Posts Tagged ‘Little 5’

Yes, there’s actually a reason for the skipping class and making bad decisions. I mean, it is college so most students don’t need one, but there is at least some motivation behind this crazy week.

Howdy Wilcox Jr. founded the the Little 500 cycling race in 1951 after the Indianapolis 500. Howdy’s father actually won the Indy 500 in 1919.

The Little 500, or just Little 5, consist of 200 laps around a quarter mile track. Between 4 riders, the teams race to complete 50 miles in the fastest time. There are only four rules:

  1. All riders must use the official Little 500 bike that is provided to them for that year. There can be no toe clips or grips, kick stands, water bottles, air pumps, untaped or unplugged handlebars, or any other add-on accessories.
  2. For the safety of all riders, hard helmets must be worn and buckled at all times, as well as biking gloves.
  3. Each team is required to complete 10 exchanges during the course of the race.
  4. At the 198th lap, all riders not on the lead lap will be asked to move to the back or exit the pack. This is done so that all teams in contention on their last 2 laps can make their attempt to win the race. Teams which do not comply with this rule are believed to be impeding the progress of another rider and will be given a 5- to 20-second penalty or even disqualification, depending on the severity of the violation.

The event has grown into a week long festivity you don’t want to miss. The women’s little 500 was added in 1988 and consists of only 100 laps, or 25 miles. Little 50, a running race, and other Alumni races have been added as well.

But with all that hard work and training, there comes a time for celebration. A lot of celebrating. Every year Bloomington hosts several concerts by some big names in mainstream music. The students and bars take in on themselves to host the rest of the celebrations.

Throughout the years, Little 500 has evolved from just the largest collegiate cycling races, to one of the largest collegiate events, period. It’s not just a day anymore. From the Sunday before to the Sunday after, saying “Little 5” refers to the entire week, not just race day.

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