The 2015 Little 500
5th May 2015Posted in: Blog, Featured Posts 1
The 2015 Little 500

Experience…past riders and coaches will tell you that with Little 5, experience is a major factor. Being one of the few teams with all four returning riders, we had this advantage going into the race. One thing that is clear as I reflect on my second Little 5, is the amount of real time I can actually recall compared to my first race. During my first race, I was so focused on trying to figure out how to ride the race; I couldn’t pay attention to anything else. However, with incoming race experience I, along with my teammates, were able to analyze and retain the race as it unfolded in real time. In the following post I will try and recap the 65th running of the Little 500 as best I can.

Warming up for the 65th Little 500

Warming up for the 65th Little 500

Laps 1-50: Starting off in 17th place, we had some ground to make up early in the race. I once again started the race, and struggled mightily through the first couple laps. Every time I made a push to the front, the pace of the entire field would increase and made it very difficult to settle in. I eventually made it into solid position, and with a good burn allowed Chris to jump on the front of the pack with ease. From there we experienced few difficulties.

Laps 51-150: With our previous experience, the pace of the race, and our solid positioning we really didn’t have much happen during this time frame. We held solid position in the pack, made good burns, and stayed out of trouble. To our surprise teams were letting others burn with ease, and the pace of the race was much slower than we had anticipated. The team of Sigma Alpha Epsilon made an early move, but after hanging off the front for about 16 laps the field pulled them back in. We made it through this segment with little difficulty, but with 50 laps to go, things would turn ugly.

Laps 151-165: AJ jumped on the bike right around this time. After looking strong all day, he encountered some bad luck. Riding a Black Key Bull rider’s wheel on the outside of the pack, the BKB quickly shot inside of slower riders. With no where else to go, AJ was forced to the outside and was involved in minor wreck. Without hesitation he quickly jumped back on the bike, immediately bringing it in for an exchange. It was my turn to make up the gap. About a ½ lap down and around 45 laps to go, I knew there was work to be done. Luckily the Cutters were also involved in the wreck, so we had a team to work with. After a tough 6 lap set, I had made up about ¼ of the distance and handed the bike off to Chris. As soon as he was on the bike, he was a full speed. After about 3 laps, Chris finished the bridge to the pack.

Joe holding great position

Joe holding great position

Laps 165-196: Shortly after completely the bridge, the largest crash of race occurred in turn 4, causing the race to go yellow for a couple of laps. This gave Chris an opportunity to recover, and when it went green he finished out the set looking fresh. However, around lap 180 things were once again shaken up with Delta Tau Delta team sending an attack off the front. With the help of the field not chasing, and not wanting to do work, their gap quickly turned into a ½ lap. We seemed to be the only ones worried about this attack, and Joe and I were sent in to push the pace and make sure Delts was not going to win the race. Immediately after jumping on the bike for my last set, I felt a cramp setting in on both calves. Pushing myself to the limit I was able to muster out 7 of the hardest laps of my life. Putting Chris on with 9 to go, and leaving Delts only ¼ of a track lead. Again, to our surprise, the field seemed uninterested with the Delts team off the front. Chris kept the pace hot and with 4 laps to go brought the field back together and crushing the dreams of the Delts team.

196-200: Here we were, after battling from our 17th qualifying position, and enduring a crash late in the race. We had the fastest guy on the track and only 4 laps remaining. As we had discussed many times in team meetings leading up to the race, Chris was to take the inside line with 1-2 laps remaining and hold it.

Chris completing the bridge to Delta Tau Delta

Chris completing the bridge to Delta Tau Delta

With the white flag flying, Chris led the pack of Sigma Phi Epsilon, BKB, SAE, Forest, Delts, and ourselves across the start finish line. After holding a hot pace through turns 1 and 2, the Sig Ep rider turned on another gear bringing BKB around as well. After bridging both the pack and Delts earlier in the race, Chris was just too fatigued to match this move. Sig Ep and BKB fought to the finish line with Sig Ep winning in a photo finish. Chris remained in great position and we ended up 3rd on the day, a podium finish and a top 3 finish in Beta Cycling history.

While we are disappointed we did not cross the finish line first, we have no regrets about the race. We over came a lot of adversity throughout the day in order to be in the sprint. Not a lot of teams can say they qualified 17th, were involved in a crash, pushed the pace the whole time, and still almost won. I am so proud of the way this team has conducted itself all year, and how we performed on race day. Congratulations to the team from Sigma Phi Epsilon on their 3rd Little 500 championship, and all other competing teams. While we lose Chris to graduation, we remain the hardest working and most experienced teams out on the track and can’t wait for our next opportunity just one year away.

Thank you for your continued support of our program all year. This year has been quite the ride, and it is all thanks to your involvement. We are lucky to have such great support from our alumni, and as a result, have the fastest bikes out on the track every year, along with the greatest training opportunities available. Thank you again for your support and we look forward to making Beta proud every year come April.

in kai

Kyle Knight


One Response

  1. Tom Highland says:

    Guys, terrific job! So much dedication and it paid off. We are so proud of you all.

    Let’s start rolling for next year.

    _ kai _

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