IMBCS Racer Spotlight: David Roll

We continue with our feature series of Spotlights here at 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. 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 features one of our CAT II racers, David Roll. He is in his second year of racing in the CAT II Sport Division after his initial season in CAT III back in 2013. Many of us are members of his Facebook ‘Mid West Velo Swap’ Group as we buy and sell new and used bikes and bike parts. Truth be told, my wife would love to have me post up about 1/2 of our garage on David’s Facebook Group in hopes of having more room to park her car. David’s interview is timely to be posted today as he, like many that have been interviewed before him, loves the Sugar Bottom race that we will all get to experience tomorrow. I enjoyed my pre-ride lap at the George Wyth MTB Race last weekend as David rode behind me and gave me tips on some of the sections of what to watch out for and how to handle the course in his opinion. Cracking a beer after the George Wyth MTB Race and chatting with this gregarious guy after the race was a nice time.

Let’s meet Mr. David Roll and hear his perspective on racing mountain bikes in Iowa.


David negotiating the Hin und Zurück TT at Center Trails

Current Home:  Waterloo, IA

Age: 37

Employer: John Deere & Co

Racing Category for 2015: CAT II Sport

Race Bike(s): Salsa Spearfish RS-1

Bike Team:  Rasmussen Mountain Bike Racing


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

David: Well it has been awhile, but the Maney’s and I use to go hit up Sugar Bottom on Sunday and then run over to Red’s Ale house for something to eat and tip a few pints. Sometimes we would have Jamie Parkin and Scott Shelman ride with us. We even rode with Kevin Betters there once. I guess, riding someplace with other people from IMBCS in a non-race forum.

BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?

David: 2013 was my first full year, and I liked it, so I kept pedaling.

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

David: Mid-Pack, I do well in the overall points because I show up to the races. I am not great, just consistent.


Another race in the bag!

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

David: I would like to race the remainder of my races crash free, and podium one more time. Pretty bad when everyone’s first question after the race is, how many times did you crash today 😉

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

David: Ida Grove. I really like how that place flowed and had great climbs and a super long descent. Also I liked how it was a joint venture with Psycowpath. I like being in a bigger field, I have more people to pace myself with and meet. On a yearly occurrence, Sugar Bottom is the race to make. ICORR puts on such a good event, they are meticulous about their course, and the field is huge.


David in the woods at the George Wyth MTB Race

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

David: Well I am not referred to CPT Strava for nothing. I like aiming for 10hrs a week, no less than 6hrs, and the max is capped around 14hrs. I have slacked off a little this year, pursuing my MBA, so I am not consistent.

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

David: Not in the IMBCS races. I did have a severe mechanical at Land Run 100 this year. Fortunately, it was at mile 9.8  right before the red clay peanut butter started. One thing Mike Maney has beaten into my head is constantly stay on top of your maintenance. I do more of my own this year and I am having less issues.

BB: Do you use a coach?

David: No, but I am planning on using one over the winter. I know what to do, I just need someone to hold me accountable. The plan is to train up for something big in April that happens near the end of the month in Grinnell.

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

David: No, but I was doing Yoga fairly consistent till RAGBRAI.

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

David: Rasmussen’s. I really do. Even as a CAT III racer TJ Fort and Kevin Betters helped me along asking me how I was doing, giving me pointers and such. The Iowa scene is really what I have come across nationally – mountain bikers are good people. We are all weird in some manner, but we love to talk and ride bikes.  And when you go to events like Fat Bike Birkie or Cheq 100, the Iowans are always together laughing. You’d be hard pressed to find a bad apple in our lot.


David lined up at the Fat Bike Birkie

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?

David: Go to your local singletrack, find the club that maintains it. If they have social or other weekly rides do those. Compare yourself to other people, and race once a month. CAT III exists for a reason, there is no shame in racing all year, I did.  Racing gets the passion flowing, and without the passion it is hard to get the motivation to ride for some people.

BB: Thank you for the interview, David. We like passion! All the best for the rest of your IBMCS season.

I suggest introducing yourself to David the next time you see him at a one of our races. You’ll get to know him quickly and enjoy the visit. That being said…

Sugar Bottom Scramble tomorrow, August 23rd. Details are here. Come on out and join the fun!

Most photographs courtesy of Eric Roccasecca