I cannot believe it has come and gone, but I will never compete in another qualification for the Little 500. I knew this going in, and wanted to make sure it was a special day. For the third year in row we drew a time before 8:30am and would be one of the first teams to attempt to qualify for the 2016 Little 500. What follows is a recap of the day, and preview of the Spring Series events taking place leading up to the race.
This year’s qualifications epitomized the Little 500 in a single day; pressure, excitement, and a little bit of controversy. After watching most of the IU vs UNC game the night before, we woke up around 5:30 am and quickly hurried over to AJ and I’s house to start cooking breakfast and prepare for our day. We made sure to leave plenty of time to not feel rushed, and ensure we were prepared mentally. After a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast, and yogurt we departed for our warm up ride around 6:15 with Colten ’18 following behind with the brights of his car on. There is something about riding in the dark with 3 of your closest brothers that really zones you in, and makes you feel like you are about to embark on something special.
We returned to the house around 7:20am, and the house was in full swing. We dodged as many brothers as possible in order to ensure we kept our mental edge. Alumni Tom Laser and Chris Craig met us in the bike room and assisted us in getting our rollers and pump to the track. Around 7:30 we scurried our way over to the track, the temperature at a mere 37 degrees, and began our second warm up of the day. Posting up in turn 2 of the track, we spun on rollers, listening to music, and visualizing our run. After watching AXO, our pair this year, and FIJI post great times we knew we had an opportunity to flex our muscles.
We took the track at 8:10 with the order of Me to Jack to AJ to John ready to go. After starting my fly lap I knew something was instantly wrong, my saddle was pointed straight at the ground and I could not get into a rhythm. However, luck would be on our side. Throwing the exchange to Jack, he took too many steps to the left and stepped in the gutter we were instantly called for a fault. Immediately, I contested that we had a mechanical error, and therefore were rewarded an additional run, we still had 3 remaining. 10 minutes later we were back on the track, flying around the track I threw a clean exchange to Jack and he to AJ. Finally, AJ came around and tossed one of the smoothest exchanges I had ever seen to John who finished in a blistering 34-second lap. We would end up qualifying 10th overall with a time of 2:25.4 seconds, the fastest quals run any of us have ever done.
We were floored with our results, but knew our day wasn’t over yet. With our early time we knew we could take advantage and ended up deciding on a group ride with one of the local teams. At noon we rolled out on the group ride, one of which was the AXO coach Dave, and ended up doing just under 40 miles in 2 hours.
This qualification will definitely be one of my favorite memories of Little 500 when I look back on it. I cannot believe it is over, but could not be more excited for the next 3 weeks leading up to the race. Here is a preview of Spring Series.
March 30th, 2016 – ITT’s
JJ Jaggard: 4:05
Colten Renier: 6:35
AJ Sood: 7pm
John Hyndman: 8:15
Kyle Knight: 9:25
Jack McNamara: 9:55
April 2nd – Miss N’ Outs
Seeds will be based on results of ITT’s
April 10th – Team Pursuit
April 16th – 66th Running of the Little 500
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