Jan 31, 2010

The best of Little 500 in the 2000s

The end of the decade provokes many lists of dubious quality. Therefore I’d like to add my own and suggest the 10 most important Little 500 moments of the 2000s. Disagreements and additions welcome…

10- ITTs 2005- The do-over record.

The scene was set for a record breaking ITT that went all wrong when Hans Arnesen broke his chain in the starting effort and in a fit of petulance rolled his bike down the track almost taking out Sasha Land. That would have been it for a 'lesser' rider but in the cold 10pm darkness IUSF allowed Hans to ride again and in an almost deserted stadium crushed the ITT record. How long will the record stand? I'd give it a 30% chance of surviving to May 2011.

9- Mens Race 2005- The Crash
Chas Pall’s wheel twitched on the loose cinders, Hans Arnesen over-reacted and over 20 teams hit the deck. The most amazing crash in L5 occurred in turn 1 of lap 1 leaving just 8 teams in contention. Mark Zalewski’s photos of the wreck are a painful joy to behold.

8- Quals 2008- Look both ways.
Kappa rider Coleen Groth rounded turn 4 picking up speed as she started her effort. Unfortunately she ended up on the floor with a broken clavicle as IUSF red shirter John Herrel attempted (and failed) to cross the track, colliding with her back wheel. It was like watching in slow motion as those of us in the stand thought 'he's not going to cross the track now is he'? Well he did and Kappa has really not been the same since. Herrel of course feels terrible about the whole affair and theories that his rash move was precipitated by the smell of pizza from the press-box are unknown.

7- Womens Race 2009-Pi Phi!

Does anymore need to be said? Rarely does a team under the radar even compete, let alone win the race. Caroline Brown rode a perfect race and was a deserving winner, nothing more to say than that.

6- Womens L5 2008- Faltering Favorites.
Teter placed 4 riders in the MnO final and were overwhelming favorites to win the main event. All seemed to be doing to plan when Sarah Rieke put in a big effort and took a half lap lead at around half distance. Amazingly Theta clawed their way
back to the leaders and then....nothing! For whatever reason the two riders sat up and allowed it all to come back together with DG eventually prevailing. Sitting up with half a lap lead is an unheard of occurrence and sadly it was Teter who paid the price.

5- Quals 2006- Only Women Out.
In the increasing gloom Gamma Phi and Pi Phi took to the track for their fourth attempts hopeful to avoid the ignominy of being the only Womens team who have ever failed to qualify. Pi Phi led off with a cautious yet successful effort. Gamma Phi were looking good on time as they went into their third exchange. The young lady jumped on the bike yet did not maintain full control and seemingly in slow motion the bike and rider rolled into the gutter. Celebration was impossible as an awkward silence descended on the stadium. Hopefully we'll see another full Womens field soon.

4- Final lap 2004- Crash and Controversy.
Six riders crossed the line with 1 lap to go, each with a decent chance of
winning. Rounding turn 2 touch of wheels took out TMT, Briscoe, Fiji and Acacia
leaving ATO and the Cutters alone. Out of turn 4 Hans Arnesen clearly altered his line preventing Chris Vargo from passing. With commendable speed the chief steward reversed the result leaving ATO the only team to cross the line first and not win the race. For what it's worth, the Cutters would have likely won with no crash and no impeding, Vargo was the fastest that year.

3- Womens Race 2002- All Wangerin all the time.

However many laps Jenn Wangerin rode for the victorious Roadrunners is almost unimportant. Such was her dominance that she could have lapped the field but chose instead to destroy everyone in the sprint, toying with everyone else as a kitten plays with a ball of twine. A master-class fitting for a rider destined for the Olympic training program.

2- Mens Race 2000- Woj reigns supreme.
Although I didn’t observe it the second occasion of lapping the field in the new stadium occurred after a masterful performance from Chris Wojtowich of the Cutters. The legend goes that Woj got a gap, the rest of the team maintained and then Woj would lengthen the gap next time on the bike. The whole process of taking a lap took an agonizing 100 laps. Woj’s second victory was a appropriate end to a legendary career.

1- Mens Race 2006- A quick strike amid the confusion.
Whether you feel he was aided by creeping under yellow or benefited
from a confused field, Hans Arnesen’s achievement to lap the field within 10 laps was a remarkable occurrence. A chance opened up and he took it with both hands and produced arguably the greatest individual ride in L5 history.


Tom said...

The Cutters lapped the field in 1992.

Anonymous said...

I guess that juicy tidbit doesn't really do a whole lot for an article titled "The Best of the Little 500 in the 2000's."

Geraint Parry said...

Tom- noted and amended. Thanks.

Chartier said...

top two in wrong order in my opinion

Anonymous said...

How does lapping a field with 4 riders in 100 laps beat lapping the field with 1 rider in 30 laps?...

