IMBCS Race Director Spotlight: Michael Vittetoe

We’ve got an exciting IMBCS scheduled race coming next weekend on Sunday, July 12th at Sunderbruch Park in Davenport!

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You want images of the park and trails? Check it out! You want images of the race from last year? Check it out! And here as well.

Three IMBCS events are already in the bag for the 2015 season, and next weekend promises to be a THRILLING weekend of racing!!! Check out footage of racing the FORC Side Thrill Ride at Sunderbruch Park from last year by our very own IMBCS Points Coordinator and Advisory Board Member Mr. Rob Cook…

Yes, it is time to load up the cars/SUVs/vans/18 wheelers and drive to Davenport in the Quad Cities to get your thrill on and feed your dirt fix. Sweet Iowa Singletrack! Wooden berms! Wooden Bridges! A Party Deck! Groomed and ready to race trails! Food Vendor! Unique Custom Award Medals! Cash Payouts for CAT I Men and Women! Series leader call ups at the starting line!

Who could resist?

Bring a friend. Bring a spouse. Bring a kid. Bring a colleague. Pre-Riding will be available on Saturday with the course being run in a counter-clockwise direction just like last year. Course maps for the Junior/CAT III and the CAT I/COMP/CAT II race courses are available here.

CAT III and Juniors launch at 9 am

CAT II Sport fires up at 10:45 am

CAT I and COMP blasts off at 1 pm

Pre-register here to save $5. This is one of our USA Cycling sanctioned events, so a license is required (day license or annual for everyone below CAT I Level – an annual is required for all CAT I’s).

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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 third Spotlight featuring one of our race directors for the 2015 IMBCS season, Michael Vittetoe. 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.

Michael was also the race director for our first race of the IMBCS season at the Illiniwek Abermination. He has done an excellent job the past two years directing the FORC races on the IMBCS schedule. I have already begun discussion with him about a possible additional venue for the 2016 season as plans are already underway for the IMBCS future believe it or not. In addition, Michael was a great contributor to the discussion and consultation between IMBCS Advisory Board Members and Race Directors to move IBMCS forward with gender equal cash payouts for our CAT I racers. I can’t thank him enough for his contributions to the discussions.

Let’s get to the interview so you can meet Michael and hear some of his thoughts on directing a race. Here he is with his lovely assistant…

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Name: Michael Vittetoe

Current Home: Washington, IA

Age: 28

Employer: Corn/Soybean Farmer. Formerly Civil Engineer.

Racing Category for 2015: Sport

Race Bike(s): Giant Anthem 29

Bike Team: none

Trail Organization Associated with Race: Quad Cities Friends of Off Road Cyclists (FORC), Sunderbruch Park.

 

BB: When is your upcoming race?

Michael: Sunday, July 12

 

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

Michael: Wooded singletrack galore. The course will consist nearly entirely of flowing singletrack with a wide variety of trail features to challenge riders of all skill levels. Most notably, the Jubilee Trail and its wood berms are always a hot spot.

 

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

Michael: The Sunderbruch race will be my 4th IMBCS event.

 

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

Michael: I started going to the monthly FORC meetings and helping with trail maintenance. The club was looking for a new RD to replace Brian Kingsbury and Ryan Neipert, who did an excellent job, and I was looking to get more involved. I participated in a bunch of races that year (2013) so I had a pretty good feel for the race scene in Iowa/Illinois and we figured it was a good fit.

 

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

Michael: The Sunderbruch race is a relatively easy one to get ready for. The trails and facilities are great so it is simply a matter of getting things trimmed up and the weather to cooperate, which is easier said then done.

 

BB: Who are your volunteers and trail crew?

Michael: The whole FORC club pitches in big time to make sure everything is top notch. Len and Amber Guldenpfennig (Guldy) organize the course marshals and mountain bike patrol, which is no easy task but they do a great job. Mandy Griesenbeck and Vonda Johnston head up the registration table and keep things running smoothly amongst the pre-race chaos. Our trail crews spend countless hours making sure the course itself is in great shape, Aaron Mielke and Drew Hansen are the club Trail Stewards for Sunderbruch and Illiniwek, respectively. I could keep going with dozens more, but in the interest of time (and attention spans) I’ll leave it at that.

 

BB: Why hold an organized race on your trails?

Michael: FORC hosts races for a number of reasons. The first being that it is just a darn good time to get everyone together to go fast in the woods. Second, to promote the club and trails to users that otherwise might not know they existed. And third, the club uses the races to generate funds for trail projects such as the new wood berms at Illiniwek and other expenses involved with maintaining 25 miles of trail.

 

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?

Michael: Yes, it is very satisfying at the end of the day. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the racers and hearing how much fun they had makes all of the hours spent planning and working worth it.

 

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?

Michael: If you are looking to test your technical skills along with your fitness, this is the race for you. The course is modified for the Juniors and Novice racers to save the most challenging sections for the more experienced categories.

 

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

Michael: Trail projects, see answer to previous question. (….the club uses the races to generate funds for trail projects such as the new wood berms at Illiniwek and other expenses involved with maintaining 25 miles of trail.)

 

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

Michael: Unfortunately, I have plenty of practice with weather issues as we have had rainout scares at all 3 races I have previously directed. We will be updating the FORC website (qcforc.org) as well as posting on a plethora of Facebook pages/groups, IMBCS page included.

 

BB: Thanks Michael. Not only for the interview, but for all you do for the Iowa bicycling community. I know I share with others a great appreciation and happily extend our thanks for your hard work.

 

There you have it folks! Introduce yourself and make sure you thank Michael for all he does when you see him at the upcoming FORC Side Thrill Ride next Sunday, July 12th at Sunderbruch Park. Thank the FORC crew and volunteers as well. Without all of them – IMBCS and racing in Iowa does not exist.

This is your Iowa Series born and bred. Let’s support efforts like FORC and race our own events to help them raise money to maintain and add features to their trails so we can all enjoy them for many years to come. In addition, consider joining your own local trail organization and volunteering some hours to do trail work and make Iowa a better place for all mountain bikers and trail users.

Photos provided courtesy of Eric Roccasecca and Mrs. Vittetoe