Less than a week after qualifications, the IU Student Foundation, the group behind organizing the preparation for Little 500, is preparing for the next major event in the Little 500 season.
Saturday’s qualifying men’s and women’s bike teams will move on to compete in Spring Series, which includes Individual Time Trials, Miss N Out and Team Pursuit. ITTs will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Harvest Ham, a senior and member of the IUSF Steering Committee, explained what ITTs consist of and what the event means for bikers.
“There are 88 heats of four riders who start in each turn of the track and are individually timed,” Ham said. “They are racing for their personal best time which is really cool, and these times determine what heat they will ride in at Saturday's event, Miss N Outs.”
For ITTs, each rider competes with three other riders, completing four laps for the best time. With any Little 500 event, there are specific rules the participants must follow.
If the rider falls from their bike or crashes, it is the rider's decision to continue the ITT by immediately getting back on the bike and continuing the race. If the rider chooses not to continue, the rider can leave the track and withdraw from the event. The result of an injury from a fall or crash does not constitute another attempt at an ITT.
If a rider misses the scheduled heat time or has a mechanical failure, they will not be allowed to race in another time slot unless there is available time at the end of the event, but this is not guaranteed.
With ITTs, and throughout Little 500 season, it is expected that riders are properly passing others on the track, which would be by passing on the outside right shoulder of the biker being passed.
Judges will be officiating the event and will make the decision on whether a rider is drafting, which is not allowed at ITTs. Drafting is an aerodynamic tactic bikers use in an attempt to eliminate the wind resistance. This helps riders to ride faster and conserve energy. It can be seen when a rider or group of riders bike closely behind another rider in single line form.
This creates a slipstream and eliminates the difficulty of riding against the wind. In the case of drafting, the rider will be disqualified from the event and asked to leave the track immediately.
Not only does IUSF organize the spring series events, it is also present and active during the events.
“The 25 awesome juniors part of IUSF really are the hands and feet of these events," Ham said. "They help to set up and work every position like timing, announcing, and chipping bikes.
Ham also discussed the difficulties IUSF faced during qualifications concerning the bad weather conditions. Ham also said although this was difficult, it is good preparation for what’s to come.
“The bad weather was extremely difficult to set up in and endure during qualifications,” Ham said. "Our volunteers were there from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., so it was a long day in the snow and rain. IUSF had to be extra observant assuring the riders and the track was safe. For ITTs, we will have to do this all over again, considering rain is predicted, the only difference this time is we are even more experienced and prepared.”