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Meet the Instructor Trainers

Shaums March

ICP Lead Instructor Trainer & 2X MTB World Champ

Shaums March is a the three-time World Team member, two-time Masters World Champion and was the first African American to win a NORBA National race and to be chosen to attend the Mountain Bike World Championships. He is also considered by many to be one of the best coaches the sport of mountain biking has ever seen and an all-around nice guy.

With a personality that is as solid as his skills, March has elicited superlatives such as: “One of the most gifted riders in the game,” “Always the most popular racer on the course,” and “One of the greatest assets to mountain biking.”

Born in Alaska and raised in California, March started competing in BMX races at the age of 12, but he found his true calling when he switched to mountain biking in 1994. In 1996, he was crowned California State Champion and, in 1998, finished fourth in the X-Games Downhill event. That year, he also won the NORBA downhill event in Breckenridge, Colo, which he considers the most emotional victory of his career. March was the fastest North American at the 2003 World Downhill Championships, and finished second overall in the 2004 BC (British Columbia) Cup series. His versatile skills and passion for his sport also led him to compete at Red Bull Rampage and Red Bull Bike Battle.

In 1998, March founded Mad March Racing (MMR), which is dedicated to improving race results. Over the past 15 years, MMR riders have won numerous national titles including two-time U.S. National Champion Duncan Riffle.

In 2009, March acquired the rights to the Canadian Mountain Bike Instructor Certification program and expanded the course offerings under the International Mountain Bike Instructor Certification (IMIC). In 2013, IMBA purchased the rights to the IMIC and brought March on as the program’s Lead Instructor Trainer.

Gale Dahlager

Gale Dahlager has been involved with mountain biking for more than 20 years. She raced downhill and dual slalom/mountain cross at the professional level for nine years, culminating in two years on the U.S. national team in 2003 and 2004. She continued riding competitively in the budding dirt jump/slopestyle scene, and continues to be both a competitor and coach at many women’s events.

Dahlager began coaching during her race career 15 years ago. Beginning with women’s clinics, she went on to coach budding professionals with Mad March Racing (run by Shaums March). Dahlager worked with the International Mountain Bike Instructor Certification (IMIC) program from its inception and became an IMIC Master Coach, certifying others to teach mountain biking before joining IMBA as an ICP Instructor Trainer.

Jon Casson

Casson’s love for bikes started around age 12 when he and his friends started launching Huffy bikes off of dirt mounds. His first "real" bike was a Trek 850 Antelope, affectionately called the “Cantelope” due to creative graffiti by one of his prankster friends.

Casson has been a bike floor supervisor and department manager for REI. In 1997, he moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., to pursue a career as a professional snowboard coach with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. From 2005 to 2013, Casson was the director of the club’s snowboard program, which is consistently recognized as one of the best in the nation. During his tenure, dozens of riders from the program were named to their respective national snowboard teams, including seven current members of the U.S. Snowboard Team.

Casson helped found the U.S. Snowboard Coach Education Program. As chairman of the Coach Education Committee, Casson was one of the principal players in developing the snowboard coach clinic and certification system in the U.S. He is very excited to switch gears and bring his years of experience as a coach, clinician and educator in snowboarding back to mountain biking as an IMBA ICP Instructor Trainer.

Kat Sweet

There’s nothing quite like the rush of sticking a new jump for the first time, or of cleaning a gnarly section of trail that’s been challenging you, and no one knows that better than Kat Sweet. A former professional downhill mountain bike racer and X-Games ski competitor, Sweet has a passion for introducing this exhilarating experience to everyone. A certified ICP coach and creator of the mountain bike program, Sweetlines, she recognizes the importance of using camaraderie to build courage in her programs and push riders to the next level.

Sweet’s coaching has taken her all over the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. She is the youth program manager at Cascade Bicycle Club where she runs kids programs including summer camps and bike safety programs, and manages Trips for Kids Seattle, which takes inner city youth mountain biking.

