IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Emily Robnett

It’s time for a new racer Spotlight for all to read. This weekend brings up the second IMBCS race of our season: The Beverly Park Fat Tire Frenzy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

In case you’ve missed any of our previous Spotlights here at IMBCS.org, we continue with our feature series of highlighting some of the many IMBCS participants throughout the state of Iowa. You can get to know some of the folks involved in racing and see how they do it, why they do it, what got them started, and read some of their thoughts. We will continue this feature throughout the season. You might be next, so check your email box for a Spotlight interview!

IMBCS.org Spotlights will attempt to provide a nice representation of ages, categories, and locations to introduce you to people you may or may not know so you can read their thoughts about racing mountain bikes. Are you considering racing in an IMBCS event this year? You don’t have to be a member of a team. You don’t have to have an expensive bike. You don’t have to have matching socks. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, male, female, young, old, tall, less tall – mountain biking in IMBCS events is open to everyone. We will show that in our Spotlight series and encourage you to sign up for a race and give IMBCS a try.

Today’s Spotlight features one of the 2013 IMBCS Series Winners, Emily Robnett.

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Continue reading IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Emily Robnett

IMBCS Race Director Spotlight: Noel Kehrt

We continue with our feature series of Spotlights here at IMBCS.org highlighting some of our many IMBCS participants throughout the state of Iowa. You can get to know some of the folks involved in racing and see how they do it, why they do it, what got them started, and read some of their thoughts. We will continue this feature throughout the season. You might be next, so check your email box for a Spotlight interview!

IMBCS.org Spotlights will provide a nice representation of ages, categories, and locations to introduce you to people you may or may not already know so you can read their thoughts about racing mountain bikes. Are you considering racing in an IMBCS event this year? You don’t have to be a member of a team. You don’t have to have an expensive bike. You don’t have to have matching socks. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, male, female, young, old – mountain biking in IMBCS events is open to everyone. We will show that in our Spotlight series and encourage you to sign up for a race and give IMBCS a try.

Today’s Spotlight feature is the first Spotlight featuring one of the 2015 IMBCS Race Directors, Noel Kehrt. I know you will find it interesting to hear from the perspectives of what makes IMBCS happen – our Race Directors – in these series of interviews. The job of being a race director is never easy. It deserves plenty of kudos, thanks, and respect for those who go out of their way to provide us with a venue, an event, and an IMBCS race. It’s mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing to add directing a race to one’s normal routine of family, friends, work, sleep, recreation, and riding bikes. If you ever want to know who the race director is when you get to one of our events, just look for the person with heavy bags under their eyes on race day. That will be the race director.

Continue reading IMBCS Race Director Spotlight: Noel Kehrt

Beverly Part Fat Tire Frenzy Marathon Race Clarifcation…

Here I am on a RailJet train going through the Czech Republic posting this using my CallYa travel package on my iPhone as a Personal Hotspot. So with my iPhone pointed at the nearest cell tower, here goes…

Beverly Park Fat Tire Frenzy format for the Marathon Category.

Call it the Dirty Forty, the Oh Lordy, look who’s doing 40!, the Fat Tire Frenzy Forty – or whatever you want to call it. Race Director Noel Kehrt has devised an endurance event for the marathoner racers that is much like other destination endurance race events where you complete the distance and your finish time alone determines your placing. Much like well known races such as the Chequamegon 40, Dakota Five-0 or other events with a specified set distance in miles, the Beverly Park Fat Tire Frenzy Marathon Race will be 40 miles (8 laps). The first one across the line at the end of their 8th lap wins based on their time – whether that means it is less than or more than 4 hours. Just like other endurance races, failure to complete the 8 laps results in a Did Not Finish result. 40 miles, 8 laps, fastest time wins. This is a slight difference from how things are listed in the marathon category in the Rules and Guidelines for the 2015 season, but that is okay. 

Hopefully that helps answer any questions one might have with regard to this particular race, and the difference between it and the rules/guidelines section that mention marathon races include …as long as you start any lap before the clock turns 4 hours, the final lap will also count. Keep in mind that the Marathon Category is a new adventure this year for IMBCS and I, along with your IMBCS Advisory Board, am happy to give race directors latitude to figure out a way to devise the best format that works for them to host an endurance event, time an endurance event, and figure out a way to make it run consecutively with the more traditional length XC races on the same course. Noel has figured out his way and I encourage everyone to support him and the race that LAMBA has for us on May 3rd.

Thanks Noel and LAMBA for devising a format that you can time and conduct in our first year of adding some endurance events to the IMBCS schedule. The variety for racers and challenge is welcomed by all.

