Meet Dan Kaste: Going the Distance at Work and on the Mountain Bike Race Circuit

Welcome to Jumpmind Reveal, a blog series showcasing some of the talented folks we have here at Jumpmind. In today’s second installment, we bring you a story about Dan Kaste, Jumpmind’s Director of Engineering. Dan has been working with Jumpmind over the past 7 years and was an early architect of the Jumpmind Commerce solution.

Dan enjoys challenges – be it in his work life or in the physical realm. This past year, he competed in a 100-mile mountain bike race, and in true overachiever fashion, he ended up overshooting the mark, completing a 113-mile course that involved a grueling 13,000 feet of climbing over 12.5 hours of racing.

Tell us about your relationship with Jumpmind?

I’ve been working with Jumpmind since 2016, originally first as a consultant. This assignment coincided with a physical move from Illinois to Columbus, Ohio – where Jumpmind is headquartered – right after our first son was born. I later joined Jumpmind as a full-time employee in April 2023.

How did you get into mountain bike racing?

Originally, we had a Peloton in our basement and I started using it to get rid of my “dad” weight. After a while, I learned there was going to be a 100-mile mountain bike race about an hour away from my home and I set my sights on competing in it. I was riding 12 to 13 hours a week and got into the best shape of my life. I joined a local racing team and learned so much from other bikers – some of whom had been racing for 20 years. I won my first race (CAT 2) by 15 minutes, which encouraged me to press forward with other races. I got a lot of satisfaction in training and competing for a 76-mile race, but it didn’t check off that 100-mile “bucket list” item.

What did your nutrition plan consist of for the 100-mile race?

You have to go with whatever your body needs to avoid “bonking” around mile 40, which can then make the rest of the race a “suffer fest.” When training, I experimented with different types of fuel – one bottle of water and two GU Energy gel packets every hour, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc., and what I found worked the best for me was a mixture of rice, coconut milk, blueberries and chocolate.

What did you learn through the process of preparing for this race?

I kind of geeked out on training tech. I bought a custom power meter which measures how much power you’ve putting out, and this was vital to understand my functional threshold. Over time, lactic acid – the result of oxidation – builds up in your muscles and fatigue will set in, decreasing your ability to sustain that power output. So the goal is to know how many output watts you can sustain without hitting this lactic acid threshold. And it’s a very fine line.

How do you balance your training and family demands?

My son will soon turn 7 years old and he’s been doing bike races with me since he was two years old. And even my wife has gotten into it. It’s been a great way to share my love of the sport with them and spend time as a family doing something active and outdoorsy.