Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Calling All Alumni Riders.....

There will be an informal group ride on the morning of the Men's Little Race:

Bill Armstrong Stadium - Little 500 track
Head out for a loop through Morgan-Monroe State Forest

So remember to bring your road bikes with you when you come to Bloomington this weekend. See you soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It burns you know.

It burns you know … after a long set.

I mean it’s really going to hurt … but that’s why we signed up for this race, right? I mean lets be serious – we train all year for one single race. So why would it be easy? Finally, the 61st Little 500 race is here and it looks like the weather won’t be in our favor either. Then again, nothing could be worse than last year … or did I just jinx that? My name is James Coudright and I'm the Captain of Delta Tau Delta Cycling. This post will be the last before the race and with it I hope to prepare you (in my own sweet way) for that time in your set when you will have to make a decision – a simple yes or no – that will decide whether you look back on this year’s race with pride or embarrassment.

They say that pain is temporary … but when you’re on the bike during your set and you aren’t feeling too shabby … pain can seem to last a very long time. However, there are a couple of things that can encourage you when you get to that place:

1.If you are in pain – so is everyone else. Know that everyone is hurting just like you are. So push through – the pace of the race will get fast but if you can hold on until it slows down you’ll be able to recover before the next surge.

2.Fear is your enemy – the minute you start to second guess yourself your heart rate will start to increase and when that happens it’s usually a domino effect that most always ends in even more pain. So relax both on and off the bike. Your breathing should be steady, upper body and jaw loose, and mind clear.

3.Don’t let your mind wander – emotions, the crowd, the pain – erase it all. Think about the present and current future: straight away – turn – straight away – turn – burnout – recovery.

4. Make your own luck – none is freely given. If you or your teammates get in a wreck, get a flat, botch an exchange, or mess something up … get back up, mentally and physically, shake off the mistake and GO. This race isn’t going to give you freebies, but it will reward your hard effort. In 2010, FIJI Cycling was a lap down before lap 100 … could you have guessed that they would come to place second after not giving up, but instead working hard to make back hat they lost? In 2009, Cutters wrecked and fell off the back of the field … could you have guessed that they would come to win? These examples mark only a small sample of rider’s decision to keep going, even when luck, odds, and most everything else is up against them.

5. Accept the pain and be a bit sadistic. If you want to start getting ready for this race I might watch this video over and over and over again. I know I have.

Rest up because soon we'll all be in pain.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Sacrifices Riders Make

Being a part of the Little 500 has been the most rewarding experience of my college career. The feeling every rider gets on race day is simply indescribable. Looking into the outrageous sea of colors that fill up Bill Armstrong stadium and hearing all the crazy fans cheering and screaming for their favorite team is an image a rider never forgets. As with anything important and worth doing in life, the Little 500 riders have sacrificed more than most people know to give Indiana University the World’s Greatest College Weekend.

