Reflections of a past rider: 2010 women's champion recalls memories, lessons from race 


For most DePauw students, Little 5 is a time to wear goofy sunglasses and shorts, show DePauw spirit and celebrate the best weekend on campus. For the cyclists, it's payoff time for the efforts of the past several months: the time spent riding in the cold, in 20 mph winds, and the injuries from falling.

For me, Little 5 involves some of the best memories of my days at DePauw and has set me on a new course. It has been a way to remain competitive without being on a sports team. It has offered me a new perspective of Putnam County, which I have discovered has a lot of beautiful scenery and quaint towns.

I cycle because I like to compete. I cycle because I like the peacefulness of the road. I cycle because I enjoy feeling exhausted after a ride. And most of all, I cycle because of the freedom it provides. I'm not tied down to a team or a practice schedule. Cycling is all on my own accord. I can ride for 1 or 3 hours at the speed and intensity I want. I can chose a route with rolling hills at 10% incline or take an easier flat route. Cycling helps relieve the stress of schoolwork, the pressure of a DePauw schedule and removes me from the DePauw bubble. When I ride away from DePauw's campus, I know I'm taking time for myself. I can joke with a friend about the occurrences of the day or slay the road (biking term for "Go hard").

Participating in Little 5 last year was a whirlwind. Two months before the race, I didn't know how to clip in (or unclip), understand cycling strategy, the purpose of working with other riders or think padding was needed in the shorts. Two short months later, I was swiftly riding around Greencastle, drafting off other riders and loving sporting different cycling outfits. When Little 5 week arrived, I had knots in my stomach.

Were my efforts going to pay off? How would I compare to the other riders?

Following the street sprints, I crashed, and I wondered if I was even going to be able to participate in the criterium the next day. With my face scraped, and my hands bandaged, I raced on Saturday. I remember there being a tailwind on the back end of the track and girls shouting, "slowing," and "everyone shift right" to avoid crashing into other riders.

During the last five laps, I patiently waited to make my move and then my adrenaline and training took care of the rest.

This year, I chose not to compete because I want someone else to experience the joys of riding as I do.

Little 5 was just the beginning of my cycling career. Now I compete for the DePauw cycling team. I have traveled to Mizzou, Purdue and other universities to compete. I still enjoy riding towards Filmore, or doing a Heritage Lake route.

I will never forget my training days or victory in last year's Little 5. Those are precious memories of my days at DePauw and have set me on a new course of competing.

From a past rider of Little 5, I wish all the teams good luck and a speedy and safe ride. 

— Tobik is a senior from Ballwin, Mo. majoring in history. She is the 2010 Little 5 women's race champion.