Anonymous said...

Because half of Han's lap was due to a crash and gaining much time under a yellow flag. No teams were together chasing amid the confusion. In 2000, there was a direct attack, a group of 4 chasing hard, and no yellow flags to rest. 1 guy made up the whole lap, the others held position in very short sets

Anonymous said...

Cutters lapped the field in about 60-65 laps with 3 guys. The 4th guy didn't ride during the attack.

Bilko said...

No mention of Major Taylor Velodrome here.... a missing section, IMHO.

RajMahall said...

Based on lap numbers as quoted above, to lap in 10 laps versus 100 laps cements the Arneson lapping as #1. As for #10, really, only a 30% of the men's ITT record holding up until '11? I'll take the 70% side.

Todd said...

"the ten most important Little moments of the 2000s."

Depending on what one defines as "most important" will change this list dramatically. TMT and CB had a huge affect on the race and should be included as should the Cutters 3-peat/5 in a decade. IUSF addressed TMT and will likely address the Cutters (especially if they make it four in a row). As great as Hans was, he didn't cause a "change" in the rules of race, so having him involved in 4 of the 5 spots for the men's race is silly.

As for 30% on the ITT record, assuming that is the likelihood of bad weather, I'd say it is about right.

Todd said...

effect on affect - sorry for the poor grammar.

Geraint Parry said...

Agreed they are important issues but I thinking more of discrete events...many of which I'm sure I missed. I'm more intrigued as to how IUSF are going to 'address' the Cutters? Will we see Patches Schroeder exchanging with a bag of potatoes on his back in 2011?

Anonymous said...

The amount of laps it took are way off. Have you watched both races?

Half of Hans's lap was under a YELLOW FLAG meaning Hans was going about 20mph while the pack was going about 12 mph. Super impressive ride, but unfortunately not as hard. Woj also got a half lap lead in his first set. I still think Hans could have lapped the field that day if not for the yellow because he was clearly faster than everyone by a long shot, but the creeping was completely unfair and tarnishes a great feat that didn't need to be tarnished, and also encourages all leading teams to ride as fast as possible to gain an advantage over other teams that cannot only not see the leaders, but also are being told to go even slower while already losing a lot of ground.

Anonymous said...

I find it slightly amusing that Geraint Perry used Hans in all but one of his examples of men's races. 1)Hans being unsportsmanlike and then breaking the record.
2)Hans being unstable in the pack and taking out almost the whole field.
3)Hans cheating and losing the race
4)Hans gaining an advantage under yellow to lap the field in an asounding "10" laps.

Why those 4 moments were the most important of the deacde, sounds more like "how far can I swing each way from Hans's nuts.

Anonymous said...

Comments like that show why Hans could be included so many times- he was a lightening rod for opinion and also happened to have a rather eventful Little 500 career. Obviously I missed some stuff (Teter TP record, the Kovac/Sapp duel for example) but it's only a list of 10...

ps Its Parry.

Anonymous said...

Im confused...How can you creep on the field when your in the front??? Can't the riders behind him go faster....That's an idea...hahaha

Anonymous said...

Actually no. The guys are warned that they cannot go that fast at the front under yellow, and do it anyway and can be penalized for it because it would be deemed unsafe, hence "caution flag" because a wreck is involved. Secondly, the judges are screaming at the riders that they are going too fast and must slow down, or will themselves get penalized.

4 out of 5 though and all Hans? I think part of it stems from you not being on campus for all 10 years.

I would have thought ATO missing the race the year after lapping the field was one of the most shocking things I saw last decade.

Geraint Parry said...

Good thought. That is one I would add if I'd though of it therefore highlighting the perils of this sort of list.

Zach Osterman said...

Good list, my only thing is that, if I remember correctly, Hans broke the record in '05, and '06 was the chaindrop year. I'm almost positive he set the track record before I got to school, and the chaindrop was my freshman year. Norwich City forever, Geraint. Osty

Anonymous said...

Hmm, good point. I would just assume he set the record the year he lapped the field, but with wind and track conditions there is about a 7-9 second leeway there.

Anonymous said...

2005 is the track record, it's on the iusf website: 2.15.78

2006 he set the record for the 2nd fastest ITT: 2:17 something.

MKubal said...

Well done Geraint! This was a fun read.

Anonymous said...

Good read and cool blog overall. #5 is factually incorrect, however, and I see that was referenced for factual input into an IDS article.

Gamma Phi Beta botched their bike exchange on their 3rd attempt. The Pi Beta Phi team had already faulted on their 3rd attempt and needed another team to follow suit for a race-off.

Once Gamma Phi dropped their exchange, the awkward silence was heard and a race-off was held where Pi Phi held off Gamma Phi Beta by nearly 1.5 seconds.