Sunday, February 26, 2012

Not much to say... but in a good way!

This website shows an inside look to how crazy some cyclist can get! Many cyclists feel that an image must be upheld while on a bike, and while I somewhat agree, sometimes I like wearing zany socks that don't match my kit.

Anyway, this particular blog post got my particular mind in quite the whirlwind before my ride this afternoon. More specifically, the particular number six (which is also my favorite number) sparked the windy-whirl in my head.

Rule #6 // Free your mind and your legs will follow.

Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike. Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.

Why is it that I ride? What enjoyment do I get from spinning 110 rotations per minute across terrible backroads for hours at a time? I think it's the escape from my real life. Homework, clubs, jobs, bills, parking tickets, grocery shopping, bad dreams, good dreams, pink eye, muscle soreness; when I'm on a bike, those things don't matter. All that matters is the smell of cows' waste in the pastures, climbing up that next hill, and knowing there are more exhausting hills coming soon.

Cycling is a one-[wo]man game. It's about pushing yourself and knowing that you can always go a little harder.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You Might Be a Rookie If...

1. You don’t know where the Wilcox house is.
2. You have to ask someone where Bill Armstrong Stadium is.
3. You show up your first day in sweatpants
4. You also show up the first day with no bike shorts and immediately feel remorse for your private parts
5. No one knows your name so they yell “hey you! You in the yellow!”
6. You think jumping on a bike is going to somehow render your Valentine’s Day null.
7. Your bike is from 2002- and you’re still freakin’ lovin’ it like Schwinn just sent it to you brand spankin’ new.
8. You are afraid to go over the speed of 5 mph
9. Skidding during breaking isn’t even an option- You are no way in hell going fast enough for that.
10. You wear something white to the track- jacket, pants, gloves, etc (this being because you don’t think about getting dirty in the cinder)
11. You don’t even know what cinder is.
12. Hearing how to get cinder out of your leg for the first time is the most shocking and intimidating thing you’ve ever heard.
13. You wear underwear with your bike shorts.
14. You don’t know who won the Little 500 the year before.
15. You don’t know what it means to drop a chain.
16. You have no idea what to do when you drop your chain (after you find what it means)
17. You’re still hesitant to do any kind of work to your bike for fear of getting oil all over your newly manicured hands.
18.  Pack riding means that you are riding at LEAST five feet away from each and every other rider in the “pack”
19. Rider’s Council yells at you to “GET OFF THE BIKE!!!” when practicing exchanges
20. Rollers are the scariest stationary apparatus you’ve ever laid your eyes on (or laid your body on after falling for the 1,000th time.)
21. You take it personally when someone yells at you on the track (while they’re actually only trying not to hit you as they are trying to pull off)
22. You only speak to your teammates- all of the other riders are the still enemy
23. You wear your $150 Ray Bans to the track
24. You would rather look cute than be warm
25. You don’t know what the Cascades are (or Bryan Park, old 36, 446, or Musgrave Orchard)
26. You are shocked when you hear other teams have been riding together since August.
27. You didn’t know there were teams that AREN’T Greek (this only applies to rookies in a house)
28. “Little 5 bikes don’t have different gears?” Comes out of your mouth
29. The thought of missing the seat crosses your mind while jumping on and you end up making it much worse by crashing and burning anyway.
30. You still have a shock value when you see certain teams take their jersey off at any available moment, only to be wearing their bibs and sports bras… -__-
31. You’re sore after day one at the track.
32. You are surprised to hear that there are other events during the year other than the actual race- Like whaaaaat?
33. You’re a little worried to take your test on the IUSF website.
34. You don’t know how to get to the Little5 website
35. You don’t know what IUSF is….
36. You didn’t know that the IU Soccer field is in the middle of Bill Armstrong Stadium
37. You ride backwards on the track
38. You’re embarrassed to yell out what you’re doing (exchange in turn blah blah, pulling off, etc etc)
39. You think that your daily salad intake will be sufficient enough to support your worn out body during Little 500 season. (Someone get that girl a chicken breast)
40. One of the most important memories of your life to date is putting on your team’s kit for the first time.
41. You don’t know that a trainer is something you put your bike on inside instead of an overly, juiced-up, ex-army sergeant yelling at you to do ten more sit ups
42. Your team has already told you what teams to make sure you look at during Rookie Week (obviously so they are all reassured that they have the best rookies on the track)
43. Early, late , late, early, late, rotation, late, early, (text someone to double check you’re the late) early, early, rotate…. Is constantly going through your head so you know you don’t miss your practice when someone asks you to go do something
44. You have no idea how in the HELL to use your clips and you finally learn how to use them and someone tells you that you aren’t allowed to use them on the track. WTF
45. You fall for the first time and you’re more concerned about yourself than your teammate or Heaven forbid your bike (you know, the thing that HAS TO stay together in perfect condition for you to win the race that you’ve been training for all year)
46. Rain and snow now mean that you will be riding in the rain and mud all afternoon. It no longer gets you excited to wear your sweet new Hunter rainboots.
47. Sunshine is the determining factor to whether or not you will be able to feel your face that day.
48. You don’t realize that you are going to have helmet hair after practice so you don’t bring a hat to wear to your class that you have immediately afterwards… There goes your chance with that hot guy in your W131 class… damn you helmet hair…
49.You’re worried about the tan lines you are going to get from your bike shorts, jersey, track injuries, etc. for Spring Break
50.You have a loss for words when the vets on your team tell you that you have to stop drinking at a certain point and you immediately think three things:
a. Don’t I go to IU?
c. How will I survive?
b. Oh well, I guess I can get really drunk really fast come April 21st. BRING ON THE KARKOVVVVV

