Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes

The Little 500 sets itself apart from other bike races because of its use of exchanges. With four riders and only two bikes, the bikes must be transferred from one rider to another in an efficient and safe manner... Thus, the Exchange!

Two types of exchanges occur in a race: man-to-man and bike-to-bike.

In a man-to-man exchange (Woman-to-woman is what I call it; however, I'm sure rider-to-rider would be politically correct), one rider dismounts the bike while the next rider mounts it. Two techniques are used.
  1. The dismount-to-mount is most commonly used. The rider on the bike brakes once in the designated pit, lifting her left leg over the bike and dismounting. While this is taking place, the next rider takes off in a sprint, catching the bike handles as the first rider dismounts. The second rider continues to run on the left side of the bike, and throws her right leg over it, landing on the seat.
  2. The ghost rider sounds as scary as it looks. As the current biker is entering the pit, she brakes with one hand in between her legs on the seat. Pushing off with her hands, she exits the bike from behind. The next rider catches the bike in the same way as the previous and mounts the bike.

Bike-to-bike exchanges take place when the two riders making the exchange have drastic height differences. For instance, Laura Bliss has legs longer than the Eiffel Tower, while Helen Han's legs stand at a slightly-below-average height. These lovely ladies will most likely use the bike-to-bike exchange.
  1. In this exchange, the first rider brakes into the pit, dismounting as if she were conducting the dismount-to-mount exchange. The new rider stands with her bike on her right side, tapping the first rider as she brakes. The new rider takes off and mounts.
Riders' Council members teach exchanges to rookies during Rookie Week. Someone who is liable to bruise easily may find these when she wakes up the morning after learning exchanges.


kaylee said...

This is dedication!

Kelsey H said...

or clumsiness...

Blake Wathen said...