First, I would like to start with the common misconception that most riders begin training second semester or a few months before the race begins. When people ask me if I started training again in the month of January I chuckle because they have no idea that I haven’t stopped training since my sophomore year (which was only three short years ago). For riders, cycling does not stop when the race does. Cycling is a year round commitment that becomes a lifestyle. For most of us, weekdays involve team rides up and down 446 or through the rolling hills of Bloomington with miles of scenic views of cornfields. Our weekends start at 9 am, sometimes earlier, to get our long rides in before the wind really picks up, or so we can at least enjoy some relaxation during our Saturday afternoons. I don’t remember what it feels like to sleep in and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have spent many nights doing loads of laundry, watching movies, and passing out before the clock strikes midnight while most of my friends are frolicking to Kilroy’s. I’m sure I am not the only rider who has sacrificed nights out with friends and bar crawling up Kirkwood. The lifestyle of a rider sometimes makes us feel like we are not a typical college student because, honestly, we are anything but typical. That’s what makes our sacrifices worth it.
On top of glorious team rides, track practice is a must for rookies and a smart idea for vets! Track practice is a timely commitment where riders spend up to 2 hours and 15 mins out on the cinders, Monday thru Friday, in rain, snow, and wind. Lap sets, exchange work, and pack riding are all essential when it comes to race day, so riders spend hours perfecting these skills and techniques. Not only are we sacrificing our time, but our bodies as well. Crashes, scraps, and cinders in open wounds are all a unique part of riding. If one tire merely brushes another or there is a slight tap of the brake, a pack of thirty people can go tumbling down. Trust me it happens. That usually ends with a night of brushing out cuts with a metal brush to clear out all the cinders.
Many people have been complaining about bad weather lately and everyone can’t wait for spring and sunshine. I think I can say, with confidence, that nobody wants nicer weather than riders! Spending hours everyday at the track in bad weather or blustering winds is not what most of us would call a great time. Also, crummy weather can bring out my two least favorite things: rollers and trainers. I love nothing more then attacking the outdoor roads and embracing a great day of riding on the pavement, so when bad weather forces me to ride inside I make sure to have an entertaining movie on hand.
All of these things are sacrifices. Sacrifices that we love making. I sacrifice my time and my body everyday because I love the Little 500. I love the cinders in my shoes, Saturday’s spent at the track, group rides on a Sunday morning, and ultimately the pride I have on race day. I may have sacrificed a few nights on the Sports dance floor and a Harry Bear here and there, but it is all worth it. I am in the best shape of my life, I have a team I can call my family, and I participated in the World’s Greatest College Weekend. I can say I did something extraordinary during my college career that has changed my life in more positive ways then I thought possible. I get on my train and make sacrifices because the Little 500 has made me a better person. To our supporters and fans, you give us the thrill and motivation to bring out our best for those 100 or 200 laps. Fellow riders, I tip my hat to you.  In the end, we make all these sacrifices for one EPIC day: THE Little 500.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quals Standings

Sigma Nu: 2:25.91
Cutters: 2:26.46
Sigma Chi: 2:26.71
Phi Delta Theta: 2:27.89
Delta Tau Delta: 2:28.03
Black Key Bulls: 2:29.09
Beta Theta Pi: 2:29.27
Air Force: 2:29.33
Cru: 2:29.40
LAMP: 2:31.16
Evan Scholars: 2:31.81
Grey Goat: 2:32.51
Delta Sigma Pi: 02:32.77
Theta Chi: 2:32.80
Kappa Sigma: 2:33.38
Delta Chi: 2:34.11
Phi Kappa Psi: 2:34.16
CSF Cycling: 2:34.23
Dodds House: 2:34.64
Achtung: 2:34.90
Hoosier Climber?: 2:35.22
#Jungle Express 2:35.41
Beta Sigma Psi: 2.36.27
Emanon: 02:36.27
Sigma Phi Epsilon: 2:36.36
Delta Upsilon: 2:36.76
Wright Cycling: 02:36.84
Sigma Alpha Epsilon: 2:36.97
Sigma Alpha Mu: 2:37.89
Acacia: 2:38.27
Pi Kappa Alpha: 2:38.71
Phi Gamma Delta: 2:39.65
Sigma Pi: 2:40.23
Beta Sigma Psi: 02:40.29
Lamda Chi Alpha: 2:40.31
Pi Kappa Phi: 2:41.76
Team Dark Horse: 2:42.35
Alpha Epsilon Pi: 2:42.61
Zeta Beta Tau: 02:43.17
Phi Kappa Tau: 2:43.48
Delta Kappa Epsilon: 2:44.83
Phi Sigma Kappa: 2:46.75
Corean Legstrong: 2:49.62
Rainbow Cycling: 2:59.54
Forest Cycling DNQ

