After the senior Cutters rider finished his four laps at Wednesday night’s Individual Time Trials at Bill Armstrong Stadium, his coach told him he came up short. He thought he missed his last chance at the ITT crown.
His coach was wrong.
After walking over to the registration table, Depasse learned his official time — 2:22.48 — was better than his teammate Tim Nixon’s by .15 seconds to give him the No. 1 spot at ITTs, with Nixon finishing second.
“It’s huge,” Depasse said. “It’s massive. You put so much time in. All the little things, all the stuff in August, September, October. All the winter rides and the weight room. Everything.
“Being able to do this, and kill it, it’s huge.”
The Cutters have finished in the top two positions at ITTs two other times, according to the IU Student Foundation database. On both occasions, in 2000 and 2007, the Cutters went on to win the Little 500.
“It’s all friendly competition,” Nixon said. “It’s all knowing that the more we push ourselves, the better chance we have of winning.”
Delta Tau Delta junior Paul Smith finished third with a time of 2:23.58.
Phi Delta Theta rider Rob Lee raced before the sun went down and before the top five heats raced. Lee, a sophomore, competed in ITTs last year, but not the race. He finished ITTs in 101st position.
This year he finished fourth.
Lee improved his time by more than 11 seconds. He said competing in races during the summer helped him, but he didn’t think he had improved to that level.
“I wasn’t expecting to be in the top five,” Lee said. “I was expecting to probably end up in the top 15. I was really surprised to be in the top 5.”
Lee was the only rider from outside the top five projected fastest heats to finish in the top 10.
“This team’s always been really deep and talented,” he said. “It means a lot just coming in as a sophomore and being able to contribute.”
Brant Powell of Black Key Bulls rounded out the top five.
Behind Powell was Beta Theta Pi’s Eric Anderson and Tom Laser, Air Force’s Zach Stine, Sigma Nu’s Brice Brookshire and Black Key Bulls’ Dan Kinn to finish the top 10.
Kinn’s teammates James Rosati and Jacob Miller finished 12 and 13, giving BKB four riders in the top 13.
Before the race, Nixon said he and Depasse didn’t talk. They both wanted the win. Nixon said he had been working for it since August.
“We just kind of looked at each other and nodded,” Nixon said. “We knew that we could do it.”
After receiving the news he had beat out Nixon, Depasse did nothing but smile.
“This is a stepping stone,” Depasse said. “It’s huge, and I’m not going to say it doesn’t mean a lot just because of all the work I’ve put in, because it does mean a lot.”
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