Mar 11, 2010

Spring Break Challenge

This should be a lot of fun and an interesting primer for Fantasy Little 500!

From Jim Kirkham-
'2010 Little 500 Spring Break Challenge

Attention all riders, there will be some racing at the Little 500 track on Thursday March 18th. There will be some organized races to help get you ready for the big race. We will be putting on a:

10 lap scratch race
20 lap madison (bike-to-bike exchange)
7 mile points race with sprints every 4 laps
3 lap Keirin

Racing will be in the afternoon track session. Rain date is Friday'

I wonder who'll be riding the Derny?


Jenny said...

Since when do the Cutters get to run events at the track. Spring Break track is for the teams who choose or cannot afford to go on break. What if my team wants to hold races, do I get to? IUSF this is a terrible idea!


Anonymous said...

Hold them on Saturday or Sunday, our team is new to Little 500 we need all the track time we can get.

Anonymous said...

kill the cutters!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"There will be some organized races to help get you ready for the big race. We will be putting on a"

Who is "you" and who is "we". I don't need Kirkham telling me how to prepare for the big race. Shouldn't this come from Pam and not Kirkham.

Anonymous said...

Kirkham's idea sounds like a good one to me. It is an opportunity for the teams that stick around to get some good on the track experience in a race like setting. I am hoping that the teams that stay in Bloomington work together, to the extent possible, to make for a productive week and to fully utilize the facilities that are available to those teams that stay.

Brian Drummy

Anonymous said...

The best way to train for racing is to... race

Mike said...

This is just an opportunity for the better teams to show off. How does one team's coach get to make this happen without any input from any of the other teams. It's like Kirkham controls the track on Spring Break. Are alumni involved, are there separate women's races. What happens if some alumni accidently takes out a current student? Is it just tough luck for that team? I am for working together all the time, but working together doesn't mean that one person decides what goes on for one afternoon at the track during Spring Break.

Anonymous said...

If Feldman and Young what to impress Brown and Metherd, let them do it on their own time, not my team's track mine.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how this is beneficial to the average Little 500 team.

Keirin is a mass-start track cycling event in which 6-9 sprinters compete at one time in a race with a paced start. Riders draw lots to determine starting positions and start as the pacer (which could be a motorcycle, a derny, or a tandem bicycle, for example) approaches. The riders are required to remain behind the pacer, which starts at the deliberately slow speed of about 25 km/h, gradually increasing in speed and leaves the track approximately 600-700 meters before the end, at a speed of about 50 km/h. The first cyclist to finish the race is the winner (sometimes finishing at 70 km/h).

Anonymous said...

The benefit of the Keirin is to show that Eric Young can spin at over 150rpm behind the motor bike thus crushing the spirit of the remaining riders a week before quals. It'll be the soonest that a Cutters team has ever won Little 5.

Todd said...

Relax people. It's for fun! Kind of like a group of kids saying, "hey, kickball game in the vacant lot at 3 tomorrow!"

Anonymous said...

No, it's like a group of bigger kids telling the other kids to get off the playground, because they want to show off.

Todd said...

You obviously don't know Kirkham. The guy has 7 rings. He doesn't need to show off and it's not his style.

A buddy of mine has a saying, "Why race when you're just clubbing baby seals?" That sums up why I know this is just for fun.

Anonymous said...

7 rings, did he steal some from Fowler. I know Jim and he is a good guy, but this uncalled for.
This clearly benefits the Cutters and the high tier teams, at the expense of the other teams. It also smacks of cronyism because is looks like the Cutters get to dictate track activity. There is even a rain date, hell, the series events don’t even get a rain date, and Jim does? It is clear that some Cutters think they own the track, it looks like IUSF is just confirming that fact.

When do I get to dictate what happens on the track? I got the email from Pam about the track times; I would think that something this out of the ordinary would have been mentioned then and in a more official manner than on BVN (nothing against you GP). You can try to paint this as some altruistic thing, but it is clearly a very bad precedent to set.

Vargo said...

Drummy, you're spot on! Plus, if any of you knew Kirkham, you would know he's trying to help the event as a whole. He always has and always will. I've never heard one selfish thing come out of his mouth...ever.

Tom said...