Delta Gamma: 2:44.76
Teter: 2:47.52
Army: 2:48.74
Wing It: 2:50.00
Kappa Kappa Gamma: 2:51.24
Alpha Gamma Delta: 2:52.00
Pi Beta Phi: 2:53.91
Phi Mu: 02:54.20
Delta Zeta: 2:54.60
Gamma Phi Beta: 2:55.35
Kappa Alpha Theta: 2:56.98
Chi Omega: 2:57.29
Cru Cycling: 2:58.40
Alpha Chi Omega: 02:58.60
Alpha Xi Delta: 2:59.25
Ride On: 2:59.49
Kappa Delta: 2:59.90
Team Revolution: 3:01.98
SPQR: 3:01.54
Team Revolution: 3:01.96
Delta Sigma Pi: 3:02.66
Mezcla: 3:03.43
Alpha Delta Pi: 3:04.08
Delta Delta Delta: 3:07.92
Last Chance: 3:09.89
Alpha Phi: 3:09.98
Zeta Tau Alpha: 3:11.28
Team Gluff: 3:12.54
Air Force Women: 3:13.95
Alpha Epsilon Phi: 3:15.87
Rainbow Cycling Women: 3:17.25
Sigma Delta Tau: 3:26.88
Alpha Omicron Pi 3:23.42 *4th attempt

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gearing Up For Quals!

4 riders, 3 exchanges, 2 retries, 1 day... Welcome to Qualifications!  For most teams, quals is both anticipated and dreaded. Unlike the race, where you have 100 laps to correct mistakes, quals offers no such luxury. Add to this the uncertainty of the weather and you have an event that rivals the race itself. Your 4 laps will always make the difference, but the riling question is: "Will it be for better or for worse"?
For those of you who are new to Little 500, qualifications determines the starting order of the race, the order in which teams get to pick their pit position and their race day jersey color. Each team is required to complete four laps and three exchanges and when completed the teams are lined up in order of their qualification time from fastest to slowest; 1st to 33rd. The team qualifying 1st is considered the pole team and will wear green on race day.  While most teams have four riders, some teams have three or even two.  And although this process may look like no problem here, on more than one occasion, the defending Little 500 champion has failed to qualify for the following year's race.
For the teams who stayed in Bloomington for Spring Break, in order to have access to the track, exchanges took substantial priority over most other training.  Calls of "Exchange in turn in turn coming in" were heard all week, with noticeable apprehension on Monday giving way to increased confidence by Friday. On Saturday, each team takes part in the "qualifications ritual" visiting several "stations" including photos, student ID check, final rules briefings and the like before they hear the announcer say "Take the track!" The quals run is actually 5 laps, the first being a warm up lap for the team's first rider. That first rider will start off at a slower pace, coming up to speed in the back stretch, accelerating into turn 3 and out of turn 4 for the flying-lap start. As each rider races around the track the only thought in their mind is "faster...faster...faster! But as they approach turn 4, their mind switches from speed to accuracy as they prepare both physically and mentally for their exchange. The exchange zone they are approaching is 32 feet long, 16 feet on either side of the start/finish, or timing line. Because the lines are painted across the entire width on the track, the exchange zone appears to be much shorter than it actually is, adding to the apprehension of the incoming rider. 
The rules state that the rider receiving the bike cannot touch any part of the bike before the leading edge of the front wheel crosses the plane of the first white line and the rider coming off the bike may not touch any part of the bike after the trailing edge of the back wheel crosses the plane of the third white line (the second white line is for timing purposes only). If any of the above happens or an exchange is dropped between the first and third lines, a foul is called and the yellow flag is raised. It is also a foul to ride in the gutter anywhere on the track. If you do foul your team will be dropped three spots in the qualifications order and will get to try again, usually about 5 to 10 minutes later.  If a foul is called on your second attempt, you will be moved to the end of the day to attempt your third and final qualifications run.  Do not let a foul fluster you for your next attempt.  They do happen so just take the time in between to regroup and focus again. 
Qualifications is the official "kick-off" of the Little 500 competition and it is an event that challenges your, fitness, skill, accuracy and your mental toughness. It is the first step in every team's Little 500 journey and it is the most critical, setting the tone and the expectations for what will follow. If there one pre-race event that is well worth your time to attend, qualifications is definitely it. Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Different Roles in the Little 500

Hi, my name is Ren-Jay.  I've been around cycling for 10 years now in various capacities.  I first started riding for fun, did some touring and began racing when I was in high school.  This year marks my second year on Rider's Council and my seventh year racing bikes.  I am no longer eligible for the Little 500 because of the Amatuer Status rules, however I am still trying to give back to the Little 500 community by coaching and through my position on Rider's Council.  In this post, I'd like to identify and explain some of the various roles one can take in the Little 500.

