As the skills development director for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), Lee McCormack created the curriculum, wrote the coach training manual and trains high school mountain bike coaches throughout the United States.

“Lee and his highly skilled assistants have played a significant role in helping grow interscholastic cycling in the United States.

“Specifically, Lee’s invaluable Teaching Mountain Bike Skills manual and his hands-on trainings have equipped over 1,500 coaches nationwide with the necessary skills and teaching styles to teach and mentor adolescents as they learn to ride safely. With over 5,000 active participants in our programs, it is fair to say that Lee’s work is paying off in a massive way as more kids are learning to ride with the proper confidence, skills and discipline to remain life-long cyclists.

“As a result of his emphasis on safety and teaching coaches what to look for to identify unsafe riding techniques, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of students crashing on their bikes. It is our honor and pleasure to work with Lee and his growing number of highly dedicated assistants.”

Austin McInerny, NICA executive director

When the largest youth MTB organization in the world chooses your teaching method and coaches, you know you’re doing something right.

More kids on bikes!

2014 NICA Special Recognition Award

At its 2014 awards ceremony in Berkeley, CA, NICA generously gave Lee special recognition:

“I am sorry you were not able to join us for the NICA Annual Awards! As I described to the full house of 170 attendees, you are being presented with the award in recognition as a special and unique NICA Partner who has played a significant role the past year in our efforts to get more kids on bikes.

“I called attention to your contributions to the skills manual and to teaching coaches at each league’s inaugural leaders summits. I also mentioned that I have personally had the pleasure of watching you teach at over ten summits and am always amazed with the level of energy and commitment you display to helping coaches be the best they can be when working with students.

“Your passion for the sport is evident to all those that meet you and NICA is honored to work with you.”

— Austin

Lee literally wrote the book(s). Teaching Mountain Bike Skills helps train high school coaches throughout the United States.

2 replies
  1. Tishia says:

    Just got licensed through NICA/AICL for coaching mountain biking. Needless to say, I have your book. And like a good book, I can’t seem to put it down. The great thing is, I take what I have read and apply it myself when I am out on the trails riding. I learned to slow down a bit to focus on my own skills and ask myself: What did that feel like, what am I doing and when, and is this correct or not, and how do I adjust? Self coaching is what I call it.

    Cornering and approaching sandy desert washes and riding through that sandy wash are two of the most common questions I get asked. While I understand you can’t cover every single trail condition, can you provide some methods to the madness whether by a personal response or through your Facebook page would be coolio.

    The cornering, I’m trying to pinpoint just where exactly without having the book in front of me, is one of my biggest pet peeves. While your explanation makes sense, I don’t know if it’s the pictures or lack thereof that is confusing to me because something is missing. Oh. When you approach a turn, I understand the looking ahead, looking around, follow the lines, etc. But what should your aim be for on a 29er vs 27 as you approach a corner? In other words, I am approaching a corner, should I go for the outside first then make my turn? Or do I hug the inner lines and let the wheels create kinda of a straight line? Does that make sense?

    I know when I am racing, I don’t even think about it. I just do it somehow without killing myself or falling over. It comes naturally. But it’s the breaking down, the visualizing it then interpreting that to the kids, or adults, I coach.

    Thank you for your time and your help.


  2. Lee says:


    Thanks for writing.

    The Mastering Mountain Bike Skills books (the third edition will be out in Fall) have more detail about cornering and riding through loose sections.

    For ultimate detail including video examples, join our online MTB school at There’a a ton of info in there!


    – Short sand section: Generate speed and sprint through with perfect balance.

    – Long sand section: Come in soft. Stay balanced. Apply steady power.

    – Cornering is fundamentally the same on all bikes. Bigger wheels have to be leaned more to make the same turn.

    – Most of the time you’ll want a “late apex” line in turns. Enter on the outside, exit toward the inside.

    Have fun out there!



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