Decline Magazine » Jack Ingram Passes Away

Jack Ingram Passes Away

Jack Ingram

The man that initiated the first national mountain bike organization to sanction races, which would eventually become NORBA, John "Mountain Jack" Ingram, passed away recently. Jack not only had an influential role in establishing NORBA, his early work played a critical part in mountain biking becoming a World Cycling Championship sport, starting in Durango, Colorado in 1990. He also helped develop the first national mountain bike group to encourage stewardship and land access.

Joe Breeze recounts the important role Jack played in the mountain bike community:

Jack played a seminal role in establishing the first national mountain bike organization to sanction races. It was also the first national mountain bike group to encourage stewardship and land access.

In 1983, Jack corralled all of us mountain bike "pioneers" and insisted we organize racing and stewardship. We were all wrapped up in our fledgling businesses and it was difficult for us to commit to getting together. But Jack persisted. After many, many phone calls and visits at the annual Long Beach Bike Show, he got us all together. On January 25th of that year, 13 of us met at Jacks' house in Lafayette, and then we met regularly in Marin.

Jack's vision led the way. At 56, he was our elder statesman and we parlayed his wisdom into what we soon called NORBA, the National Off-Road Bicycle Association. We wrote up by-laws, created a logo, arranged for race insurance, grew our membership, oversaw mountain bike races and became the organization that Jack had dreamed of and knew we needed.

Later in 1983, we determined that to prosper we would need to find someone to take NORBA on full time – we had our own businesses to tend to. We transferred NORBA to Glen Odell of Solvang. He took the organization to the next level with the first NORBA National Championship in December 1983. NORBA went through a few different hands along the way, but years ago it was absorbed by USA Cycling and placed under the umbrella of the world governing body of cycling – the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

Jack’s work played a critical role in mountain biking’s becoming a World Cycling Championship sport, and eventually an Olympic sport in Atlanta in 1996, only twenty years after the sport's first races at Repack.

Jack supported my wishes for mountain bike racing to give back to the community and not just be another solely athletic endeavor. This was not something people had given much thought to at the time, but after I aired the idea of a self-sufficiency rule, we discussed the reasons for it and it passed almost unanimously. Self-sufficiency became a key tenant among NORBA rules. I’m sorry to say that a few years back, this rule was rescinded by the UCI. Still, the rule has had a positive impact on the sport and on the mountain bike’s development.

In 2003, past NORBA owner, Bob Hadley, wanted to put together a 20th reunion for the founders. The gathering never did materialize, but I spent a good deal of time trying to find Jack, without success.

I was so looking forward to expressing my thanks to him for organizing us. He was justly proud of his role, and I will never forget his determination.


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