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Season Opener

There are a lot of great things that come with Spring. Flowers, warm weather, Spring Break, and the ever present longing for Summer becomes even more existent. For some of us, it brings Little 500 season. Feeling the cinder crunch under your (more than likely) worn in tennis shoes for the first time feels better than finally getting that green “correct” picture on your Webwork after spending tireless hours on just one problem. What may feel even better than that is when you take your first lap, you finally get up to speed through turn two, and you feel the tiny black sand-like rocks move under the weight of you and your fixed-gear bike. Then you hear, “On your wheel!” “Overlapping left!” “Inside! Inside!” “Exchange in turn one!” And you quickly snap out of your dream-like state and remember you have to come out of your bike-coma and make sure you don’t crash the whole pack of riders racing around you.

The cold air is hitting your face and making your eyes water so that your tears are going straight back into your hairline and you start thinking about pulling out of the pack. You take five more laps, because you just don’t want to stop peddling. Finally, when your face is numb, your esophagus burns, and you just can’t sniffle anymore, you get to the outside, pull off, and catch some cold air where you hoped you would find your breath. You look up and see the pack racing on the back stretch and you tell yourself that you shouldn’t have pulled off- you could have gone at least another five laps. You can’t feel your face anyways right?

Wait until the pack has cleared and you mesh back in, just as if you had never gone to the pits. Bike-Coma again. You hear the people yelling around you and you snap back into the river-like flow that you had just left on your bike-of-a-raft. Turn three comes in fast and the tears are flying back just as fast as they were before, but this time you do the best you can to wipe them off with your padded glove because this time, you’re going those extra five laps- and probably more. “Inside! Inside!” escapes your mouth as you move ahead to the front of the pack where the wind is going to hit you harder, but you don’t care. Sometimes tears come with hard work, and that doesn’t mean they always come from grief, but also from the joy in success.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is nostalgia.

Yesterday IUCC (Indiana University Cycling Club) hosted a women's training race. There were about thirty girls in attendance from various Little 500 teams. We left from the Sample Gates and headed out through Cascades to Old 37. The Forest Loop is about 30 miles; however, we only raced about 13 of those miles. We had a neutral/rolling start on an up hill and then raced through Hoosier Forest and down Bean Blossom to Andersen Rd.

The lead pack quickly pulled away from the main pack of girls at the start. There was a loose pack of about 5-6 riders (sometimes fewer) that I stayed with for the majority of the race. We took turns pulling up front and drafting off of each other to conserve energy. This was my first road race experience where I could utilize drafting. My prior experiences include triathlons where drafting is not allowed- there must be 15 seconds between riders. Regardless, it was definitely nice to take turns pulling and then being able to "recover" in the back. From my rudimentary calculations, I believe I averaged about 17.6 mph during the race. For some reason my Garmin was on auto-lap so it lapped every mile; however, I was able to download the data and glean some rough statistics. Needless to say, the first thing when I got home was to turn the dumb auto-lap off- it also beeped every mile and that was super annoying.

