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Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Little 500 participants maintain competitive edge in Fall Series

Street Sprints

The wind blew, the sun shone and the occasional rain drop fell this weekend as Little 500 riders gathered alongside non-Little 500 riders on North Jordan Avenue and at Bill Armstrong Stadium to compete with each other.

The Fall Cycling Series, a precursor to the Little 500, involved three events, more than 100 cyclists and more than a dozen wipeouts.

The first of the events, the Street Sprints, was simply drag racing on bicycles for 200 meters. Heat after heat narrowed it to the final two riders, who raced to be named the fastest sprinter on campus.

On Sunday, two more events took place: The brand-new Climb Trial, which started on Fee Lane and led into Bill Armstrong Stadium for two laps; and the Cyclocross, a team race that forced riders to jump over hay bales and climb stairs on their way to the finish line.

Friday

Caitlin Van Kooten, a cyclist on the Teter Cycling team, couldn’t make it to the Street Sprints on Friday, so teammate Lisa Hutcheson took her place. Just after 5 p.m., Hutcheson took first place.

Hutcheson had taken part in the Fall Series events previously but had never participated in the Street Sprints before. She said she felt bad that she couldn’t share her victory with her teammate.

“I wish she could have been here because she’s super fun,” Hutcheson said. “But I’m kind of happy I got to do it for the first time.”

Hutcheson wasn’t the only rider whose first Street Sprints led to a victory. Kristopher Zee of Cru Cycling, who has never raced in the Fall Cycling Series, also won the event in his first outing.

“It was certainly something that I was looking forward to — to spend some time with my team, Campus Crusade for Christ Cycling, and to catch up with some old friends on other teams,” Zee said. “I wasn’t looking to win necessarily, just looking to put down my best effort, have fun and enjoy the day.”


Sunday

Van Kooten might have missed Friday’s events, but she absolutely showed up Sunday. She had the fastest time in the Climb Trial in the morning, followed by a victory in the Cyclocross alongside teammate Lauren Gowdy.

The Delta Gamma team of Kelsey Phillips and Kelsey Kent jumped out to an early lead, but a chain break took them out of contention for most of the event.

Both Gowdy and Van Kooten acknowledged that without that chain break, Kent and Powell probably would have finished first.

The Teter Cycling team earned its third victory in as many events during the weekend.

“In the Fall Series, it’s always good to know you still have it,” Van Kooten said.

On the men’s side, the results were far more diverse.

Rex Rafferty of the Black Key Bulls edged out independent rider Paul Levy in the morning Climb Trial; but in one of the more impressive performances of the day, the Gray Goat Cycling team of Ryan Kiel and RJ Half won the Cyclocross.

Just hours earlier, perhaps around the time when Rafferty and Van Kooten were winning their respective Climb Trials, Kiel took part in a Cyclocross event in Kentucky.
Half raced on Friday and put in a difficult workout on Saturday.

Somehow, the two riders left their exhaustion at the door and beat the Cru team of Zee and Michael Waymire by a large margin.

“I didn’t think the margin would have been as big,” Kiel said. “I thought we were going to have to claw at it a bit more, really fight for it and put a little bit more effort into the last laps.”

On a day during which strong winds flung clouds of dust from the dry track into the eyes of the spectators, action and excitement were not in short supply.

The P.A. system blasted Cyndi Lauper and sound bites from “Old School,” but they could have been playing Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” as multiple riders wiped out amidst plumes of dirt.

“It’s a certain rite of passage for a Little Five rider to get a cinder tattoo,” Wing It Cycling’s Abigail Legg said. “Once you get those, you’re in the club.”

While this wasn’t quite Little 500, the main implication of this weekend’s races was probably summed up best by Gowdy and Van Kooten.

“Look for us in the spring,” Gowdy said. “Teter’s coming,” Van Kooten added.

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