Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Let's do this for real

Our team no longer consists of "rookies". We all have been on the track and suffered the numerous bruises up and down our legs. The unexpectedly long, three week process for Helen, Kelsey, Laura, and I is over.

I, Morgan Smith, have ridden a Little 5 bike, on the Little 5 track. Who would have thunk it. This whole experience is scary, yet exhilarating for me. The very first day, we were all a couple of minutes late to our group on the first turn because there was a long line to check out the bikes. All of the sudden we were expected to run and jump on the bike. At the next station, 20 minutes later, we were supposed to ride fast, and get off. I was cool on the outside, but I was freaking out on the inside… wondering how in the world am I going to do this?

Almost three weeks later, we can all do it… and in a full exchange. Maybe it's not the prettiest thing quite yet, but after much more practice, our exchanges will be as awesome as chocolate cake with ice cream.

Now it's time to practice, train, and get ready for the LITTLE 500!!!

Not just a busy weekend for the riders...

Little 500 weekend is, reportedly, the busiest weekend of the year for the Bloomington and Indiana University Police Departments.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bike Build and Team Dinner

Last Friday the ladies of RideOn gathered at my house to enjoy some wonderful food and an adventure into bike building! Each team gets two Little 500 model bicycles to use during that year's practices, series events, and race. The Little 500 bicycles come neatly tucked into their Schwinn boxes and its each team's job to get their 'cycles in working order.

There are no complicated gears or brakes to deal with during building, and we needn't worry about damaging the sturdy (heavy) frames. Every piece of these bikes can either be screwed in by hand, or simply wrenched together and aside from breaking away for some lasagna, salad, and garlic bread they went together pretty quickly.

Each year's Little 500 bicycles have a unique paint job that represents Indiana University and the Indiana University Student Foundation that puts on the race. This year's bikes did not disappoint with a retro-styled cream and crimson coloring encasing the bike's frame. But our most favorite part of the bikes is the warning sticker below the handlebars explaining that this bike was "not designed for competition," as well as just about every other use one might have for a bicycle.

Of course after building our new bikes we needed to ride them. And though it was dark out and Laura rides very fast, I was able to capture this rare picture of her flying by.

And thanks to my roommate Jobe, a fellow Little 500 rider for the men's team Rainbow Cycling we got this lovely team shot of our successful bike build! Unfortunately Kelsey was sick with the flu and couldn't join us, but the other ladies of RideOn are (from L to R) Helen, Morgan, Danielle, Megan, and Laura.

The Inspiration for Little 500

The Little 500 is modeled after the Indianapolis 500.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This is why I ride.

On Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, Kelsey Holder arrived at her apartment after a sunny afternoon on the track. Soreness from workouts shot through her muscles, and she knew a nap was necessary before any Thursday night adventures would occur. She awoke around 8:00 p.m. to a text from a friend. Standing, her brain exploded into vibrations that only come from the loudest of concerts. She shivered and goosebumps lined her arms. She stumbled. Was she dying? No!

A thermometer two minutes later told her she was ill. The flu. 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

A week of sleep followed.

Today, one week later, I stepped back onto the track. Stress lifted from my shoulders, and I felt free. Relief, calm, contentment. Whatever a day or week brings, a bicycle always makes it better.
This is why I ride.

Rookie week picture from IDS

Miss-N-Out during Rookie Week.

Our wonderful Laura Bliss was in the Final Top 5!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Words from the World's Greatest Biker

     Lance Armstrong once said that the Little 500 was “the coolest event [he] ever attended.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Did you know...?

The Little 500 began in 1951. However, the women's race was not started until 1988.

Introducing...the ladies of RideOn

Meet Megan Caldwell, Danielle Thoe, Laura Bliss, Kelsey Holder, Morgan Smith, and Helen Han--the RideOn 2011 bikers.

Megan Caldwell is a junior from Lafayette, California majoring in Policy Analysis (SPEA) as well as Near Eastern Language and Culture. A VP of Membership for SAA, Caldwell wanted to bring a Little 500 team to the organization so more IU students could have a team to cheer for during the “world’s greatest college weekend.” Caldwell has had experience riding in the Little 500 in the past, riding for Relativity—a team that disbanded later. Caldwell enjoyed riding in the race a lot last year and cannot wait to start another season, and begin a new tradition for the members of SAA.

Danielle Thoe is a Public Management and Art History major from Plymouth, Michigan. In addition to being a dedicated biker, Thoe can also lick her elbow. Thoe decided to race in the Little 500 this year in order to get more involved in the traditions here at IU. And, in her words, “there is nothing more important during spring time at IU than the Little 500.”

Laura Bliss is a junior from St. Louis, Missouri majoring in Communication and Culture. Additionally, Bliss is also a member of the LAMP program. Bliss chose to participate in Little 500 this year because she loves being an active member in her community and participating in the activities that make that community unique.  Her involvement in both SAA and Little 500 demonstrates this. For Bliss, SAA has provided an opportunity to be more involved in several communities: the tight-knit SAA community and the IU community as a whole.  SAA offers members endless opportunities to get involved; intramurals, families, etiquette dinners, and Homecoming festivities…the list goes on.  When Bliss is at SAA events, she does not feel as though she is wasting her time. Rather, she feels she is making the most of her time by engaging in community events and activities she is interested in—with people whom she wants to be with. 
The Little 500 has been a similar experience for her.  Bliss saw this incredible event, one of the major traditions that IU holds, for the first time two years ago and decided that she had to be a part of it, no matter what.
As a former member of IU Student Foundation, she has been able to both contribute to the planning of Little 500 and see the action up close.  The excitement, passion and dedication put into the race has been contagious for her.
Additionally, biking has been a part of her life for several years.  She spends her summers biking across the country, and loves riding her bike for fun, exercise, and with friends—all the time!  Being able to bring this love of biking to IU is something she appreciates greatly.  For her, biking with RideOn will undoubtedly be the ultimate combination of things she loves, and she could not be more excited to see the team succeed!

Kelsey Brooke Holder is a sophomore journalism student at IU. She grew up in Fort Branch, Indiana and has spent many summer afternoons riding her bike on back road hills. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys striking up intimate conversations with strangers and exploring her surroundings during long walks. She is an avid Hulu watcher, drinks what she considers to be “too much Diet Coke” and loves working a good Sudoku puzzle. When stressed, she enjoys painting and believes that the best gifts are crafted by hand, from the heart.

Morgan Smith is a freshman from Bloomington, Indiana majoring in marketing and minoring in graphic design. Not previously a biker, Smith decided to participate in the Little 500 this year in order to be a part of a great Hoosier Tradition—an opportunity she feels that she simply could not pass on. When she is not training for the race, Smith enjoys playing golf and her violin—activities that she also did during high school.

Helen Han is a sophomore majoring in Economics and minoring in Spanish and Psychology. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Han moved to Bloomington when she was 11 years old. Han decided to race in the Little 500 because she loves biking. An experienced biker, she started getting involved with biking in summer 2008, with deCycles. DeCycles is a 3-week cross-country bike trip held annually. With deCycles, Han has ridden 1,350 miles through Arizona, Utah and Colorado, 1,700 miles in a loop around Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as from Seattle to Los Angeles through pacific mountains. On these trips, there were roughly 65 riders ages 13 to 60. The bikers rode approximately 90 miles a day in pace lines of 7 or 8 riders. However, although Han has a lot of experience riding her bike, she has never actually raced before. She feels that this will make Little 500 very different and challenging for her, and is very excited to race as a part of RideOn this year!