Well Chris, for the record, this sounded a bit selfish to me back in 2007 and it still does...

I don’t think any coach should be allowed on the track. Only the riders should be. I think the coach has no affect on it at all. It sort of comes of ego if you think it does. Jim Kirkham March 26, 2007 IDS


Todd said...

I just don't get it. You guys make it sound like the track is closed for this event. It's no different when a team does a TP run or a quals run during spring break but there will be several teams involved.

If another team proposed this, there wouldn't be an issue.

Oh, and Tom, say what you will, you'll still be invited to the victory party.

Jim said...

The races are going to be held during OPEN track practice. Practice will not be put on hold during these events. This is no different than a bunch of riders (men and women) riding in a pack. Just like in L500, the lead pack has to negotiate the slower riders.

This helps the average team because they get a chance to learn from more experienced riders.

Clayton Feldman said...

For once ever we(we being the Cutters) have chosen to shed our bad 'rep' of never ever riding with other teams, something that is far too often cried about, and have chosen to invite you (all the teams that stay in Bloomington) to join in a day of FUN and more Organized racing like situations.
Now I don't want this interperited as we(the Cutters) taking over the track, the events will be small and those teams that choose to use our venue do so of their own free will, like all racing if you get hurt it happens. We have done such events on our own in the past and have never heard a word of complaint. However teams that choose not to use this event will not suffer because of it, the track will still be open and their will be plent of room for everyone.
I really hope all those that are up in arms are not current riders, because I think that most current riders will be excited to have FUN on the track and race aganist those whom they will be competing aganist.
I hope everyone has a great break, if you are staying in town I'll see you at the track.
Clayton Feldman

Anonymous said...

Everyone here is jumping to conclusions. The track is still open to everyone. The Cutters aren't shutting down the track. If I'm not mistaken, alumni have been allowed on the track for several years during Spring Break. Now, if they are doing something out of the ordinary that is dangerous, like a motorcycle on the track while other riders are just trying to ride it, then I completely understand the safety issue. Otherwise this is a case of not having the facts, and Cutters trying to do something fun for everyone if they choose, and if not great. is there a rule against this? This is a blog post. This is not an announcement from IUSF.

Obviously, if this thing gets too big maybe a new rule would have to be added to avoid safety issues. If anything, the extra people on the track would mess with the races more than it would mess with the people on the track not participating in them, as the riders will have to go around everyone, or have to slow way down if someones in their way.


Erik Hamilton said...

This is an idiotic discussion, if you do not want to participate...then don't. Quit bitching and grow a pair. If you think this is an opportunity for the Cutters to show off then go out there and beat them. Quit being afraid and step up. I do not know why everyone lives in fear.


Anonymous said...

There are supposedly 33 teams in town, both men and women, teams are allowed to have 4 riders on the track at once. That's four tiomes as many as on race day. The track is not THAT big. Especially considering the skill levels that will be present.

While I know that the Cutters NEVER wreck, what if someone else does, whose insurance covers this. What if an errant Madison exchange at speed hits another team. If there are non-insured riders, those who have not signed the IUSF paperwork, a lawyer would have a field day and IUSF would be the target. Say goodbye to the Little 500. You want to run a 3 lap Keiren, As Geriant said whose driving the derney.

But, hey, the Cutter's are all for it so it must be good for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming the "kierin" will simply be led out by a rider on a little 5 bike, not a motorized vehicle, as I don't believe motorcycles are allowed on the track.

and the last commentor did not read kirkham's post correctly: the "Madison" will use bike-to-bike exchanges. not real Madison exchanges.

the track is open from 11am to 7pm during spring break. I doubt all 33 teams will be riding all their riders for the entire session.

Hamilton- this is not an idiotic discussion. people are passionate about their track practice time and they don't want that to be threatened by something they have no influence on. by the way, you have very constructive advice, not.

I wish I was still riding and able to participate. . . sounds like the beginning of a neat little tradition.

Anonymous said...

Lets RACE!

Anonymous said... I decided to travel far away from this drama to get my miles in for the week. Enjoy the weather!

