Brandon La Rue, Executive 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.
Matt Gunnell, Director Emeritus
Matt bought his first mountain bike (a fully rigid Diamond Back Ascent) in 1985. He spent time in many jobs including water polo coach, school teacher, rock and roller, soldier, and police detective. Along the way he picked up a BA in Fine Art and an MPA in Public Administration along with time spent as a bike club President and bike race promoter (after quickly discovering he was better at putting races on than racing). After an injury forced transition from the police force he helped bring the SoCal League together in 2008 as a member of the founding board. When the SoCal League was looking for its first Director Matt kept raising his hand and flailing it around wildly. He eventually secured the position by agreeing to work full time for free for a year. Matt is passionate about cycling, about youth development, and about the magic that occurs when those two are mixed together!
Amber Goldsmith, Assistant Director
Amber began her journey into health and wellbeing as a teenager and became a nurse in 2010. While in nursing school, her teenage daughter joined the developing high school league as a Junior and continued through her Senior year. Her son raced all four years of high school. Amber had the privilege of coaching, volunteering as a course marshal, sweep and race venue set up during those six years, and watched the So Cal League grow from its first year in 2008 onward. Her deep passion for health and fitness combined with love for all things outdoors and all that exists in nature has culminated in her own experience with competitive cycling, adventure racing, and running half marathons. Her own experience with racing, cycling fitness and just the pure joy of being on a bike created an intense passion for sharing these experiences with the next generation. Seeing her children evolve into such incredibly strong human beings mentally & physically as a result of the sport only solidified Amber’s desire to be part of the SoCal League. To further deepen her knowledge in health & fitness Amber decided to get her certification in Vinyasa Yoga in 2017. She quickly realized that she wanted to have some type of career in “Wellness Coaching”. After being asked to teach Yoga at the SoCal races, she learned of an opening position for Assistant Director. She knew immediately that she wanted to pursue the position. She was overwhelmed with excitement at the idea of being able to work in a career that embodied her passion for mountain biking and her love for health fitness.