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The Little 500 (racing at its best)
Last Post 04/25/2017 10:53 PM by Frederick Jones. 2 Replies.
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79pmooney

Posts:1756

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04/25/2017 11:54 AM
The Little 500, immortalized by "Breaking Away" happened again last weekend.  That other site featured an article: http://www.velonews.com/2017/04/feature/cinder-chess-little-500_436242

That race is alive, well and taken very seriously (by some.  It is described as a Cat 1-8 race.  200 laps.  The 8s get lapped 98 times.)

For those in the running, the race is taken as seriously as a pro race.  Continuing after crashes is the norm.  Puking from the effort - not unusual.  And the fans?  This is far more like Europe, lots of them and they are passionate!  25 thousand.  Winners get mobbed.

The bikes have advanced a lot.  Modern (cheap aluminum) track bikes but still with ridiculously low geared single speed coaster brake hubs and platform pedals.  Race RPM?  Think 130.  More when the leaders "burn" out ahead to get enough of a gap to still be at the front after an exchange.  Tactics a lot like Madison racing except the exchanges cost a lot more so the stronger your team is, the fewer exchanges you have to to.

The following is a spoiler: The winning team held its star "closer" for the final laps, then he rode them without help while other teams tired.  This after the team star started the race, taking a long stint to get the team well clear of the riff-raff (Cats 6-8) before his less experienced teammates spelled him.

Racing at its best!

Ben
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2182

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04/25/2017 01:23 PM
A few (personal) musings reacted to the Little 500 (and BTW, that VN article was pretty damn good)....read it this AM.

1) My oldest daughter is finishing her freshman year @ IU and attended this year's race....she took great delight in explaining tactics and strategy to her friends. She called me last night and said "I didn't realise I missed watching bike racing with you". She's a good kid. She and her friends are kinda talking about getting a team together at some point, but I think that is nothing more than the usual "yeah, we should do that!" kinda talk after a big like that. But I hope she does....either way, she said she wants to go out on our tandem this summer, so I'm good with it!!

2) The bikes they are using now are the offspring of a bike I put together back in my bike biz days. At Brunswick, we had the "Roadmaster" brand and, as such, gave IU the bikes for the race. During my time there, we switched them over to the Mongoose brand developed an "modern" version of the old AMC Roadmaster bikes...single speed, coaster brakes, one piece cranks, etc. but with oversized aluminum frames. After Pacific Cycles bought the Brunswick bike division, they later bought Schwinn and changed the bikes for the Little 500 over to the Schwinn brand from Mongoose.

3) Back when I went to school at Miami (OH), we had our own version of the race called the 20/20. Was a pretty big deal and my last year there we managed to win the race....the guy who handed the bike to me didn't get a sufficient gap on the field so I came out ofte pits behind the pack....completely on the limit for a couple of laps, but not gaining ground. Suddenly a guy named Brad Paul, who was super-strong, came up around me and I jumped on his wheel. Got back into the pack, finished my turn and then handed it off to our final rider who took the win. The strategy of how to handle transitions was a HUGE part of the race....it really decides the race.

I'm hoping to go down one of these years to watch the race....maybe I'll even have a rooting interest in the outcome.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
longslowdistance

Posts:1498

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04/25/2017 10:53 PM
I work with a guy who rode in this race with his frat. He didn't know much about cycling but he and his team did reasonably well. He got interested, dabbled in track racing at Major Taylor and made cat 2. A real talent, but he never really went all in and shortly after moved on to other things, career, etc. Lucky guy to have such talent.
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