First off, you can join IUSF and contribute to the race either as a worker, or you can "gun" and try to become a member of Steering Committee.  IUSF, as many of you know, is the organization that puts on the Little 500 and the race wouldn't exist without them.  Within IUSF, Steering Committee is responsible for all of the organization behind the Little 500 and every year they do a great job attracting sponsors, marketing the race, and of course, making all the magic happen on race day.  Below is a billboard drawn up by some of the marketing people on SC, it's just one example of how they spread the word about the Little 5.

Continuing with the "behind the scenes" people, each team is required to have a timer and counter on race day.  The timer is the student representative of each team responsible for the official timing and scoring of each team.  They are paired up with a volunteer from the IU Foundation and together they time each and every lap that their team completes.  These timers are all stationed in the press box and with 2 people per team (one student and one IUF volunteer), the press box sure is crowded on race day!  The counter is on an elevated platform around the scoreboard and flips a number card each lap so that the fans can keep track of what lap each team is on.

Next up we have the coaches.  These are the men and women who organize, train, and of course, crack the whip for each team.  This is arguably one of the most important roles in Little 5, as without a good program, it's hard to succeed.  This is a role that I'm filling for the first time this year and thus far I've had a blast with it.  I'm coaching my old team (Black Key Bulls) and also Alpha Xi Delta together with my fellow BKB alumnus Scott.  Coaching is such an interesting job and while it has its highs and lows, it is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things that I've done in college.

Then there are the spectators.  The race wouldn't have all the hype and excitement without them.  They're loud, obnoxious, smelly (sometimes), excited, occasionally inebriated, and essential to the race-day atmosphere.  Attendance at the Little 5 has repeatedly topped 20,000 spectators, which is probably the largest number of people at an intramural event in the country.

Finally, we have the riders.  This is definitely the most exciting job in the Little 500 and of course, there would be no race without the riders.  As a rider it's easy to get tunnel vision and focus only on your training, diet, sleep, and occasionally school.  However, there's so much more to riding than that.  For me personally the biggest take-away from riding Little 5 was the people I met and the friends I made.  Of course you become like a family with your team, but you also develop a bond with the other riders you're at the track with day in and day out.  Everyone is willing to share tools, water, sometimes warm clothing, and offer up a few words of encouragement and that creates a positive atmosphere which makes going to track practice much more enjoyable.  Riding Little 500 is definitely one of the coolest things I've done in college and I would encourage everybody on campus to give it a shot.

These are some of the main roles in that one can fill in the Little 5.  There are many more I didn't cover, such as IU-EMS workers, officials, sponsors, etc., but hopefully after reading this post you have a more complete view of what you can do within Little 5.  I've been involved with this event as a timer, counter, coach, rider, member of Rider's Council for seven years now and I hope I can continue to stay involved because it's been one of the best experiences I've ever had.  Even if I can't do any of those things in the future, I'll always go back to the role I first started with: being a Little 500 fan.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Getting Comfortable on the Track

I can’t really describe how awesome it is to be a rookie rider in the Little 500.
Don’t get me wrong, being a veteran rider is great too, however I’m still new to this whole ‘vet’ thing: I was preparing for my first Little 500 with my team, Kappa Alpha Theta, just one year ago. The nervous stomach, the shaky arms on the bike, the legs that didn’t quite feel powerful enough-it is weird to think it was almost a year ago because every memory I have is still so vivid. I have a few memories from my rookie year that I feel are worth sharing in regards to how I learned to get comfortable on the track.