If one feels they cannot complete the 40 mile race, they should consider racing in one of the more traditional XC races at Beverly Park (Cat I, COMP, Cat II, Cat III, or Junior categories) as distances will be shorter in mileage and duration than the Marathon 40.

Race Results for IMBCS Illiniwek Abermination…

We had 187 racers line up on their mountain bikes for the opening race of the 2015 IMBCS season. That’s 37 more racers than last year’s Illiniwek Abermination, or 25% growth year over year!

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Race Results are HERE.

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As good as that turnout was, I know we can do better with all the potential racers out there in Iowa. I’d like to see us cross over the 200 participant level at our premiere events. If you are still on the fence, or if you know somebody who is thinking about racing and needs encouragement to give it a try – the open invite is on the table. Grab your bike and come join us for the next race on May 3rd at Beverly Park in Cedar Rapids.

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That being said, how about a sincere thanks to all those who did come out and race in our IMBCS opening event? A huge thanks goes to Race Director Michael Vittetoe, his FORC group of volunteers, and PAMBA who combined their forces to make it all happen. Without our Race Directors and the organizations that stand behind them, we have no series. Join me in the praise and thanks for those who give back to the cycling community in Iowa to keep our mountain biking alive by organizing and providing competitive mountain biking events for all Iowans to enjoy.

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Here’s one race report from Emily Robnett about her experience of the Illiniwek Abermination. It’s worth the read. Not to mention, we will be hearing from Emily in a future Spotlight as well.

Photographs courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Michael Maney

Today is IMBCS Race Day number one with the Illiniwek Abermination in Hampton, Illinois! What a better way to start off your morning than posting up a new Spotlight?

We continue with our feature series of Spotlights here at IMBCS.org highlighting some of our many IMBCS participants throughout the state of Iowa. You can get to know some of the folks involved in racing and see how they do it, why they do it, what got them started, and read some of their thoughts. We will continue this feature throughout the season. You might be next, so check your email box for a Spotlight interview!

IMBCS.org Spotlights will provide a nice representation of ages, categories, and locations to introduce you to people you may or may not already know so you can read their thoughts about racing mountain bikes. Are you considering racing in an IMBCS event this year? You don’t have to be a member of a team. You don’t have to have an expensive bike. You don’t have to have matching socks. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, male, female, young, old – mountain biking in IMBCS events is open to everyone. We will show that in our Spotlight series and encourage you to sign up for a race and give IMBCS a try.

Today’s Spotlight feature is another relatively newcomer to IMBCS, Michael Maney. Michael has blasted out of the gate with his cycling over the past three seasons and is enjoying the success that comes with his training and racing experience as he moves up to CAT I for 2015. Way to go, Michael! Let’s get to the interview so you can meet our third Spotlight and see how he moved his way up.

Name: Michael Maney

Current Home: Waterloo, IA

Age: 29

Employer: Senior Engineer at John Deere Power Systems

Racing Category for 2015: Cat I

Race Bike(s): Specialized S-Works Epic 29 World Cup

Bike Team: C&S Products Race Team

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BB: What’s your favorite idea of a great mountain bike ride here in Iowa?

Michael: I really enjoy getting out and spending time riding with my wife Jacqueline and a group of friends; shredding some singletrack, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors, and looking forward to the great food and beers that typically follow! Typically it seems that these rides generally are the most memorable when we do them in the fall…perhaps that is because the weather is getting crisp and the leaves are changing making for one heck of a beautiful backdrop for mountain biking, or perhaps it is because we know that winter is coming and it may be up to 6 months before we get to do it again.

BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?

Michael: My first race was at Beverly Park Fat Tire Frenzy in Cedar Rapids in 2012.  I raced CAT III and had no idea what I was doing, fully loaded with my 100 oz. CamelBak, tools, spare tube, pump, the whole nine yards. It certainly wasn’t my best performance, but I had a lot of fun and now had the racing bug. I raced two more races that year, and then raced my first full IMBCS series as a CAT II rider in 2013.

BB:  What kind of race results and series results for the IMBCS did you have in prior seasons?

Michael: 2013 was my first year racing the full IMBCS season and I had a good battle going for the duration of the season with Dane Miller. The scene was set for a dramatic finish at The Mullet Fall Classic – the last race of the season – to finally decide who was going to be taking home the CAT II 20-29 age group championship. Unfortunately, the battle that ensued wasn’t as dramatic as hoped as Dane had a bit of confusion on the date of the race and ended up missing the event which left me to claim the championship for our age group. It felt great winning my first championship, but I know both Dane and I didn’t want to end that way hahaha. For 2014, I moved up to compete in CAT II COMP, and similarly increased my training volume and intensity. I was able to find greater consistency in 2014, and had a lot of fun racing the COMP category in the series. I secured the series championship for COMP for the 2014 season at the Summerset Shootout at Banner Lakes in Indianola, and while it didn’t come down to the last race of the season like my CAT II season did, it was every bit as fun!