Even though, I wish I could have finished better, it was a great learning experience and made me realize that I have a lot of work ahead of me- which is kind of exciting. There was a wide range of rider ability in our group- ranging from riders that have rode competitively for a few years to rookies who are just trying to learn the ropes. It is cool to know that after I graduate and my time with Little 500 is over, there are still opportunities to be competitive and test one's strength and endurance. Peace out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meet The 2012 Ride On Team!

Coach Laura Horvath
Hello!  My name is Laura Horvath, and I am the coach for the lovely ladies of RideOn!  I am extremely honored to take part in assisting these young women in preparing for the World's Greatest College Weekend...the Little 500!

While at IU, I participated in the Little 500, riding in 4 races under the team name Cycledelics.  I graduated with high honors in 2006 with a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation and went on to earn a M.S. in Occupational Therapy from IUPUI in 2009.  I am currently living on the south side of Indianapolis with my dog, Rudy (8 lb mini dachshund), and working at a hospital as an Occupational Therapist (OT).  As an OT, I work with adults (who have had an illness, injury, or disability) to assist them in maximizing their independence and quality of life with daily activities (bathing, dressing, cooking, laundry, etc).  In my free time, I enjoy running, reading, watching movies, traveling, and of course, cycling!

I was introduced to the Little 500 my freshman year of college after transferring second semester to IU from Ball State.  A childhood friend of mine was the assistant coach for a men's Little 500 team, and he invited me to hang out at the Little 5 track so that I could meet more people.  He introduced me to all the riders and explained the race.  I was always really involved in sports growing up (cross country and track since age 9 and swimming from age 7), so I quickly became fascinated with the Little 500!  Since it was too late to join a team, I waited until the summer and bought a bike.  My friend who coached the men's team had some of his riders take me out on the roads of Bloomington.  They informed me there used to be a women's team who trained with them called Cycledelics.  They offered to help me get the team started again so that I could participate in the race.  They also encouraged me to go to rookie rides (rides designed for new people to learn the rules of the road).  At the rookie rides, I met a girl named Bri.  She was an awesome rider for Teter who ended up going on to set track records and become a member of the Little 5 Hall of Fame.  Bri was kind enough to take me under her wing and helped me find more teammates.  That year, my team (Cycledelics) rode with 4 rookies and finished 12th place!  We went on to finish 8th, 10th, and 5th respectively over the rest of my Little 5 career.

Through my 4 years as a rider (2003-2006), I learned a lot about the joys, hardships, and disappointments of the race and of growing up.  The lessons I learned from Little 5 still stick with me to this day as I venture out into the "adult" world.  When I think back on my college career and what led me to where I am today, one thing that stands out as a highlight is participating in the Little 500.  Although I would consider myself an average rider, I was very fortunate to have a lot of success on and off the bike.  My greatest accomplishments included being named team captain for all 4 years of racing, being elected to rider's council for 3 years (veteran riders who assist with safety and education of other riders for the race), serving 1 year as rider's council president, earning a Little 500 Women's Colloquium scholarship, and being named an All-Star rider (MVP) by my peers/competitors.  Now, six years later, I am thrilled to add to my accomplishments being named the coach for RideOn!!!

I am extremely grateful to have such a wonderful, dedicated group of young women to share my experiences and knowledge with for this season.  I can't wait to see all of their hard work pay off throughout the spring!  I have always wanted to give back to the race as much as it gave me, so this season, my goal is to help these amazing women walk away from the race with as much love and passion that I have for it.  I hope they are able to look back on their college career with a smile, and appreciate the honor of being one of 132 women to participate in the Women's 2012 Little 500!!