Anonymous said...

im bringin my crotch rocket out on the track and im gonna blow the cutters away!!! Take that Kirkam!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think this was meant to be made into a mockery of other teams...The Cutters are a totally different group of guys than they may have been perceived as in the past; why doesn't someone step up and be the better man and work with them instead of against them. No offense but they have obviously been doing something right over the years so maybe riders of all different skill levels would benefit from a fun and unique twist to training...I don't even like the Cutters but after seeing this bullshit blog I hope they shit stomp everyone on raceday because they are trying to better their rep but everyone is too stubborn to realize it. Sore losers...

Anonymous said...

The Feldman and Young show will begin on Monday; hope all can attend, I know I will

Anonymous said...

shit stomp? Ill show you shit stomp!!!!

Anonymous said...

is there any way we could use IUSF funding to erect some sort of bust or mural in the Wilcox House to celebrate the Cutters triumphs? I will personally vouch for how they are more important than allocating funding elsewhere. Down with student scholarships!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you gotta put in those miles a month away from the race! That's the last thing you need to do.

Anonymous said...

I can see about the funding for the busts, but there will be so many of them to honor, that I'm not sure if they they have enough room in the Wilcox House.

Anonymous said...

a) Jim Kirkham might be the nicest, most genuine man to walk the planet.

b) want to get better at racing? then RACE.

c) if this event had been suggested by Pam, people would not be whining that it was some event to make the stronger teams feel stronger and the weaker teams feel weaker.

d) "people are passionate about their track practice time and they don't want that to be threatened by something they have no influence on."

last I checked, Pam was the race director -- not the Cutters. So your influence and ability to suggest some things to break the monotony of track practice is just as great as theirs. Unless of course, you put them on a pedastol, which you clearly have. If someone else is throwing down some crazy strong track sets, are you quivering and "threatened" because you have no influence over that? No. You ride your bike and do your own workout.


Long story short, if you want to partake, then partake. If you don't, who gives a flying f*ck. But if you're not going to partake, then quit worrying about what the Cutters are doing and ride your damn bike. April 23 & 24 is when it counts anyways.

Anonymous said...

To add to my above comment (section "c"), if Pam -or- any other team had suggested this event, it would probably be looked at as being a lot of fun. It wouldn't be seen as some elitist Cutter way to try to monopolize track practice and warp the minds of young cyclists so they couldn't POSSIBLY think they'd have a shot at ever winning the race. Seriously?

And finally, if I were a dude, I'd totally play kickball.

Tom said...

It seems to me that several people here are missing the point. The initial problem is that Jim appears to have decided to have this “challenge” without discussing it with anyone that I can determine, except perhaps the Cutters. As far as I know, Pam was unaware of this and no riders I know of received any notice except those who happened to look at BVN. While BVN is a popular website, it is not a meeting place for the entire Little 500 rider community.

Because the track is University property, which IUSF pays to use and maintain, don’t think Morgan Monroe or some public place, think the Billy Hayes track or Assembly Hall. This puts Pam in a bad position. If she says no, the Cutters will play the victim; if she says yes then she is depicted as bending to the will of a particular team. If some other team or every other team comes up with something, out of fairness, she has to agree to that too.

To make things more complicated, there is no detail past the stated events. The only post from Jim says how these will take place during practice. In my view, this would compromise the safety of everyone. And if one team who is not involved is intimidated and leaves the track, that is essentially the Cutters and whoever else is competing driving people away who have every right to be there. To say, they can come back at some other time embodies poor sportsmanship.

I don’t think Jim dreamed up this thing to deny anyone track time for the advantage of the Cutter team, but that doesn’t mean that it fails to achieve those ends. I do think that he and those who support this idea (mostly Cutters and Cutter alumni) are at best guilty of insular thinking. Just because it seems like a great idea to Jim doesn’t make it a great idea for everyone. In 2006, Jim thought removing Alumni coaches from the pit was a wonderful idea. And if he wanted to remove himself, that was fine. But his actions got every coached kicked off the track until the others coaches, at their own time and expense, fought and regained that right. That was valuable time effectively misappropriated from them by Jim. And that is why many people do not believe that Jim is as altruistic as his former riders do when it comes to certain aspects of Little 500.

Supporting Jim is admirable, but Jim should have gone to IUSF, he should have made some attempt to engage the larger rider community, he should have provided details of how everything was going to be run, anticipating questions that would come up. But most importantly the initial presentation of this should have started with something like, “I’ve got this great idea, what do other teams think”; and done so at least a couple of weeks ago. If he had done that he could have avoided this whole mess.

