Qualification runs for the 2022 Little 500 bicycle race were held on Saturday.
The temperature was around 38 F degrees with 16 mph winds out of the west and northwest, gusting to 28 mph. Those conditions meant the top times for the 4-lap trial were a lot slower than the all-time records.
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.
RAAM male solo competitor Mark Pattinson heading east on 3rd Street at Clarizz Boulevard (9:12 p.m. June 23, 2021).
RAAM female solo competitor Leah Goldstein at the intersection of SR 45/46 and 3rd Street waiting at the light to turn left onto 3rd. (11:55 p.m. June 23, 2021)
Around midnight on Wednesday, a few minutes into Thursday, an SUV headed south on SR 45/46 waited at the light to turn left onto 3rd Street.
The door panel had an official placard—it was a race official’s vehicle for the Race Across America (RAAM).
RAAM is a 3036.9-mile bicycle race starting in Oceanside, California ending in Annapolis, Maryland. Since the race was founded 38 years ago, the route for the RAAM has not always been the same. But it has passed through Bloomington for several years.
Through the open window of the SUV the driver shouted to the B Square: “Cutters! The Italians are coming! The Italians are coming! Rebate? Rebate?!”
He caught his own mistake: “Wait, no, that’s not it … Refund? Refund?!”
The recitation of familiar lines from the movie “Breaking Away” was his response to the B Square’s question: “You know you’re in Bloomington, Indiana, right—the greatest bicycling town in America?” The highlight of the film is the victory of a team called the Cutters in the Indiana University Student Foundation’s annual Little 500 bicycle race.
The Little 500 bicycle race is a spring tradition at Indiana University. Complementing the spring race is a fall racing series, which includes a cyclocross event. The women’s races were run Saturday. Men’s races are set for Sunday, starting at 1 p.m.
The course through the tailgating field just south of the Indiana University football stadium is laid out with orange “Happy Halloween” tape. It includes places where riders are forced to dismount and then navigate an obstacle like a sand pit or a set of hurdles. Teams of two riders compete in the race, alternating laps for a total of 12.
Plowing through the uneven turf of the field and maintaining a straight line on a standard-issue Little 5 bicycle makes cyclocross an event that’s a test of sheer power. Temperatures on Saturday had climbed from freezing in the early morning to the mid-50s by 1 p.m. when the racing started. Some of the colorful fall foliage remained on the trees, but much of it was already sprinkled across the green carpet of the tailgate field. It was a spectacular fall day—the kind you see in picture books. So here’s some pictures. Continue reading “Photos: 2020 Little 500 Cyclocross”→
The Little 500 bicycle race is a spring tradition at Indiana University. Complementing the spring race is a fall racing series, which includes individual time trials.
Temperatures were in the low 60s with winds of 10-15 mph out of the southwest, with gusts up to 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service. That make for tough going around the third turn into the home stretch.
COVID-19 pandemic protocols on campus are strict. For the ITT this year, no one except riders and volunteers were admitted into the Bill Armstrong stadium. The church parking lot just to the south offered a decent vantage point if you had a ladder.
The 70th edition of the Little 500 would have be run today at Bill Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. But it was cancelled over a month ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like so many other events across the country.
The storied bicycle race this year would have featured an attempt by one team to win the 50-mile race for its third year in a row, and a total of 15 times.
That team is the Cutters, led by seniors Noble Guyon, William Huibregtse, and Patrick Coulter.
[Note: The Little 500, the bicycle race at the center of the 1979 movie “Breaking Away,” has been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was scheduled to be run on Friday (women’s) and Saturday (men’s) this weekend.]
Last July, I managed to arrange a phone interview with a Minnesotan named Betsy Hodges.
Maybe 15 minutes into the conversation, Hodges launched into the Indiana University fight song. She sang it through to the end. “Indiana, we’re all for you!”
I did not ask her to do that. “When I meet somebody from Indiana I start singing the fight song,” she told me.
But on that occasion she wasn’t merely being friendly to a Hoosier she just met. Hodges was proving a point: The IU fight song is part of the opening festivities of the Little 500 bicycle race as portrayed in the film, “Breaking Away.”
The point: Hodges was not, as I had thought, mixing up the IU fight song with “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
Her performance was convincing, in part because Hodges is not an IU alum. How else could she possibly know the IU fight song by heart, except by watching “Breaking Away” a few hundred times as a high schooler?