I will never forget my rookie week-by the end of the ten days I was sick of the cold and very bruised. I was the rookie who constantly struggled at jumping on the bike. Really, I couldn’t jump on it. Ten days of practice and I was still falling on the ground or tripping over the pedals. By the time spring break rolled around I was better but still not good. I had improved to a half jump half swing right leg over and get on the saddle kind of thing where I kept my left food on the ground the entire time. Yikes. Throughout this process I developed a stutter step. Spring break is where my stutter step really grew into my own. My coach tried to shake it, along with several other veteran riders. Every day of spring break ended the same way: a helpful someone would come up and claim that they had NEVER had anyone have a stutter step after they helped and then they would, after an hour, walk away disappointed. We tried everything! I have heard frog analogies, orange juice analogies, and counting games. We tried raising my saddle height to force me to jump higher, we tried lowering my saddle height, we even took my left shoe off so it would hurt really badly when I did the little skip thing. Nothing changed. By quals, my teammates knew that the stutter step was here to stay so reluctantly I embraced it. We worked on getting it as fast as possible and it worked just fine my rookie year. If you are struggling with jumping on or off the bike still, really don’t worry! Just practice over and over again-really you should put hours into it. It may not be perfect by quals or even the race but it can be good enough-if you have honestly given the best effort to make it the best it can be.

I can’t forget my first track practice with the veterans either. I remember it so vividly as one of my least favorite days riding ever, but one of the days when I learned the most. My first day with the vets I was doing a ten lap set with a teammate, Kristen, and two awesome Teter riders. Every time our paceline approached a turn I slowed down because I was afraid of sliding on the cinders, then got dropped, proceeded to chase back on and then catch the paceline again only to be dropped the next turn. Over and over and over again for ten laps. I got off the bike and was slightly upset. I had never really been ‘dropped’ before. Later that day, Eric Young of the Cutters came up to say hello to our team. Kristen explained what had just happened and he took the time to help. He taught me about rotating my torso into the turn and pedaling slightly harder with my outer foot but not leaning the bike into the turn as much. He told me to relax the grip on my handlebars and to steer with my hips, not my arms. Lastly he told me not to be afraid of sliding a little! It is FUN to go fast! I remember him saying “even if you start to slide, just stay loose and keep pedaling through the turn and you won’t fall!” Once again, I practiced over and over what he said. The next day at the track, I wasn’t perfect, but the improvement was huge! By the race, I felt 100% comfortable taking the turns fast and not slowing down. Even now as a veteran, if I am approaching a turn quickly when I am doing a fast set during practice I remember the words of wisdom: stay loose, turn with hips, rotate torso not bike, and have fun going fast.

Getting comfortable on the track takes time and practice but it does happen. My legs always felt heavy and I was the slowest person walking up the steps in Ballantine Hall but over time the cinders and 46x18 gear made the Little 500 track my favorite place to ride. I got used to going fast in the pole lane, doing exchanges outside of the white dotted line, looking over my left shoulder to check if the inside lane was clear before merging, and comfortably getting into a large pack of riders safely.

It all may seem overwhelming now, and it may be really scary to think that quals are less than 3 weeks away, but if you practice and put all your passion into this event, you will not walk away on April 15th or 16th disappointed. Last year my team finished 4th and while we would have liked to win, we still celebrated everything we accomplished that year. The challenges I overcame turned into personal victories. The people I would have never met before became my closest friends. The hours I spent with my teammates are cherished now that they have graduated and one has moved away. There is so much to celebrate with this great race…I love the Little 500 and my hopes are that you too can enjoy it just as much.

