IMBCS Race Director Spotlight: Derek Brewer

We’ve got am exciting IMBCS scheduled race for this weekend!

Free Saturday Night Camping at Seven Oaks. Thrills. Hills. Spills. New Berms. Electronic Chip Timing.  Food Truck. Local Sponsors. Sunny. 70 degrees forecast for race day. Hammer Nutrition Sponsored Marathon Race Category. Prizes. Equal Cash Payouts for top overall spots in CAT I Men and Women. New Race Director who has been working super hard since last Fall to get this event ready.

Talk about a recipe for a perfect weekend of racing!!!

Load up the cars/SUVs/vans/18 wheelers and drive the 49 miles from downtown Des Moines, 118 miles from downtown Cedar Rapids, 141 miles from Iowa City, 160 miles from Omaha, 200 miles from Quad Cities, 133 miles from Gravity, Iowa or wherever it is you park your mountain bike overnight!!! Boone is about as central in Iowa as it gets (30 miles to the west from the geographical center point of Iowa). Seven Oaks Recreation is one of Iowa’s ski areas, so there are indeed hills. Yes, tell all your relatives and friends that live in other states that we do actually have skiing and mountain biking in Iowa!

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 those 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.

IMBCS.org Spotlights continues to 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 whether 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 second Spotlight featuring another one of our new race directors for the 2015 IMBCS season, Derek Brewer. 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 not an easy task. 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 want to know who the race director is when you arrive at one of our events, just look for the person with heavy bags under their eyes on race day. That will be the race director.

I believe I first met Derek at The Mullet Fall Classic several years ago. When he told me last fall that he was willing to step up to give something back to the mountain biking community by taking over the reigns of one of the IMBCS premiere mountain biking venues – Seven Oaks – I think we we were all delighted with the news. Kyle Sedore and Ron DeGeest had been hosting the IMBCS event at Seven Oaks and doing trail maintenance for quite a few years. They announced at last year’s event it would be their final time hosting as they moved on with other things. The thought of losing the venue seemed hard to fathom since the race at Seven Oaks was a fixture in the IMBCS. Fortunately Derek Brewer and Adam Brooks have stepped up as the new combination for hosting a race and doing trail work at Seven Oaks.

Let’s get to the interview so you can meet Derek and hear some of his thoughts on directing a race.

 

Name: Derek Brewer

Current Home: Rural Boone

Age: 42

Employer: Self-employed in carpentry/ construction – DWBREWERWORKS

Racing Category for 2015: Sport -CAT 2

Race Bike(s): 2012 Specialized Rockhopper Comp

Bike Team: None

Trail Organization Associated with Race: None

 

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BB: When is your upcoming race?

Derek: Sunday May 31, 2015

 

BB: What can we expect for the type of trail features a racer will encounter on the race course?

Derek: I won’t try to hide the fact that it’s a bit hilly. Ok, it probably has the most climbing of the courses on the race series. But don’t let that scare anyone who’s never raced there. There is quite a variety that makes it so appealing and challenging in my opinion. There are rewards for the climbs with some awesome, fast and flowy sections; especially what I call the roller coaster, which now has a bermed corner at the end. There are technical switchbacks, many small and 2 large bridges, rock and log water crossings, even a close up view of a beaver dam. Some of the most difficult switchbacks and technical areas have been “softened up” a bit, hopefully to improve the flow and in some areas help the beginners. There are a couple of other new berms, and areas recently changed to try and improve drainage. Most of the course is singletrack, and passing can be challenging, however there are 2 open flat sections near the finish and across the top of the ski hill where passing is easy.

 

BB: How many times have you served as a race director for an IMBCS event?

Derek: This is my first, but I have had LOTS of help from the start. Thanks to Bruce, as well as Kyle Sedore, Katherine and Eric Roccasecca, Rob Cook, and others too.

 

BB: How did you become the race director for this event?

Derek: Kind of like the guy at the auction who bought a car when he was itching his forehead… Seriously though, when I heard that Kyle and Ron were stepping down after hosting this race for many years, (understandably), I thought it would be a shame for the series to lose this venue if no one stepped in.

 

BB: What are some of the challenges you faced in getting this event ready?

Derek: Knowing where to start and managing the to-do lists to keep things moving. Bruce was very helpful with his guide for race directors and Kyle with his experience and history at Seven Oaks. My work has been the busiest it’s ever been lately, and balancing kids activities and family time – that’s a big challenge. That’s a challenge for us all though, right? Contacting businesses and organizations to request sponsorship money was intimidating and new for me, but it worked out pretty well.

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BB: Who are your volunteers and trail crew?

Derek: Adam Brooks deserves most of the credit for trail work since he started doing it last summer. He has put in tons of time working the trails on his own. Katherine and Eric Roccasecca, Jeff Reminschneider, and Adam and I had a good work day last weekend. My hat’s off to their hard work!

 

BB: Why hold an organized race on your trails?

Derek: Because it’s a great place to race!! It’s close to Des Moines and being in the central part of Iowa I think it can attract a lot of people from all over. This course is definitely different from many other central Iowa trails so that is a draw, I hope. It has so much to offer for challenging yourself and improving your skills.

 

BB: When it is all said and done after the event is over, do you feel a great deal of satisfaction for giving back to the cycling community by hosting a race?

Derek: I hope that is the feeling. If people come out, get to compete, and socialize, and have a FUN experience, then that will be a success. I have been racing the IMBCS series since 2011 and admittedly have done very little to help out. I have enjoyed it so much, it was about time I gave something back. All the race directors, series directors, advisory board, trail and race day volunteers have given so much, so THANKS to them!

 

BB: We may have a lot of new racers in Iowa this year. Is there any advice you could provide to them to get them to come out this weekend and try your event?

Derek: Please give it a try, you might get hooked like I did. I remember being nervous at my first race, I didn’t know anyone, raced on my 15 year old chromoly 26” full rigid beauty, but had a blast. (I raced that bike for more than a year so don’t think you have to have a fancy bike to get going.) By the second or third race I was making friends, hanging out afterwards, and so glad I gave it a try. The people you meet are great; you can get advice on training, equipment, where to ride; you can develop friendly rivalries in your category with other racers you are at a similar level with. Everyone cheers each other on and we just have a lot of fun.

 

BB: If any money is being raised through this event, what does it go towards?

Derek: The sponsor money raised is going towards a few things, mainly to keep costs down and yet provide some extras, like electronic timing, a banner, prizes, awards and food.

 

BB: In the event of weather looking suspect this weekend, where should racers turn for the most up to date announcements?

Derek: The two best places to go for more information, especially weather issues will be the IMBCS website: www.imbcs.org and the IMBCS Facebook page.

Thanks Derek!!! Make sure you say hello to Derek on Sunday and introduce yourself.

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I can vouch for the reality that he has really gone out of his way to make this, his first event something special. Not to mention having to deal with a week of fighting the rain to get the trail into final shape for Sunday which is also including some work on recent trail damage today from another event that was recently held at Seven Oaks. We might need a few extra hands on Saturday for those coming up to camp to tweak a few final spots so it is in tip top shape for Sunday.

Let’s get out and support our new race director and one of our premiere mountain biking trail systems in Iowa for IMBCS #3 this Sunday at Seven Oaks Recreation Area in Boone, Iowa!

 

To Whet Your Seven Oaks IMBCS Racing Appetite…