Profiles in Leadership: Tonya Miltier

Tonya Miltier was the Head Coach for the Carolina Crushers.  She started her NICA coaching career at the 2016 Leadership Summit in Greensboro, NC and led her team to become the NCICL 2017 Middle School Champions.  Here’s what she had to say about her first season:
What a year!  When this adventure began, I thought we would be lucky to have 15 student athletes join the team…we had 36 talented and amazing student athletes!  And to complement them, we also had the very best coaches a team could have ever asked for! 
Photo by Ted Richardson

Sometimes when you start a new endeavor, you are nervous and this was no exception.  I did not have any experience coaching let alone a lot of racing experience.  Simply put I was not sure what I was getting into.  My first-year goals were to get #morekidsonbikes, provide many opportunities for the student athletes to ride, and for the student athletes to have fun, be a close team – and to be good teammates to each other. 

We met those goals and the whole experience exceeded my expectations in so many ways from getting kids on bikes that had never ridden on single track, kids building confidence and creating identities, improved bike skills and fitness, kids racing (and also not racing), and life long friendships.
If you enjoy riding and can relate to my first-year goals or experiences, I encourage you to get involved with the NCICL and the Leaders Summit is a great place to start.  This has been an incredibly rewarding year, and believe this next year will be no exception.


If you’d like to help get #morekidsonbikes please consider attending our Leaders Summit on September 16-17, 2017 in Wilkesboro, NC.  Registration is open – so please take the next step and register here.

The Profiles in Leadership article below was originally published in the fall of 2016. 



Where are you from/what is/are your “home” trails?

I’m originally from VA, and moved to NC to attend ASU. I have lived here most of my life since graduating college. My home trails are in the Cary area and I also enjoy getting out to San Lee. I also enjoy road riding.

How long have you been mountain biking?

Five years ago I was bored with going to the gym. I remembered as a kid I loved riding my bike, and decided to try mountain biking. After some hard lessons learned on my full rigid from college,
I bought my first hard tail and have been riding every since. I have met awesome friends riding, and have had such great experiences riding local and also in several spots across the US.

What involvement do you have in the cycling or youth development community?

I’ve been working with Triangle Off-Road Cyclists KOBRA (Kids on Bikes Riding Around) for just over a year. The kids are awesome and I am looking forward to working with NICA and some of the same KOBRA kids that choose to race with NICA. I’m more of a recreational racer and usually sign up for a challenging endurance race once a year or so.

What’s your motivation for getting #morekidsonbikes?

Kids are so inspirational, and in a lot of ways I think I get more from being around them than they do me. One motivating factor for me getting involved with #morekidsonbikes is to get kids outside. Another is to give back and to be able to share some of my knowledge and experiences. The cycling community has been generous embracing me and teaching me about the sport, and I want to share the same with the kids. And another motivating factor is to be a positive role model for young girls. I want them to know they have a place on the trail, and for them to see other girls out there.

Tell us about a kid that inspires you.

They all do, but one that stands out is a 6 year old girl who has progressed so much in one year, she is riding with our ‘intermediate / advanced’ group. I sometimes forget she’s so new at the sport, she rides with such confidence. And on occasion she will still do rides with our ‘beginner’ group and on those rides, she passes along the things she has learned to our newbies. It’s really wonderful to see her sharing her knowledge and encouraging the other kids.

What elements of cycling do you hope to pass onto the kids that participate in NCICL?

To have fun, to believe in yourself, to support others, that hard work pays off…. and to pedal, pedal, pedal!

What have you learned about yourself through cycling?

Cycling did not come easy to me. I did not grow up playing sports and although I worked out some, I had a fitness deficit not to mention skills to learn. Cycling has taught me there are many in the community that truly believe in you and want you to excel, that it does not matter how slow you are as long as you are having fun and have a good attitude, and that with some hard work and perseverance anything is possible. Cycling has become a big part of my life, and am happy to have found it.
What makes you want to improve?

The kids. Wow, some of these kids are amazing, strong, confident kids. I’m in awe. And like most driven people, I think you are never satisfied with things as they are, so you keeping pushing more and more to improve.

We need YOU! Please consider attending our Leaders Summit on September 16-17, 2017 in Wilkesboro, NC.  Registration is open – so please take the next step and register here.