Ride fast and turn left,
Amy Dickman

P.S. I still have my stutter step :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Video: Rules Roulette: Riders Draw Ire for Courting Pros

Story by Jim Kopriva

Rules Roulette: Riders Draw Ire for Courting Pros

               A little over a month before race day, tension is already mounting amongst this year’s Men’s Little 500 field.  Earlier this week, a group of sixteen riders from several different teams met to discuss rules infractions supposedly incurred by Cutters’ rider Eric Young.  Last weekend, Young was spotted in photos (found here) riding along with the Bissell professional cycling team during one of the team’s sponsored training camps in Santa Rosa, California, raising a few eyebrows regarding his eligibility for this year’s Little 500 competition.
                Little 500’s rules are structured so as to prevent professional riders from unfairly competing in what was intended to be a fundraising and strictly amateur collegiate event.  While to this point, Young has not definitively broken any of the race’s eligibility guidelines, Young’s involvement with Bissell has caused a stir among the field for this year’s race.
                Many of those most upset by Young’s actions cited the fact that Young may have been rewarded with cycling equipment for his participation.   Young is not the only rider in this year’s field that has walked the line between amateur and professional status.  Many other riders from a slew of teams have been courted by professional cycling teams and some have even accepted cycling gear from those teams.  The discussion in Tuesday night’s meeting quickly turned to suggesting specific guidelines for drawing a clear line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors for Little 500 participants.  Specifically, involvement with pro cycling teams and receipt of cycling gear were the two most discussed topics during the meeting. 
                Following the meeting, Grey Goat rider Ryan Kiel drafted a petition (found here) phrased to encompass those guidelines and to prevent riders who have clearly forfeited their amateur status from participating in the race.   While better competition amongst the field is by all means healthy, most of the meeting’s attendees agreed that allowing riders to be courted by professional teams is damaging to the spirit of the race.
                To this point, all of the rumors and talk swirling on the subject have revealed a genuine concern among the field for the sanctity of the race and the importance of its guidelines.  While no member of the field has been proven to have broken any of the race’s eligibility requirements to this point, many members of the field are on edge in light of the controversy.  There will undoubtedly be further developments in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to ‘Inside The Track’ to find out more as the story develops.

Story by Jim Kopriva 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring Break Bloomington

It’s that time of year: the gym is packed, tanning booths are crowded, and diets are in full-force. This can only mean one thing; Spring break is right around the corner. While most of my friends can’t stop talking about their destinations in Florida and which swim suit to order, I am contemplating how many bike shorts to pack and whether I’m going to need my lobster gloves or not. Yes this means I will be spending March 11th through March 20th at Bill Armstrong Stadium for my third round of Spring Break Bloomington.
Although I may not come back to class with a perfectly bronzed bod, I will have an added confidence in my exchanges and my teams ability just in time for Qualifications the following Saturday. In my opinion staying in Bloomington for Spring Break has many added benefits and usually turns out to be a fun week.
The five weekdays of Spring Break the track will be open and available to all riders 11am-7pm each day. During this time each team may have as many riders on the track as they would like, no more of the two at a time rule. This makes for an excellent time to practice a few Team Pursuit runs or practice Quals runs as many times as you would like. It’s the perfect time for teams to work on pace-lineing and doing long sets together. In the past is has also been the perfect opportunity to pack ride with other teams on the track. I know women’s practices tend to lack a solid pack but spring break is a great times for teams to come together.  Additionally, allowing multiple riders on the track at a time is especially helpful for larger teams who normally have to budget out track time amongst riders. During spring break everyone can get their workout in without worrying about the time constraint.
It may sound overwhelming to allow all men’s and women’s riders on the track simultaneously, but my rookie year spring break I appreciated the men on the track at the same time. The men tend to be more aggressive than women’s riders and helped me to be even more aware of my surroundings and pay attention to everything you do on the track at all times. I was scared enough of being yelled at by a female rider, the thought of being hounded by a male rider was horrifying. Therefore, looking back on it spring break is a great time for rookie riders to gain that extra time and experience on the track. With the extra track time, it helped me become more confident and allowed me the additional time to perfect the new skills I was learning.
Stepping back from the Bike, Spring Break Bloomington is a great opportunity to get to know other teams a little better. Let’s face it, the only people in town during Spring Break are riders so you’re forced to hang out with each other whether you like it or not. It’s a fun time to get to know other teams on and off the track. We’re all missing out on the beaches so why not come together and bond over our bikes and pale skin together.
 If you’re new to Spring Break Bloomington, don’t worry it turns out better than you think and you’ll come out of the week feeling more confident on the track than ever before!
Good Luck & don’t forget the baby oil,
Katie Sauter

