Our first Race Director Spotlight Interview for 2016 is with Mr. Jason Dal. Jason is our Race Director for Saturday’s Summerset Shootout at Summerset State Park between Indianola and Des Moines. He took over the reigns of this event and has been working hard lining up sponsors, and getting the event planned. As part of that process, he attended the Race Director’s Summit held by IBRA at the Iowa Bike Expo in January, and attended the USA Cycling Official’s Training in April.
It is interesting to note that two racers interviewed in our Spotlight Series last season and this season indicated Summerset Trails are their favorite race course. Many of us that live in Central Iowa have great respect for these trails, so the race this weekend is a perfect opportunity for those not from Central Iowa to drive on over and see what it is everyone likes about these trails. The Cat 3 course will not face all of the more challenging portions of the course, but everyone else will. Not to worry, there will be plenty for every category to enjoy on this very unique trail system. The course is groomed and ready. The DNR trimmed the park today so everything is picnic, race, and punch ready…!
Jason organized a final trail grooming day on Thursday, June 2nd to whip the course into race shape for Saturday. While in the process of loading up one of the mowers in the CITA trailer, he unfortunately “took one for the team” when he accidentally touched part of the hot engine while strapping the mower down to the floor of the trailer. If you see him on Saturday, he’ll be the one with the bandages on his fingers.
Let’s meet Jason and hear what he has to say about getting this race ready for IMBCS and Iowa racers…
Name: Jason Dal
Current Home: Johnston, IA
Employer: Wells Fargo
Racing Category for 2015: Comp Cat 2
Race Bike(s): Specialized Stumpjumper
Bike Team: Rasmussen Bike Shop
Trail Organization Associated with Race: CITA
BB: When is your upcoming race?
Jason: Saturday, June 4, and rain date is Sunday, June 5.
BB: What can we expect for the type of trail features a racer will encounter on the race course?
Jason: Banner State Park was home to one of Iowa’s largest strip mines back in the 1930’s. CITA has created a unique trail system for Iowa that closely resembles something you might see out West. The areas around the old strip mine are rolling and flowy with some punchy climbs, and the riverside section is fast and flat. One of my favorite trails in the state!
BB: How many times have you served as a race director for an IMBCS event?
Jason: This is my first year as director. I assisted Rick Blackford for the past four years.
BB: How did you become the race director for this event?
Jason: It is just an opportunity to step up for our race team and give back to our cycling community.
BB: What are some of the challenges you faced in getting this event ready?
Jason: It hasn’t been too bad at all. We try to keep this a simple grassroots race. This time of year there is accelerated growth so we’ve had to put extra focus on keeping the trail in pristine condition.
BB: Who are your volunteers and trail crew?
Jason: Rasmussen Race Team and CITA.
BB: Why hold an organized race on your trails?
Jason: We had an opportunity to opt out this year, but the Banner trails are just too cool not to share. We believe it adds character to the IMBCS.
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?
Jason: Yes, that is exactly why I was willing to be race director. I enjoy giving back to our Iowa cycling community.
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?
Jason: Banner is a bit more technical than other courses, but that’s the challenge of mountain biking. Embrace it and maybe dial it back a notch. Have fun! It’s all about doing your best and enjoying time with like minded people.
BB: In the event of weather looking suspect this weekend, where should racers turn for the most up to date announcements?
Jason: If weather turns bad, we will post on the IMBCS.org site, the IMBCS Facebook group, and also send out and email through the IMBCS Yahoo Group.
Thank you Jason.
There you have it folks! Another cyclist giving back to the cycling community here in Iowa by directing one of our excellent and local favorite venues here in Central Iowa. Come on out this weekend and race your bikes. Not to worry – we will work around the weather, and get this race up and running as we have plenty of options to pull it off. And we will keep you posted with any course changes, altered start times, etc…