IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Andre Rethman

This weekend brings up the FORC Side Thrill Ride at Sunderbruch Park in Davenport, Iowa! That means it’s time for a new racer Spotlight for all to read.

In case you’ve missed any of our previous racer 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 our CAT II racers, Andre Rethman. I’ve personally raced against Andre for the past few years both here in Iowa as well at races in Nebraska. We’ve battled each other wheel to wheel many times after he moved up from CAT III to CAT II racing, and shared many post race stories with each other. I recently had the pleasure of car pooling with him to a race in Nebraska earlier this season. Those new to the sport or racing might not know, but the bread and butter of US amateur mountain bike racing is made up of Category II racers. They represent the majority of entry fees at events in Iowa, our neighboring state series, as well as the entire nation. Let’s get to the interview so we can get Andre’s perspective.

Name: Andre Rethman

Current Home: West Des Moines

Age: Race Age 55

Employer: Principal Financial Group

Racing Category for 2015: CAT II

Race Bike(s): Originally it was a Gary Fisher Paragon, but due to some warranty replacements it is now a Trek Superfly AL

Bike Team: Rasmussen’s

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

Andre: Location would not be as important to me as spending a full day with a good group of friends riding a variety of trails.

BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?

Andre: My first race, and for many years only race, was the Short & Fat race at the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. In 2012 I decided that to improve my MTB skills further, I needed a coach and to do more racing. It only took 1 weekend of racing in Omaha to be hooked. That’s when I really started racing.

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

Andre: My first year, as a CAT III, I generally finished top 3 in my age group, and though I only raced the minimum to qualify for the series, finished 3rd for the series. As a CAT II racer I have had my fair share of podium finishes.

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

Andre: This is going to be some what of an off year for me. I’m cutting back a little and changing my training to spend more quality time with my family.

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

Andre: Although I haven’t done well there, Sunderbruch in Davenport is my favorite venue. It is just such a fun course.

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

Andre: This year I am training a lot less than in past years. I’m managing between 6 and 10 hours per week on the bike (mostly on the weekends ). I’m also doing 3 to 6 hours per week training in martial arts.

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

Andre: At the Chequamegon Short & Fat in 2012, I was hit from behind while trying to avoid a big crash in front of me. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, and was otherwise having the race of my life. About 4 miles from the finish, my rear tire went flat, and I couldn’t get it to hold air. The rim had been damaged when I had been hit from behind. It  had just taken that long for the tire seal to break.

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BB: Do you use a coach?

Andre: Up until this year I have trained under Julie Kirkpatrick with Zoom Performance, but wasn’t able to continue with her this year.

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

Andre: I’m a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and 2nd degree in a mixed martial arts discipline called Integrated Defense Tactics. So yes, a lot of strength training is involved.

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

Andre: It’s all about the race community! Most everyone is supportive of each other. I know that no matter how tight the competition or how fierce it gets during the race, afterwards we all are still family.

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?

Andre: Go to a race and try it! You have nothing to lose. It’s the people that will make you want to come back.

BB: Thanks for the interview. Andre!

There you have it, folks. Another interview from one of our IMBCS racers giving you insight on how, what, and why mixed with his thoughts about racing a mountain bike. Next time you see Andre at a race or a friendly group ride, introduce yourself and get to know him.

The FORC Side Thrill Ride is on tap for this coming weekend. Come and get some!!!