(Editor’s Note: I hope this new website, the Facebook Page, the Yahoo Group IMBCS and our printed schedule prevents a confused date such as Dane experienced in 2013!)

BB: What are your goals for this year with regard to your mountain bike racing?

Michael: My desire for this season is to compete at a high level in the CAT I Expert category in IMBCS, with the ultimate goal of securing a podium spot for the overall series points championship.

BB: What has been your favorite race venue to date in the IMBCS?

Michael: That is a tough question to answer. One of the things I enjoy most about mountain bike racing is being exposed to so many different courses in different places, and meeting so many great new people along the way. I really enjoy the challenge of learning a new course and adapting my skills to improve on sections that may not be my strongest, so all of the courses provide different challenges on that front. If I had to pick a favorite venue, I would have to pick Sugar Bottom for its great combination of technical features, varied terrain, beautiful scenery, high-quality singletrack, and what is typically a great turnout that always seems to lead to some very high competition racing!

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BB: In preparing for the 2015 racing season, how many hours a week do you train? (Minimum, Maximum, Average)

Michael: In preparation for my jump up to the CAT I big leagues for the 2015 season, I increased my training volume throughout the Winter and early Spring months, with some of that time spent on the trainer, some of it spent riding my old hardtail on gravel and some of it spent on the fat bike riding singletrack and green belt trails. Throughout the early part of the season I averaged about 14 hrs per week on the bike, with another 2-3 hours per week performing core strength, balance/proprioception and stretching routines. As the season draws near and finally starts, my training hours will likely reduce, but the intensity of the training I do put in will increase as I make sure the body is in top form for the demands presented during race conditions. It is also a long season, so training adjustments often have to be made accordingly as issues or deficiencies arise throughout the season.

BB: Have you ever had something happen during a race that prevented you from finishing?

Michael: Knock on wood, I have never had an issue during a race that was severe enough that I DNF’d. I hope that good fortune continues into the 2015 season, but I’m also a big believer in the saying that victory loves preparation.

BB: Do you use a coach?

Michael: I do not have a formal coach per se, but I do have a great friend that I met through mountain bike racing that I communicate a great deal with about training, bike setup and maintenance, race preparation, etc.  In many ways that relationship helps hold me accountable in my training and development similar to the way a good relationship with a coach should, and in this case it is mutually beneficial. My wife Jacqueline is also my coach in a lot of ways, as another individual to hold me accountable in my training and nutrition, and who also happens to be one heck of a great cook that makes a lot of great training, recovery, and race fuel creations!

BB: Do you strength train as part of your training?

Michael: All of my strength training is with body weight exercises, plyometrics and targeted-system exercises both on and off the bike. I do not do any weight or resistance band training.

BB: What do you like about the Iowa cycling community in terms of mountain bike racing?

Michael: I really love and appreciate how outgoing, open, and friendly the Iowa mountain biking and racing community is. Some of the best friends I have today I met just riding the local trails, at a social ride or racing at the IMBCS races. People always talk about “Iowa nice” referring to how friendly the people are in Iowa, but I really feel that the mountain bike community takes that to an entirely new level. I really don’t think I’ve ever been around such a large group of people that are so consistently inviting and welcoming to outsiders, and has so many great people that form positive and deep relationships forged on common interests, all while having so much fun in the process.

BB: What would you say as words of encouragement to folks out there who are trying to make the decision to race a mountain bike in Iowa or not?

Michael: Getting out and racing on the Iowa mountain bike scene, whether you are competitive or not, is some of the greatest fun that can be had in any given weekend.  You don’t need to be fast or an excellent bike handler to have an incredible time out racing your bike on some new or familiar trails, and to do it with people that all love it just as much as you do. Everyone was the new guy that didn’t know anyone at some point, and everyone had their first race at some point. I know when I did my first race I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t know if I would ever want to try racing again at that point but I had a great time, met a lot of nice and fun people, and before I knew it – I was hooked. Racing and just riding mountain bikes provides so much balance to my life at this point that I really can’t imagine my life without it. When my wife and I were dating going mountain biking and exploring new places is one of the things we shared and was something that helped bring us together. A lot of my best friends I met through mountain biking and racing. As I said, whether you are competitive or not, you stand to learn a lot about yourself when you are out there on your bike, pushing yourself a bit, and you will certainly come away from it with great memories that will last a life time. And luckily for us, mountain biking is something you can do for the rest of your life, so the great memories just keep coming!