Kelsey Holder
I'm Kelsey Holder and a junior here at IU. After a lifetime of indecisiveness, I finally settled on the majors of journalism and criminal justice. As for what I want to do after I graduate in a year and a half, what don't I want to do? Travel to every continent, teach skiing in Colorado, write for a magazine, write an ethnography on school systems, combat human trafficking, ride my bike across the United States, write a personal memoir under a pseudonym... I rode in the Little 500 last year and fell in love with everything about its connections to IU tradition and spirit. My bike + IU + a race = the best college experience I could have.

Julia Meek
Hi! I'm Julia Meek, a senior double majoring in Journalism and Italian Studies. Originally from Bloomington, IL, I made my way to IU-Bloomington, IN after falling in love with the campus and the programs offered here. Sophomore year, I had the opportunity to ride with the Collins Little 500 team and I have the scars to prove it. Riding in the Little 500 was an incredible experience that I would not  trade for the world. Junior year, I studied abroad for an academic year in Bologna, Italy. I was able to cheer on the newly formed SAA team via skype and talk with the team throughout the season. I am very excited to see what the team is able to accomplish this year!
Morgan Smith
Ciao! I'm Morgan Smith, a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Anthropology. Currently attempting to learn Italian, my dream job is to write and travel with National Geographic. Born and raised a Hoosier, I have been around everything IU since I can remember. After transferring home to IU from Syracuse University, I immediately joined RideOn where I fell in love with the girls and the track. After all the amazing memories from last year, I can't wait to see RideOn compete this spring! 

Danielle Thoe
My name is Danielle Thoe, I am a Senior from Plymouth, Michigan. I am majoring in Public Management at SPEA with a minor in Art History and an Urban Studies Certificate. Currently I'm working as a Teaching Assistant for a couple of SPEA classes, as a transportation planning intern for Campus Bus, and serving as President of IU's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) chapter. After graduation in May I will be attending graduate school for dual master degrees in Urban Planning and Public Policy. This is my 3rd year riding Little 500, but due to my extremely lengthy (and ridiculous) injury history I haven't yet made it to race day. So this is my Senior year, my last shot. I continue riding because the culture behind this race, the experiences I've had, and the people I've met training for it have been incredible!! Now I just need to take that last jump to be on a bike on race day! 

Molly Carroll
Hi!  My name is Molly Carroll and I am from the tiny town of Shelbyville, IN.  I am a Junior majoring in SPEA Management, getting a certificate in Journalism, and minoring in Communications!  I am a Bartender at the Bluebird, so if you’re 21 and feeling a little thirsty, come see me! I am the director of intramurals and IUDM for Committee of the Whole for the Student Alumni Association.  In my free time that barely exists, I like to go skydiving, travel, go geocaching, riding, and hiking with my overly affectionate Boxer/ Mastiff pup, Beau.  This is my first year riding with RideOn and I couldn’t be more excited! 

Mary Horton
Hello! My name is Mary Horton and I am a senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana majoring in psychology. I grew up riding my bike and I have fond memories of scraping gravel out of wounds due to a propensity to fall and crash. One fall day I was feeling particularly nostalgic for these times and decided to take up cycling. It then seemed natural for me to join a Little 500 team so I didn't have to ride alone and change flats by myself. As a result, I have developed a sincere passion for cycling and am more than stoked for Rookie Week to commence. I'd like to note that the friendships and camaraderie that I have developed with my teammates has been added benefit, though one that I certainly did not expect. My additional hobbies include tennis, underwater basket weaving, trainer workouts, spinach smoothies, and Mario Kart. Currently, I am engaging in a bidding war on eBay to purchase two additional Nintendo 64 controllers for use after prohibition. I cannot wait to take part in one of the nation's most prestigious college traditions. 

Helen Han
Hey! My name is Helen Han. I’m a junior majoring in Economics with minors in Spanish, Mathematics and Psychology. I like turtles, Harry Potter, and coffee, and enjoy drawing graphs for my economics classes.

 I’ve been cycling since summer 2008, and this is my second year as a part of RideOn. I was never a competitive person.  However, after riding in last year’s race, all I could think about was Little 500. I’m so excited for the rookies to go through this amazing experience, and can’t wait to see RideOn’s presence on the track as a returning team.

Cycling and I have love-hate relationship. I always think about how much I hate riding my bike during my ride, but the next day, I can’t wait to hit the road again. It’s called “Cycling Amnesia.” I only remember the good things! This is why, after countless accidents, lots of freezing weather, bruises from exchanges, and taking cinders out of my legs with a needle, I’m still a part of RideOn. 

