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.