Photos: Little 500 Fall Series Street Sprints, change of venue from Kirkwood to IU campus

The sunny weather, mostly calm winds, and temperatures in the mid-50s meant good weather conditions for last Saturday’s (Nov. 6)  Little 500 Street Sprints.

This year, the course started in front of the Indiana Memorial Union on 7th Street and headed farther into the university campus, east towards the Showalter Fountain.

The 200-meter straight-line sprints are part of a fall series of events connected to the  Little 500 race, which is held in the spring at the Bill Armstrong Stadium track. Rounding out the fall series are individual item trials at the stadium track, and cyclocross races at the tailgate field.

Among the photos in this set are shots of Greg Souder, the Little 500 race mechanic, and Hank Duncan, the Little 500 race director.

Those names will be familiar to readers who saw The B Square’s late June report of the Race Across America (RAAM) riders as they pedaled through Bloomington on their way across the country.

Back in June, Souder and Duncan showed up at the Bloomington RAAM time stop in time to see then-race leader Mark Pattinson cruise through town. (He would later drop out, leaving the overall race victory to be claimed by Leah Goldstein, who came through Bloomington a couple hours after Pattison.)

Last Saturday, Souder was making rider-requested adjustments to bicycles. Duncan was overseeing the logistics for the several dozen heats of men’s and women’s races that led to the final two-up sprints to determine a champion.

In previous years, the street sprints followed a course along Kirkwood Avenue from the public library up towards Sample Gates. This year, the availability of Kirkwood was a bit uncertain, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kirkwood was closed for several months to allow for restaurants to use the street area to serve patrons. So the 7th Street venue was scheduled instead of Kirkwood.

As it turns out, the Kirkwood closing was not extended past the end of October. So it would have been possible to hold the Little 5 Street Sprints on Kirkwood.

Among the tradeoffs in favor of the campus venue was the canopy of autumn colors that bridged 7th Street, making for a spectacular view of the course, looking downhill to the west.

Probably weighing against the 7th Street course, compared to Kirkwood, was that same downhill, which for riders was uphill. They have to start their sprints from a dead stop, held vertical by a race volunteer, until the starting horn sounds.

Photos: Little 500 Fall Series Street Sprints Nov. 6, 2021

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