On Saturday afternoon for about five hours, small groups bicyclists pedaled like mad for 200 meters from a standing start, in a series of 62 total heats, to determine the champions for this year’s edition of the Little 500 Street Sprints. [More photos and video below]
In the women’s race, Grace Washburn cruised to victory in the final heat. For the men, it was Petyton Gaskill who flung his arms skyward at the finish line just in front of Showalter Fountain.
In past years, the sprints were contested along Kirkwood Avenue, starting around at the Monroe County public library, heading towards the Sample Gate.
Saturday’s sprints marked the second year for the Indiana University campus venue, which runs along 7th Street from the Indiana Memorial Union east towards Showalter Fountain. On Saturday, the bright sun lit up the trees lining the route into a red and orange canopy of fall colors. The temperature hovered in the mid-70s. A red-tailed hawk kept watch from the top of the Indiana Memorial Union.
The bicycles for the race are standard issue for the Little 500, which run single-speed 46 x 18 gears. At the start line, each rider is held vertical on their machine by a race official.
The blast of an airhorn is the signal for riders to begin mashing the pedals down the 200-meter course, which features about 18 feet of elevation gain. That might not sound like a steep pitch, but the worst of the incline comes right at the beginning. That makes the early part of the race key to victory—there’s not a lot of time to recover from a wobbly start.
This year’s edition of street sprints was the last one for Little 500 race director Hank Duncan. He’s been hired away by the city of Bloomington to serve as bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, filling the vacancy left by Mallory Rickbeil.
Photos: 2022 Little 500 Street Sprints
[Click or tap on any photo for access to full-resolution of all photos—just swipe or arrow through the gallery.]
Video: 2022 Little 500 Street Sprints: Women’s Final Heat
Video: 2022 Little 500 Street Sprints: Men’s Final Heat