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