If this is not allowed to go forward, which would be my suggestion, it is because it was poorly planned and poorly explained not because everyone hates the Cutters.


Anonymous said...

A quick skim of all these posts...

Kirkham is not implementing a rule. It seems if nothing else that he is pitching an idea, and if anyone else wants to latch on, more power to them.

Nothing is really changing, aside from extending a friendly invite to some pick-up track games via Facebook/BVN, and track practice will continue (assuming no safety issues).

I guess Kirkham could have gone to IUSF, but to ask what?'s an informal, non-mandatory/non-rule activity, not so different from teams choosing to do their Team Pursuit runs or whatever else on the track. What would IUSF say? They probably don't even know what those events are anyways!

Tom said...

The initial post was did not come in the form of pitching an idea, it came in the form of a done deal with a rain date. You go to Pam out of respect for her position as race director which makes her ultimately responsible for any adverse consequences of your actions. If someone gets hurt, people may bitch at Jim, but they will sue Pam and IUSF and IU: Especially if some alumni are involved as they are not covered by the IUSF insurance. While some people have the luxury of not being concerned about the potential risks that are involved in a "non-rule" activity, Pam does not.
Last week Pam agreed to provide additional track time due to the large number of teams in town. A request was made in the form of a note to Erin Axley and Dan Brown prior to their last RC meeting. It was presented, discussed and Pam saw fit to provide even more track time than was suggested. Would it have been so difficult for Jim or one of his many supporters to do the same?
And I can assure you that Pam as a holder of several Collegiate National Track medals and at least one Championship jersey, does know what the events Jim's suggestions appear to be based on. But even after 36 posts, the specifics have yet to appear anywhere, forcing everyone to rely on emotion, loyalty or wishful thinking instead of making informed comments based on fact.


Todd said...

Tom doesn't like this idea because he didn't think of it.

As I've said before, all about Tom!

Anonymous said...

I looked at PS4 and found this quote by Jim from last Friday:

"We are going to do it regardless if anyone else shows up!"

It is not as good as Sasha Land's comments a few years ago: "We are going to keep winning this race until they kick us out."

Dan said...

Todd didn't you create PS4 to rip on Tom, why don't you do it there and not here.

Todd said...


That is not why I created PS4. As I said when I created it, I wanted to get the dialogue about Little 5 going again. I think it has been pretty successful considering the traffic and number or participants.

I honestly don't have anything against Tom personally, but I do think, as I said above, his opinions are often extremely self-serving. The fact that he is comparing these unsanctioned "pick-up" races to an actual rule from three years ago about non-student coaches is absurd. But it brings HIM to the front and center of the argument which is how he likes it.

Dan said...

Attacking Tom doesn't give your arguement any any more credibility. He's got a valid point that there has been no specifics regarding this. If was riding now I would at least want to know more about how the races will be run so I could see if they would fit into my training.

Didn't you ride for the Cutters back in 96 or 97? I vaguely recall you quitting the team over some freshman kid you was turing out to be really good.

Anonymous said...

Any teams that have more of an idea of what they are doing on the track are always intimidating to those who are just learning the ropes. I think most of us can speak to that as rookies.

But, anything that helps anyone learn something about the race is beneficial, especially since both types of teams, regardless of the type of preparation they do, will be on the same track on race day.

Will those less-experienced teams want to partake in the Spring Break Challenge? Maybe, maybe not. But at least there's that opportunity to learn and gain more experience.

I feel like this is a very informal, "Hey we're doing TP runs on Thursday if you want to join; if it rains, we're doing it on Friday," kind of deal. But if the problem is lack of detail, why don't people start bouncing around some ideas to give it more specificity? Then it could be decided in a more informed manner if it's feasible or not.

Also, for insurance purposes, don't alumni assume their own risk anyways when it comes to riding on the track over Spring Break? And since this isn't a formal IUSF event, is this really that different for alumni being on the track as far as lawsuits go? How does that work?

I see both sides of the debate. But I'm not riding on April 23 and 24, so it's no longer my track/track time.


Tom said...

