Every year, DePauw’s Little 5 race consists of representatives from each fraternity and sorority chapter duking it out to see who can finish first, with the entire campus gathered around to watch. This year, the giant plot of construction puts a twist on things.
The Hoover Dining Hall construction is taking place where most students usually sit to watch the Little 5 race. Director of Public Safety Angie Nally says there will be plenty of other places for spectators to watch.
“They’ll need to go on College St. in front of Julian, Lilly, GCPA and/or in Bowman Park,” she said.
Senior Libby Warren, who is riding for Pi Beta Phi, likes that the construction will make people more spread out around campus to watch the race.
“The great thing about the Crit [Criterion Race] is that there are fans to cheer on the riders at every corner, and every stretch of the ride. So I think students can just sit on the side by the GCPA, by BR, Kappa, SAE, etcetera.”
In addition to barriers that will keep students off of the race track that are put up every year, riders have been warned that some areas around the construction are a bit bumpier than usual.
“I am not worried so much about the construction because most of us are aware of the road,” Sophomore Megan Mullin, who is riding for Alpha Phi, said. “[Advisor to the riders] Kent Menzel walked us block by block to notice what's on the road.”
Nally said the bumpiest part, at the intersection between Hanna Street and College Street, was never the smoothest of roads to begin with. She said the construction has made it worse, but riders are aware of this danger and have been practicing riding around it.
“The pavement of Hanna Street was already not optimal and so with large dump trucks and things like that it’s really…affecting the surface so that will be a concern for rider safety,” she said.
However, maintenance is planning to sweep the road as best they can to try to make the area as safe as possible for Saturday.
“I think it’s the asphalt surface, it’s not just the loose rocks. So they will sweep the area and they’ll put up hay bales and they’ll do things to make it safer for the riders,” Nally said.
Riders have also been made aware of these attempts to make the area safer. Mullin said she is not concerned because she trusts the maintenance staff and her fellow riders to try to make everyone comfortable on race day.
“Parts of the road are being patched up this week around the GCPA and the extra gravel from construction will be swept prior to the race,” she said. “Although it leaves a little less room for observers, the riders will stay close to the curb when turning so the construction should not make a big difference.”
Warren also feels that the riders have been preparing for the race extensively, and she hopes all of the training will be enough to help everyone get through the race safely.
“The safety meetings, scratch races, and walk through on Sunday have been really helpful,” she said. “Also, going on group rides led by [Senior] Will Gleason, practicing riding in a pack has been great!”
Mullin said her main worry lies not in the patchy roads, but in being knowledgeable about one’s own biking abilities and habits. She is confident, however, that there will be no injuries this year.
“I'm more nervous about biking safety when riding,” she said. “Lack of biking education can lead to some scary falls. But that's not going to happen this year! Go Little 5!”