Laura Bliss
Hey everyone!  My name is Laura Bliss, I am senior studying Communication and Culture, and this will be my 2nd year riding for RideOn.  Originally from St. Louis, MO, I grew up attending summer camp where I would go on bicycle tour trips that lasted anywhere from 5 days to 3+ weeks at a time.  My involvement on the Committee of the Whole with the Student Alumni Association has been the brightest highlight of my college experience, so combining that with my love of biking was an obvious choice last year when the team was created.  This year I have the honor of serving as a member of Riders Council, where my job is to serve to teach and inspire new Little 500 riders and act as a liaison between IUSF and the Little 500 community.  I love everything about Little 500: the great tradition, the competition, the excuse to explore Bloomington, and, of course, my amazing teammates.  I'm excited to see all of our hard work pay off this spring!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Plug Out Challenge!!

This past Saturday RideOn competed in our first pre-Little 500 team event, the Plug Out Challenge!! During this event, put together by IUSA and IUSF, we rode on bikes that are plugged into the wall. During a workout they turn the rider's mechanical energy into electrical energy, which is then fed back into the grid. Not only do these bikes provide a great workout, they reduce energy bills and make the SRSC more sustainable! The Plug Out challenge measured the wattage output of all competing teams and the team with the highest output would WIN!

On the day of the event Mary and I went to the SRSC in the morning to scope out our competition and try to form a strategy. There were 11 women's teams scheduled to compete and we wanted to make a name for ourselves! During each team's 18 minute set, all 4 riders must take the bike (only) once. This means we would all be riding the same bike, and although three of our team's scheduled riders were about the same size and could ride at the same seat height, I am a shorty and needed a different size. In watching other teams we realized that many precious seconds are lost in the time it takes riders to adjust the seat up or down, so we decided to get rid of that problem!! Our strategy, from here on referred to as "The Thoe," was for the person getting onto the bike (tall person) to begin her set standing, while the person getting off the bike (me) would adjust the seat height. We would only adjust the height once and would have almost zero down-time. Brilliant!

When we got to the SRSC to check in, a handful of women's teams had already completed their runs, the leader-board showed Teter in the lead putting out an incredible average of 261 watts! In second was Army Women with 207, followed by Kappa Delta with 206 watts. Clearly our work was cut out for us. After checking in Laura, Mary, Molly, and I were given a 20 minute warm up period to get all those big muscles on our legs fired up. We did a few practice runs of "The Thoe" and posed for some beautiful pictures.

We decided that I would ride first, followed by Laura and then Molly, each of us doing 4 minute sets; Mary was charged with finishing out the remaining 6 minutes of our 18 minute set. At least that was the plan. At the event's start, we were not allowed to begin pedaling the bike that our wattage was being recorded on, so when time started and I tried to pedal I was in for a rude surprise. The frat guy pedaling before me might have been a bit stronger than I and he had the resistance dialed up incredibly high. Just to get my legs spinning I was cranking out 350 watts of power...not good for the rest of my 4 minute set. After 3:30 I was feeling the effects of my start and called Laura over to jump on, she got on and pedaled away as I completed "The Thoe." Laura beasted through her 4 minutes before calling to Molly to hop on. Molly spun away for 3:45 before Mary jumped on. With over 6:30 left on the clock, and no possibility to switch riders again, Mary was left to power out the remainder of our time. And that she did!! With lots of encouragement from the rest of us, and legs of steel, Mary chewed up that 6:30 like it was nothing.

After those exhausting 18 minutes were finished the lovely IUSA gentleman quickly looked at our wattage, 227! That was good enough to slot us in at second right behind Teter. As we moved over to the cool down station we were all feeling pretty good about the numbers we had just laid down. Not only that, but we had just put out a higher wattage than two teams that finished higher than us in last year's race!

Throughout the final few teams of the evening, Delta Gamma did manage to knock us down to 3rd place, but that's still a result we're SUPER proud of. We beat some really good teams, and based on how tired we all were the rest of the night, we definitely left everything we had on the bike!!

Plug Out final standings: