Tuesday, May 5, 2015

To The Victor: Pride (And Probably A Few Scabs)

Last weekend was The World's Greatest College Weekend, a probably untrue, but aspirational title if there ever was one.  Most notably the Weekend involves the Little 500 races, which are the only reasons that locals and grad students are willing to come on campus over the Weekend.  The two races are legitimately novel in the world, and not just because the only thing that's on the line is pride.  The men's race features in Breaking Away.

Because obviously our uteri might fall out, the women's race is half a long (100 laps instead of 200 laps), but yeah, a bit more of a disaster.  It's high-speed (pack) racing of single-speed bikes on a track made of cinders.  The racers made it three laps before the first crash.

A guy in my program coaches a team and his rider went down in the crash, but got back on.  15 laps later she crashed again, by herself.  We later learned that she broke one collarbone in the first crash, and the other one in the second crash.  If there was ever a reason to be glad that I am a grad student and thus not eligible to race...

The men's race is truer to form.  The teams in contention are comprised of people built like bike riders, and are moving, and have a strategy.  What they also need to have is luck and the willingness to be scrubbing cinders out of their skin for months.

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