Hey T,

Agreed, on many points. Unfortunately BVN is not known to the majority of the riders. So getting reasonable opinion sample is difficult. If the event was a series of TP runs or ITT's that would be more acceptable, because they are the exact events that will be run over the next weeks. But they are not TP runs and there remains no explanation of even how these equate to the Little 500 events or how they will be run. Just because they make sense for the Cutters, does not mean that it will for other teams and those teams deserve just as much input as the Cutters.

The insurance liability is extremely significant and the policy is a complex balance between providing coverage to the riders and not having a premium that is not so expensive that IUSF cannot afford it. Every student rider has to sign a waiver to get on the track. If the two riders collide the insurance prevails, if a current rider and a former rider collide the insurance company will point to the policy and say that is not covered and then the lawsuits start. If I injure a student rider and he or she ends up in the hospital and not able to ride, there is no way my regular insurance would cover that. Lawyers will go after the deep pockets, IUF and IU. People must realize that life has consequences and that is why you go to PAM first before making any kind of announcement about some racing. I have some experience from my days as the USA Cycling District Rep for Indiana, and lawsuits are much more likely now than in the early 1980's. Insurance trumps everything at that track, and I mean everything!

As I recall alumni kind of just jumped on the track last year during break and because it was a pretty empty track didn't cause much of a problem. I even did a set with my team and was yelled at by the Cutters to get into the drops, it was hilarious. But with the number of people at the track (even with the extended track times) Pam correctly warned that alumni would be removed if they interfered with the students track work. It was an excellent call. We self-policed last year, and did a pretty good job. But given the increased number of people, some kind of assessment needs to be taken to examine the circumstances that have changed a great deal. I know teams that have only part of their team here until Wednesday. Thursday and Friday last year were pretty intense days as we all knew that our additional track time was coming to an end. Putting on a race challenge may be a great idea, but as I pointed out earlier, because of the manner that is has been introduced and the lack of specifics, it creates more questions than it answers. As it stands right now, I envision a race principally between the current Cutter riders and the local Cutter alumni, with few current men’s teams thrown in for some seasoning.

It is unfortunate that the one person who could help the entire situation and maybe get some kind of end-of-the-week challenge going is pretty much silent. Providing details would help his case infinitely more than Todd Neville telling everyone what I dick I am. Some kind of challenge is an interesting idea but perhaps, just perhaps, your plans are just a bit ambitious and were not put out there in a timeframe that allowed teams to give it the necessary thought or provide input.

Jim my first recommendation is for you to outline why this is a great idea and how it will be run, we have nothing right now. And don’t to forget the women, they are in this too. My second recommendation is to remove Todd Neville as a “point-man” for this situation (even though I am fairly certain that he was self-appointed). Whatever relevance he thinks he has gained from starting a PS4 page is, in fact, miniscule; and it evaporates the moment he leaves his little safe-haven at FaceBook.

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares how you recommend the track times be run Tom. You are a goofy old man and from my perspective are intimidated by the fact that Jim Kirkham is more influential within the Little 500 community than you are. Nice article in the IDS this past week though; heard you pulled a lot of strings to throw your name and "good graces" into the paper for everyone to see

Anonymous said...

OK, looking back at the original announcement I can see where some confusion may lie. Jim said "organized races" and "we will be putting on a"

To someone that knows nothing of the situation, this could be easily misinterpreted. But in reality it is not organized and it's more of a pick up game, no different than telling a bunch of guys at the track to meet Wednesday at 4:00 pm to get fast packs going. That wouldn't provide any more danger that these other races, unless of course it got too big and there are 60 people trying to race with another 30 trying to train.

If I were Pam, I would just go out there and check the situation and make a judgement call if there are too many people. If it's a legal issue regarding the alumni crashing into covered riders, then they should never be allowed on the track. I don't know the specifics.

I will say, Cutters meant absolutely nothing by it, and had only goood intentions the entire time. Jim had no idea other people would get offended by this. He's trying to make Little 5 more fun.

I will say it's a very good iidea for IUSF to take a look at to really organize something during spring break next year.

I also think teams should be reserving times at the track and only so many teams can be on at one time as this would cut down on the overcrowding possibility. Just an idea spawned from this topic.


Geraint Parry said...

