During a drive through Bloomington a few days before, rider Alex Benigni discovered the Tibetan Cultural Center and thought they could take a prerace ride to get their legs moving.
“We thought maybe the spiritual guidance would help us today, which it did,” Benigni said.
The ride was a way to get their nerves out and spend time together before the final event of the 2015 Spring Series. Ski made the finals Sunday with a qualifying, first-place time of 8:16.08, more than eight seconds faster than Alpha Chi Omega.
The top two teams faced off for a final time to determine the winner, and Ski came out on top. They shaved six seconds off an already impressive time, going 8:10.01 to win. Megan Huibregtse said they went into the finals just wanting the same race as the ?first time.
“I think we were just so excited,” Ashley King said. “We were cooled down, the wind died down. It was a fast track. We just had it in our legs. The base miles and all the training we’ve done, we just had it in us.”
Huibregtse said her team’s communication helped a lot. On the final turn of their first race Sunday afternoon, she told her teammates to yell at her as motivation. They did, and she sprinted faster.
“We didn’t come into this thinking we’d win, honestly,” Huibregtse said. “We wanted to see how we’d measure up, but it was never a given.”
Before Sunday, Teter had won Team Pursuit five consecutive years, including six of the last seven. This year they fell just short of the finals in third place. Despite the win, Ski, in their second year in the Little 500, couldn’t overcome ?Kappa Alpha Theta.
Theta had to have a disastrous final day to lose its lead. Instead, they took fourth in Team Pursuit to secure ?the win.
“For us, it is 100 percent a team thing,” Abby Rogers said. “Yes, some of the events are individual, but the race itself, where it really counts, is a year-round team effort — on and off the bike.”
Theta took a commanding lead after ITTs, with three riders in the top eight. Liz Lieberman champion, followed by rookie Evelyn Malcomb in fourth and Abby Rogers in eighth. Lieberman then swept the first two events with a win in Saturday’s Miss-N-Outs.
Both Lieberman and Rogers are veterans, while Malcomb and their fourth rider, Maddie Lambert, are competing for the first time.
“Evelyn and Maddie both have been so influential in our success thus far,” Rogers said. “This comes from our team dynamic and the fact that they both hold themselves to standards higher than that of many other rookies and even veterans.”