As some of you may know, this year I am participating in the biggest event at IU: The Little 500.
The chance to ride was not something I had expected to do this year; no organizations I was a part of had a Little 5 team and even though I came to IU wanting to be a rider, I had given up on that dream, putting it in the back of my head, lost. That is, until I had the opportunity to join Theta Phi Alpha, the new sorority on campus. Joining Theta Phi, re-awoke my Little 5 dream and soon we created a team!
But where to begin?
I had attended past races, seen Breaking Away, and even knew other riders, but never had I done much cycling. Yes I knew how to ride a bike, but to race with one? Alas, the world of cycling and the Little 500 had opened its doors to me and my team.
Being a rookie team, none of us had major cycling experience. No one expected how intense the commitment to training would be, the courage and fearlessness needed to even ride on the track, or the strategy behind the race itself. We were lost penguins, just trying to peddle along.
Just when I thought Little 500 had already consumed much of my life, then came ROOKIE WEEK.
Rookie week is the eight days that rookie riders have the track of Bill Armstrong Stadium to themselves. The Riders Council spends time to teach us the correct way to do exchanges, how to ride in packs, and other important aspects of the race. It was hard and challenging, and by the end of rookie week(s), I gained confidence in my team! We may be new, but we’re a force to be reckoned with!
We got Kate and I, the fearsome duo that has an exchange that cannot be beat, Courtney and Claire who keep the competitive atmosphere less stressful with their goofy attitude, and Anna and Sarah the hardest working girls I know! We may all be rookies, but we all have a dedication and competitive drive that gives us the confidence that if we work hard, we will qualify.
Rookie week was also a good experience for us to meet other rookies! It was awesome to become a part of this aspect of IU, to become a part of a group of people with similar interests. Though we are all competing against each other, I feel like I made a lot of friends from other teams! This is an example of one of my favorite things about IU. No matter your interests, your talents, and your personality, you will always find a home.
But now the dream has become real, maybe too real, and the countdown begins to qualifications: 24 days!
Let’s do it. Game on.