Friday, February 25, 2011

Biking to Uganda

Biking for Uganda is a fundraiser for Building Tomorrow, an organization that raises money to help build schools in Uganda. During the week before Little 500, they set up stationary bikes across campus and students or whomever wants to participate pay $5 for a 30 minute time slot. The goal is to of course raise money, but also to collectively bike the distance from Bloomington to Uganda. 

If you are interested please contact:
Amy Fontana

Friday, February 18, 2011

Introducing THE guide on Little 500...

As a returning member to Rider's Council for 2010-2011, I (Chelsea Merta) came into this season with a list of things that needed to improve before I graduated from the Little 500 community. One of my biggest priorities this year was finishing a huge project started by RC last year: a total team development packet intended to level the field for all the teams out there (not everyone can afford to hire a coach or buy $5,000+ bikes, right?) This comprehensive guide includes training plans and ideas, local routes with elevation charts, yearly resources available to the Little 500, IU, & Bloomington cycling communities, and nutrition tips, among many, many other beneficial pieces of information. There's even a section as the end that includes all the track, qualifications, and race day rules.

I picked the brains of some of the most talented cyclists, experienced coaches, and dedicated alumni and fans to compile the best information to share with the Little 5 and cycling world. Every Little 5'er out there, rookie or veteran, will benefit from reading this guide. It is by far one of the most valuable resources that RC and IUSF can offer to the Little 500 community, and we hope you take advantage of it!

This packet is free to all Little 500 teams and can be picked up at the Wilcox House starting next week.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rookies Compete in Rookie Miss-N-Out

 Today Little 500 Rookies competed against each other in Rookie Miss-N-Out after several days of instruction under Rider's Council, during which rookies learned the fundamentals of mounting and dismounting a bike, completing a full exchange, and safe pack riding skills.  On the women's side it was Kathleen Chelminiak of Kappa Alpha Theta who took the victory in a fast-paced final heat.  Emma Caughlin of Teter came in second followed by Virginia Parks of Wing It in third.  There were no crashes in the women's event, which bodes well for the opening of the track to veterans.

 Kathleen Chelminiak of Kappa Alpha Theta leads Emma Caughlin of Teter in the Semi-Finals of the Women's Rookie Miss-N-Out.

On the men's side it was Rob Smallman of Hoosier Climber? who sped to victory in what Rider's Council member Zach Lusk described as "a nail biter."  Smallman out-paced Jake Bidner of CRU Cycling in the final sprint with Aaron Baer, also of Hoosier Climber?, coming in third.  Unlike the women, the men did suffer two crashes, neither of which produced serious injuries.  Thankfully, IU-EMS was on hand to clean up the downed riders and they both seemed eager to continue practice.

A male rookie competes during Men's Rookie Miss-N-Out.

The warm temperatures this week have made Rookie Week much more bearable than in years past.  Numerous alumni, coaches, and veteran riders have been coming out to watch Rookie Practice, perhaps because of the spring-like weather.  Looking ahead, there will be two more days of Rookie Practice and the track will officially open to veterans next Tuesday, February 22nd.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What you can expect during Rookie Week

To all the rookie riders out there,

Congratulations! You've made it to the track after months of training, waiting, and anticipation. Getting out on the track for the first time is always a memorable moment for Little 500 riders.

