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 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 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 if 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 first Spotlight featuring one of the 2015 IMBCS Race Directors, Noel Kehrt. 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 never easy. 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 ever want to know who the race director is when you get to one of our events, just look for the person with heavy bags under their eyes on race day. That will be the race director.
Let’s get to the interview so you can meet Noel and hear some of his thoughts on directing a race.
Name: Noel Kehrt
Current Home: Marion IA
Employer: Frontier Coop, Distribution Manager
Racing Category for 2015: I personally don’t care for XC racing
Race Bike(s): Anything that is not carbon, titanium, aluminum, or bamboo
Bike Team: None
Trail Organization Associated with Race: LAMBA
BB: When is your upcoming race?
Noel: May 3rd, 2015
BB: What can we expect for the type of trail features a racer will encounter on the race course?
Noel: Beverly is a relatively small trail system that packs a lot of punch. It flows well. There are really no flat straightaways. It’s going to be harder to pass than most trails. We’re routing the race on some new trails as well. These trails have been part of our master trails plan and our volunteers have been absolutely working their tails off to get them finished before the race. It’s really going to add to our trail system, but should also make for a great race. This race will definitely favor the singletrack rider that can carry speed through corners.
BB: How many times have you served as a race director for an IMBCS event?
Noel: This is my first shot at this.
BB: How did you become the race director for this event?
Noel: This race was on the calendar a few years ago and a lot of racers loved it. It just so happens that the main populous of our volunteer group are not racers. It took a lot of volunteer time at that time to put into the race that in turn took away from what we felt were higher priorities. Also, nobody wanted to honcho it so it just sort of fell through the cracks. I have a lot of friends that race that I’ve met and kept in touch with over the years. A couple of them have nudged me along the way and I finally caved. One of those guys is Aaron Robnett. He saved my life a couple of years ago, so I figure I owe him something for that. I’ll let him tell you the story.
Editor’s Note: We would love to hear Aaron tell that story!!
BB: What are some of the challenges you faced in getting this event ready?
Noel: Just like everyone else, I’m a pretty busy guy. I’m a father of two young kids. I have a pretty demanding job. Our past club president became employed by IMBA after I had already agreed to be the director of this event, so I’ve taken on the role of LAMBA president as well. I do some other volunteering in addition to LAMBA. I also have some resemblance of a social life and I like to ride once in a while. That has been the biggest challenge. Just trying to fit everything in. Outside of that, figuring out what to do with registration, timing, and insurance was a challenge, but people in our club have really stepped up.
BB: Who are your volunteers and trail crew?
Noel: So many volunteers have helped out already. Steve Sansenbach, Ken Barker, Eric Fisher, Paul Viera, Rob Johnson are the ones that come to mind first, but there are a lot more especially on the trail work side. We all owe them a beer. I hope everyone at the race gets to meet Rob and Diane Johnson. They’re humble people, but they’re truly the matriarch and patriarch of LAMBA. They don’t toot their own horn, so I like to do it for them.
BB: Why hold an organized race on your trails?
Noel: Basically, because people whose opinion we value want it. We just decided to give it a whirl and see how it goes. We hope to raise some funds for trail expansion, but who knows how it will end up.
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?
Noel: Not really. XC Racers make up a very small percentage of the cycling community. I give a lot to the cycling community already but as far as this race goes, that remains to be seen. At the end of it all, if everyone has a good time, I’ll be satisfied. It’s going to be a tight course. I fear that people will not treat other riders / racers with respect. I don’t want to hear about anybody yelling at anyone or anyone blocking out on the course. I want people to be respectful of the volunteers that are giving up their time for this as well. We’re looking for a laid back atmosphere where people encourage others and hang out after the race. I’m really looking forward to the kids and juniors races. If there were one area where I wish we would have gone over the top on, it’s that.
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?
Noel: To the newbies: Lining up for your first XC race can be daunting. Lots of people on fancy bikes who look pretty serious. Don’t let them intimidate you. 99.9% of those people are nice hard working fun loving people just like you. They just have a silly outfit on today. Besides, I’m putting this event on for you. That’s always been LAMBA’s vibe, right or wrong. We’re all about the new riders and the kids. We like to encourage new people to ride our trails and just generally have a good time in the woods.
We always say that when it comes to smiles per mile, Beverly is a great trail system. We have a great trail crew that continues to improve the trail all the time. We have a pretty cool group of people that like to have fun and make it all happen.
BB: If any money is being raised through this event, what does it go towards?
Noel: Profit is always nice. And if there is any, we’ll put it towards trail expansion. We have several projects in the works and one of them is a big one.
BB: In the event of weather looking suspect this weekend, where should racers turn for the most up to date announcements?
There you have it, folks! Insight into the 2015 Beverly Park Fat Tire Frenzy from the perspective of debut Race Director, Noel Kehrt and his LAMBA crew. Let’s get out and support this event, help them raise money for their organization and their big plans in the future.
I will mention that we all had a blast racing at the July 1st, 2012 Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy and are excited to see it come back on the schedule for this year. It was 97 degrees at race time and stifling back in 2012 on race day (was the hottest week in Iowa in 23 years at the time!!!), so the May 3rd temperatures this year should be a welcome relief for the running of the 2015 Beverly Park Fat Tire Frenzy. Make sure to thank Noel and his entire volunteer crew next weekend while we are all there enjoying the race. They have gone out of their way and deserve our praise.
Pictures are courtesy of Angy Snoop from the 2012 version of the Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy