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.
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.
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.