Sweet produces events that mesh coaching with competition—such as the Sugar Showdown—and spends countless hours building and restoring mountain bike trails. She produced and starred in the movie “If She Can Do It,” was a guest rider in the movie Pedal Driven, and has been featured in numerous articles in Bike magazine, Decline, Freehub, Wide Open Mag UK, ESPN Brazil, Momentum, NW Cyclist and Dirt Rag.

If you ever want to improve your dirt shredding skills or simply have fun riding trails, Sweet will gladly show you the way. Want to learn more? Check her out on Facebook or at Sweetlines.

Jake Carsten

Jake Carsten is an avid mountain biker, professional trail builder, and mountain biking skills coach, currently based in Austin, TX. He has had the privilege of riding singletrack, bike parks, and downhill resorts all over North America, and recently South America, as well as meeting bike clubs and mountain bikers all over the U.S. As a member of the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew, he spent a year traveling all over the country teaching mountain bikers, land managers, and policy makers about sustainable trail building, bike handling skills, effective advocacy, and health and economic benefits of natural surface trails and mountain biking. This also gave him the wonderful opportunity to train under and work with some of the top professional trail builders in the world.

Carsten also has a history of BMX racing and freestyle from his teenage years, competing on both the German bmx racing circuit and in the American Freestyle Association (AFA). Jake continues to keep this passion alive through dirt jumping and pump track riding.

Carsten became certified as a Level 2 Instructor in 2011, having had the amazing experience of training under the great Shaums March. He continues to strive for growth as both a rider and instructor, constantly seeking out opportunities to learn from others in the field. Carsten feels that the pursuit of mastery in an endeavor is a life long process.

Jason Liebrecht

Liebrecht has been on two wheels for as long as he can remember, starting with BMX bikes. As one of the first IMBA Level II Certified Instructors, he uses his years of experience to provide our students a good foundation to start from, or to further improve experienced riders existing skills.

When Liebrecht isn’t on his mountain bike, he’s on his motorcycles. He has placed third with his team in the Baja 500 and has ridden a BMW 1150GS to the Arctic Circle from San Diego, and back. He also advocates for bicycling in San Diego with the San Diego Mountain Biking Association.

Liebrecht’s perspective is: "The more people I teach how to ride well, the more people I have to ride with! If people ride safely and confidently, everyone has a good time."

Dr. Rae Gandolf

Dr. Gandolf, mountain bike monomaniac and veterinarian, has been increasingly consumed by bicycles for 15 years. Having started out with cross-country and endurance racing, she found her true obsession in downhill riding. With several regional pro DH titles under her belt, she placed second overall in the 2014 U.S. national series, raced at the North American world cups, and climbed to the top of the USA Cycling overall rankings. She attributes her success in part to taking an IMIC clinic in 2006 and receiving regular coaching from Shaums March.

Gandolf has also been an advocate by leading her regional bike club in Ohio (AOA, an IMBA chapter), doing volunteer trail building and directing fundraising events like endurance rides and enduro competitions. She began coaching with IMIC certification in 2010 via both one-on-one lessons and large-scale clinics. When she's not on a bike, you are likely to find Gandolf doctoring about every type of critter you can imagine.

ICP_IT_Holme

Mike Holme

Since the training wheels came off on a farm in rural Minnesota in 1974, Mike Holme has been in love with two wheels. He began his bike industry career at age 11 in a Minneapolis bike shop fixing flats and learning everything he could about bikes. He loved the challenges of Freestyle BMX, and was influenced by Greg LeMond as a teen to pursue road racing. Realizing the benefits of fitness and skill combined with dreams of dirt, Mike travelled to Crested Butte and Moab for the first time in 1989.   

Mike began to guide trips in the 1990s. By 2004, Mike was operating his own tour company, Magpie Cycling, and has since purchased another tour company in Moab called SOLFUN. These are the premier MTB service providers in Moab, having the first entirely IMBA ICP certified staff in the world!

Currently, Mike enjoys the new Enduro racing format, helping build and maintain Moab's new trails, and continuing to develop his own riding and teaching skills while sharing his knowledge with as many riders as possible. Mike has a passion for learning and teaching and is proud to be an IMBA ICP Level 3 instructor.

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