I hope that everyone enjoyed the couple indoor information sessions we had last week when the weather was a little too harsh. Sometimes those inside days during Rookie Week can seem a little boring and uneventful, but remember the three goals of Rookie week:

1) Learn how to exchange
2) Learn how to pack ride
3) Learn the ins and outs of the Little 500, pick-up on strategy, and be able to speak the Little 500 lingo

I hope that those info sessions and film reviews got you even more excited about the race, and hopefully you've learned enough to pass your rookie test (if you haven't already!). Speaking of rookie tests, rider council members will send you up to the press box to take your test later this week. Scores will be released sometime soon too.

Just a reminder, your Riders Council is a group of 18 veteran female and male riders responsible for helping you (rookies) get acquainted with the race and track. Look for us in the red and white argyl jackets with names on the back on the track. We've chosen to be RC members because we want to help you enjoy the Little 500. Feel free to approach us at anytime to ask questions about the track, training, scheduling issues, etc.

I guess I should introduce myself, since this is a blog and you'd probably like to know who it's coming from and why you're reading it. My name is Andrew Morrow, and I'm a third year rider on Riders Council. Like most you (I'm assuming) I didn't pick up riding until I arrived at IU three years ago. My older brother who rode for my fraternity got me interested in and excited about the race around Christmas of 2008. I bought my first bike and the rest is history. It's amazing how much fun the Little 500 injects into a college career. I applaud all of you for jumping into this exciting arena. Without a doubt in my mind, you won't regret a minute of it!

So why am I writing this nostalgic-for-Little500 online blog? Well, this year your RC thought that it would be a good idea to put some perspective on the race and race preparation from a veteran's view point. Once per week for the next 10 weeks a different RC member is going to chime in on a host of topics including "How to interpret the Team Development packet", "Gearing up for Quals", and "Different team roles in the Little 500." As the title of this blog suggests, I'm going to give you a little heads up on what to expect during Rookie Week (well the remainder of RW since we're about halfway through).

So what can I say is the most important part of Rookie Week? Keep reminding yourself why you're going through this process. Review those three goals I listed above. If you keep those three goals in mind for the next week or so, you'll not only enjoy rookie week, but you'll absorb a lot more information. I want you all to recognize that this is YOUR time on the track; in a way, it is individual mentoring time before the heavy-hitting vets storm the track next week.

I remember my first day out on the track three years ago: it was cold, rainy, dark, and lousy. I envy you all because Tuesday's track weather was exponentially better than my experience. I was chatting with a couple rookies today. We all agreed that it's easier to concentrate when you've got warmer weather (40's like we had yesterday is warm for February track time).

The first time I hopped on a little 500 bike I fell flat on the track (actually my toppled bike break my fall!). Just like yesterday, the RC in 2009 had me working on hopping on and off the bike that day. Getting on the bike was tough that day, but by the end of Rookie Week, I felt like I had mastered the fundamentals. It was all up to me to practice mounting and exchanging after that.

Like I told some of you today, RC can only show you the fundamentals this week. After this week, it'll be all up to you to master the art of exchanging and track riding before Quals in March. Practice! Practice! Practice!

So what else can you expect during Rookie Week (other than antics from Anderson)? Well, we will continue to drill mounting and dismounting the bikes, bike-to-bike exchanges, rider exchanges, pack riding, track and pit communication, and how to clean your bike. At the end of the week, we'll throw in a couple games. Get ready for some "Foot Down", which is a bike-handling challenge, and perhaps a "Rookie Miss-N-Out", which is a cut-throat speed race around the track. Obviously, you don't have to participate in the games, but we think that the games will offer a nice playing field to showcase your skills after a week of practice.

I can't emphasize enough, on behalf of RC, that Rookie Week is MANDATORY! You must attend; no questions. IUSF volunteers set up a table on the infield each day at the track. Make sure you sign-in and sign-out so that your track times are calculated. No check-in means an absence.

Again, I'm excited for you. The Little 500 is something unique. It's something big. It's something exciting.  A lot of hard work and a little luck could make it something special for you!

I wish you all the best.

Turn left,
Andrew M.