years prior to being offered the job.
Q: What is your favorite thing you get to do as a League Director?
A: My favorite thing so far has been getting to meet and ride with so many other people involved in high school cycling around the country.
Q: How has being a League Director changed your life?
A: Being a League Director has given me the chance to do something I love for a living. To date most of the jobs that I have ever held were for the sole purpose of making money. As a League Director, I get to wake up every morning knowing that the things I do that day will have a direct effect on something I truly care about. Being a League Director has given me a much greater sense of value in my work. I get to ride my bike a lot more, too!
Q: What inspires you?
A: I remember my first year working with the SoCal League, we had a race at Pinnacles in Lake Arrowhead. At that race we have this very lengthy hill climb coming out of a valley with a water crossing. That day there must have been 20 or so kids who broke their chains climbing that hill. It was incredibly inspiring to see that not one of them gave up. Kid after kid just kept coming running, bike on shoulder, through the finish line. I remember feeling that much more motivated to keep working with the League after seeing that.
Q: How has being part of NICA helped you and your region’s efforts to get more kids on bikes?
A: On NICA teams there is an atmosphere of inclusivity that is really not seen in other sports. I know this because growing up I played soccer, football, hockey and horse polo. I ran cross country, rock climbed and more. I really tried out everything i could, and in all the sports I participated in I never saw anything like a NICA team. Our teams have and continue to foster the growth of youth ridership in our region first and foremost, I think, because they have made cycling so easily accessible and so welcoming to newcomers. Being a part of NICA has helped create an environment that draws kids in.
Q: What is one thing you would like to say to other states about your league?
A: In SoCal we really value venues that offer camping. There is something very cool that happens when you get a few acres of meadow space and you fill it with hundreds of high school racers and their parents for a whole weekend.
Q: When my last race of the season is complete…
A: I’ll be getting ready to put on the best high school mountain bike summer camp experience this side of the Mississippi. The event is open to students from any league and held in Mammoth, CA.