BB: Thank you so much Michael for sharing your story with us.

Michael’s debut as a CAT I racer on Sunday, April 19th…

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There you have it folks! Another inspirational story from a relatively newcomer who picked up mountain biking in his mid 20’s and is having a blast doing it. All the best to Michael has he pedals himself into the IMBCS big leagues this season for a go at the CAT I races. Next time you see Michael out on the trail or at an event, give him a shout out and introduce yourself. Michael is just one of the many racers enjoying the IMBCS.

Photographs used in this interview are courtesy of Angy Snoop, Eric Roccasecca and Jacqueline Maney

Illinewek — Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!!

I hope everyone is ready to get dirty because the start to the season is just around the corner.

Just as as heads up I’ve been in contact with the race director for Illinewek and he asked me to post this:

“As of right now, the race is on as scheduled. We are closely monitoring the weather forecast for Sunday and will post updates as decisions are made. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the trails! -Michael Vittetoe”

Updates will be posted as soon as the information arrives but please follow the Facebook group as for the most timely information.

See ya on the dirt!

Rob

8 Days to go! Let’s talk carpooling.

Illiniwek is only eight days away, are you ready? Bike good to go, gear ready, picked out the perfect ‘recovery’ drink? Now how are you getting there? transporting bicyclesFor some of us the drive to the course can be quite a distance, let’s carpool! I’ll cross-post this to the IMBCS Facebook group as well, but please let people know here or on Facebook if you can take a rider and bike or if your looking for a ride to share.

Gas may be cheaper than it’s been in a while but there’s no need to drive by yourself.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the races!

IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Lee Buell

We are featuring a series of Spotlights here at IMBCS.org to highlight some of our many IMBCS participants. You can get to know some of the folks who race and see how they do it, why they do it, what got them started, and read some of their thoughts. We will continue this feature throughout the season. You might be next, so check your email box for a Spotlight interview!

IMBCS.org Spotlights will provide a nice representation of ages, categories, and locations to introduce you to people you may or may not already know so you can read their thoughts about racing mountain bikes. Are you considering racing in an IMBCS event this year? You don’t have to be a member of a team. You don’t have to have an expensive bike. You don’t have to have matching socks. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, male, female, young, old – mountain biking in IMBCS events is open to everyone. We will show that in our Spotlight series and encourage you to sign up for a race and give IMBCS a try.

Today’s Spotlight feature is another relatively newcomer to IMBCS, Lee Buell. Lee has been enjoying some growth in her cycling and the success that comes with that in the races the last year or two. She and I are the same age, so I’m anxious to hear what a fellow 53 year old says. Let’s get to the interview so you can meet our second Spotlight.

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Name: Lee Buell

Current Home: Des Moines, Iowa

Age: 53 race age

Employer: Selective Insurance

Racing Category for 2015: CAT II, but also doing marathon races to prep for Chequamegon 100

Race Bike(s): Jamis Dakota Pro 29er and a recently built (Ed Veak built it) Soma Singlespeed 650B/27.5

Bike Team: VeloRosa  Pink Gals Rock!

BB: What’s your favorite idea of a great mountain bike ride here in Iowa?

Lee: An early afternoon spin through Center Trails or Sycamore Trails.  There usually is no one out there and I can just let it flow and take in nature. Next would be any ride on dirt with friends!

BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?

Lee: This is my third year on dirt as I started racing in the 2013 season.

BB: What kind of race results and series results for the IMBCS did you have in prior seasons?

Lee: My first year I came on strong about mid-season and won the Cat III for the year end IMBCS Points Award. Last year I moved up to Cat II and again won the IMBCS Points Award. I also made the podium for my age division at Chequamegon 40 in my second time at that race. The icing on the cake was finishing the Dakota Five-0.

BB: What are your goals for this year with regard to your mountain bike racing?

Lee: I am racing in the Chequamegon 100 with fellow teammate Kari Anderson. My goal is to finish this. Not only from a fitness standpoint, but from being able to solve any bike related problems that may arise. I plan to race the IMBCS and the Nebraska Pyscowpath Series again this year. On the long-distance front, I completed my first CIRREM (yes, on my Jamis), and will do the Almanzo, the Dakota Five-0, the Chequagemon 40, and the Cuyuna 5-0.  If I have anything left, I may take a shot at Jingle Cross.

BB: What has been your favorite race venue to date in the IMBCS?

