Students lined the fences along Locust and Hanna Streets on a chilly Saturday afternoon. Despite the gloomy sky, a feeling of excitement resonated through the air. This spring, riders took to the streets of DePauw’s campus in the annual Little 5 Race. Student bikers shared their perspectives on the race.
First-year Caroline Stowe raced for the first time in Little 5. Leading up to the race, Stowe’s goal was to get onto a bike either on the course itself, on trails, or in the gym. The week before the race, the cold and rainy weather made it hard for Stowe to navigate her training. However, that didn’t dampen her aspirations.
“From the first time I heard about the race, I knew I wanted to do it and from that moment I looked forward to it. A part of me didn't want to let that version of myself down, and another part of me didn't want to let the house down. I always felt supported by everyone around me, and that really kept me going through any doubts I had,” Stowe said.
Stowe felt pretty nervous going into the race. The weather was windy and cold, which caused some issues in the timing system at first. Stowe said that sitting in the UB playing hangman with her team beforehand helped calm some of the nerves.
“During the race, I was pretty focused on my strategy; I knew that if I stuck to it, I would perform my best. Meeting the rest of the team at the finish line after we all finished was such a surreal moment because of the amount of support and mutual admiration we all had for each other,” Stowe said.
Her favorite memory from the race was getting encouragement as she passed by the Kappa Kappa Gamma house. According to Stowe, seeing everyone lined alongside the barricade cheering her on was such a great thing to experience.
Junior Meredith Sierpina raced again this year in Little 5. Sierpina was excited to race this year as Alpha Chi Omega had so many riders. Sierpina said her motivation for the race came from having fun, representing her house, and beating the guys’ time.
“As a team, we were looking really good. We did some rides together, practicing sprints, and getting in shape for the crit! I have been a competitive cyclist since I was 10, but when it came to college, I decided to run cross country and track, putting cycling on the back burner. Because of this, Little 5 is such a special day for me because it is a time when the whole campus comes together and celebrates the sport I love,” Sierpina said.
Sierpina said the race was “so much fun” and loved being able to see and hear all her friends cheering for her throughout the race.
“I was also so proud of Emily Lewis for coming in second this year and winning the overall omnium! She killed it at Little 5 this year, and that was amazing to see. Even with the cold, Little 5 is the best day of the year, and I was so lucky to race it again this year,” Sierpina added.
First-year Elijiah VanHaaren raced for the first time in Little 5. He said that he didn’t train enough for the race, only biking occasionally in the stationary bikes at the gym. Also, VanHaaren had problems with his bike that caused him to use a mountain bike hybrid, which is not ideal for racing.
“My motivation to race was sparked from my interest and passion for activities. I am always on the lookout to try new things and have new experiences. This was my first bike race which meant trying something like this was right up my alley. I also am competing in my first ever triathlon this summer and thought this would be a great practice round for that,” VanHaaren said.
According to VanHaaren, the race went well overall. VanHaaren said he went into the race with the perspective of having fun, not winning. Because of this mindset, VanHaaren said he did not get upset with anything that did not go his way or any setbacks that he faced. Instead, he was just living in the moment and to the fullest. VanHaaren enjoyed the experience overall racing as the only independent team for Little 5.
“From what I have heard, this is not a usual thing for the school to experience. Expectedly, some of the other teams and houses were giving us a hard time and all for competing without being in a house and with the fastest biker, Charlie. It just made the experience so much more memorable, competitive, and fun,” VanHaaren said.