Less of the personal attacks please. Anonymous comments are allowed so people can be free to post their opinions without personal judgment but keep it topic related.

Anonymous said...

oh no, cutters go back to ps4, youve already crowded that site with your shit. We dont need it here now

Anonymous said...

The announcement probably came on the Facebook because a word-of-mouth thing would most likely just have circulated among teams that were friends with the Cutters, making it seem elitist and exclusive. Facebook provided a non-chalant, more open-ended outlet.

Tom, you are right, not everyone checks PS4 or BVN. But if it had come through IUSF, it looks like they are sanctioning the event, which they aren't. And, given it sounds like the races are technically within track rules and not compromising safety, if IUSF tries to make a judgement call prematurely, it might come across like they are policing workouts.

So like Woj said, maybe a day-of judgement call might be the best option. Then the amount of track politics and team biases that factored into the decision to allow/stop the races would take secondary importance to the safety issue.

Track time, if I am correct, is for 8hrs/day? There will obviously be peak hours, but assume every team is up there for 2hrs. In a perfect schedule, there will be ~8 teams on the track at one time. So overcrowding might be an non-issue, especially if the races go off in non-peak hours.

Good stuff. Could be fun!

John said...

All we have is every Cutter alum saying what they think or hope or wish what these events are and still there is not one God damned thing from Jim explaining even one detail. It is that fucking hard to get this information posted? Maybe those who get some kind of kick out of blasting Tom, can just call Jim and find out WTF the deal is and share it with the rest of us? And you wonder why everyone is suspicious, DUH!!!!

Anonymous said...

Since there is clearly a lot of opposition to Spring Break Challenge 2010, we would like to suggest a kickball game on the infield of the track at 3pm on Friday.

Don't worry about IUSF trying to shut this down, they don't even have enough staff to man the bike rentals at the Wilcox House.

Who wants to play?!!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what everyone's afraid of... that this event might go off smoothly and people have a lot of fun doing it, indicating that something suggested by the Cutters was met with *gasp* -SUCCESS-?!

Jim said...

Thursday races will be at 2pm (that seemed to be a quiet time during track today).

10 lap scratch race
20 lap madison type race (bike-to-bike exchange)
7 mile points race with sprints every 4 laps
3 lap Keirin (no motorcycle)

Full recovery time between each race. The goal is to get some fast/hard laps in with your whole team on the track. Hope to get a good mix of cyclist to come out. If you need any further clarification, then simply e-mail me at

Jim said...

I have had some inquiries about womens races. If enough women show up on Thursday to race then we should have some women only races between the mens races.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately BVN is not known to the majority of the riders."

Riders who do not regularly check up on BVN, let alone not know what it is, should not be allowed on the track! The website address for BVN should be added as a test question to the rookie test as a pass fail requirement!

Long live BVN.

Jim said...

Due to outside influence, the 2010 Spring Challenge has been canceled. I'll try again next year.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Kirkam. Even though we wouldn't have made it, it was nice of you to make the effort to start something fun like this to mix things up a bit.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So IUSF is policing workouts then. Can they start policing ghost exchanges at the track too? Assuming the event was cancelled because of safety concerns, I think I can speak for all nearby pits when I say rookies chucking ghost exchanges around the track for the first time is 10x more dangerous than regular exchanges. That's a valid safety concern, right? Can't they go through the motions elsewhere, like somewhere not on the track where other teams are practicing?

Anonymous said...

Noted in a couple pictures I've seen from the Spring Break BKB cabin bash: breaking news, Tom supplying beer to minors...touche tom you classy gentleman you!

Anonymous said...

Anyone on here who criticized Jim Kirkham should really take a few steps back. If you have problems with the cutters or with some of their riders fine, but Jim Kirkham had never done anything other than encourage people to ride and race in little 500. He is quite possibly the kindest man that I have ever met and truly believes that the Cutter team is not "his" team but the rider’s team. He lets the guys make their own decisions and is there for guidance and support and has never tried to push people to do or act a certain way, and to suggest such is ludicrous. Tom, quoting him from an article and then insinuating that he is a hypocrite is just sad. Before you criticize others I suggest you take a step back and look at your own actions and how you have treated this race, the riders, and the people who make it happen.