Lee: Probably Sunderbruch Park (FORC Side Thrill Ride) because it was technically out of my comfort zone, and skill set each of the last two years. The first year I raced there, the awards were given out by age groups and over half way through the awards presentation, the race director asked who won the Cat III race and how old I was. I was the oldest in the race and the winner! So it will always be my favorite race!

BB: Lee, in preparing for the 2015 racing season, how many hours a week do you train? (Minimum, Maximum, Average)

Lee: I average 15-18 hours on the bike; 2 hours on weights and 1.5 on core/stability. I do a build and taper type of routine.

BB: Have you ever had something happen during a race that prevented you from finishing?

Lee: No. I have managed to pick myself up and keep going. Which does not mean that I have not wanted to quit!

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BB: Do you use a coach?

Lee: Yes. Julie Kirkpatrick with Zoom Performance. I went from being an average road racer while on my own to a confident, well-trained competitor since I started to work with Julie.

BB: Do you strength train as part of your training?

Lee: Yes. I do Body Pump for full body strengthening and then do core and IT exercises.

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BB: What do you like about the Iowa cycling community in terms of mountain bike racing?

Lee: The friendship and support. It does not matter what town you are from or what team colors you wear, everyone is supportive. Also the guys and gals all interact and hang out. I did not see much of that in road racing. There is always someone willing to ride with you and more than willing to help you with technique or teach you to wrench your bike. I feel that I am part of a larger group of folks that love to ride dirt!

BB: What would you say as words of encouragement to folks out there who are trying to make the decision to race a mountain bike in Iowa or not?

Lee: Go out and try it. My first times out were less than stellar. Try a race. I have gotten shot out the back on numerous races but kept pedaling. The more you do it, the better you get. It is hard to explain, but practice really does make you better. It is not always just fitness, but technique is equally as important.

BB: Excellent, Lee! Your story is very inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing your story with the IMBCS community, and all the best for your 2015 season.

There you have it, folks. It’s never too late to get started racing mountain bikes, whether you are in your 40’s, 50’s, or more!!! Next time you see Lee out on the trail or at an event, give her a shout out and introduce yourself. Lee is just one of the many racers enjoying the IMBCS.

I recommended in our first Spotlight last week that if you have the chance or opportunity to carpool to an IMBCS race with somebody in your area – be it a full carload of racers or just you and another racer – do it! It’s a great chance to meet somebody, swap stories, build friendships, and save on transportation costs. You get the routine. Split the gas money. Share the driving. Keep the driver awake post race. Visit. Learn. Post up your carpool request on the Facebook IMBCS Group page. If you see another request posted and have room in your car/SUV/truck/mini-van/18 wheeler/RV – follow up with a post or PM to the person and dive in to meet them. You won’t be sorry.

Photographs courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Illiniwek Abermination kicks off Season 13 of IMBCS!

Just two weekends away until the kickoff of our 13th Annual Season!!

Who is getting excited to race on dirt?

First up on the race schedule for Sunday, April 19th, 2015 is what one must call an excellent venue. IMBCS #1 – Illiniwek Abermination. This event was new to the IMBCS last season and is located just across the Mississippi River in Hampton, IL. This is a beautiful trail system with excellent flow built into the Mississippi River Bluffs on the Illiniwek Forest Preserve. Many who raced there last year came away with a nice “Wow!” factor and smiles on their faces since most had never had the chance to ride on those trails before. Berms, switchbacks, twists and turns, and did I mention incredible flow? I was giddy, and begged Michael to be a part of the series again this year.

Beautiful smiles photographed courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

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Race Director Michael Vittetoe is once again at the helm of this FORC supported event. The race is a dual state series race that counts both for the IMBCS here in Iowa as well as the Illinois Homegrown Race Series in Illinois.

Starting line crowd photo courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

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The race is a USA Cycling Sanctioned event, so Iowa racers will need an annual license for CAT I, and a daily (or annual) for the other CATs. I wanted to post up today to give folks a chance to take care of that via registration for the event here. Pre-registering saves you $5 compared to registering on the day of the race. Pre-registration will close Friday afternoon, April 17th at 4 pm.

All additional information about the race, starting times, directions, maps, camping, etc…can be found directly here. The start/finish line area has a wonderful festival atmosphere with beautiful views of the Mighty Mississippi, the River Bluffs, and a great view of Iowa on the other side of the river. Tents will be set up, food vendors, and a nice party atmosphere will ensue. Camping is available just across the road (as is parking). Make it a family event. Car pool with another racer or two. Bring a friend to race. Dust off those Winter blues and enjoy the Spring. It’s time to race!

CAT I’s duking it out photo courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

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It’s a great way to start our 13th Annual IMBCS Season!

All photographs courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

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