Qualifications are less than 24 hours away. Who’s your pick to win the women’s Pole?
Natalie Laser can’t contain the emotion. She’s visibly excited, wearing a wide smile across her face and her eyes as bright as the afternoon sun. Her first real jersey just came in.
It’s April 2, 23 days away from race day – the very first race day in Ski Club Cycling history. And it’s the day those very first jerseys have just come in. Of course, that meant the team had to change immediately, despite it being the middle of practice.
“Look at our new jerseys!” she said. “Aren’t they awesome?!”
For Ski, a first-year team with four rookie riders that did not come together until January, everything about the track, the bikes, the race is reason for excitement.
Just earlier in the day, back before the team had its actual jerseys, the team had been pondering a question about the bike. All four riders – Laser, Alex Benigni, Megan Huibregtse and Ashley King – are about the same height. Does this mean they should use just one bike on race day? Could they do that? Is that a good idea?
They’re not sure right now. But they giggle at the realization. It’s another exciting thought. It’s another new thought.
But the most exciting moment came on March 29, just four days before. It was Quals. It was a moment of triumph. It was a blur. It was exciting.
“I replay it in my head it was so exciting,” Laser said.
Coming into Sunday, Teter needed four points to tie Alpha Chi Omega in the Spring Series standings. It would need to beat AXO to accomplish that feat.
Teter looked to be off to a good start to that when it recorded an 8:20.57 — by far besting the top time at the moment.
But then AXO followed with a 8:19.46.
The challenge was on. The two would meet in the finals with the winner taking the Spring Series crown.
If Teter won the finals, it would tie AXO in the points standings. The tiebreaker goes to the top finisher in Team Pursuit.
And Teter won that tiebreaker.
Brenna McGinn is a name that you might not recognize — after all, she is a rookie — but it’s a name you need to learn quickly to get ready for this year’s Little 500.
McGinn, a senior riding for Kappa Alpha Theta, just picked up cycling this year. She was a competitive cheerleader in high school, but never ran track or cross country, the sport of choice for several Little 500 riders. In fact, she admits she forgot how to ride a bike the summer before coming to IU.
But despite her newness, McGinn has picked up riding immediately. She finished fifth overall at ITTs, the top rider outside of the No. 1 heat.
We asked McGinn to tell us how she’s gotten to where she is today, and what’s made her successful at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
33to1: What were the nerves like before ITTs?
McGinn: They were pretty high just because ITTs were supposed to be on Wednesday. I felt really prepared on Wednesday because I had been doing ITTs and then the weather kinda screwed that up. The weather continued to screw the track up, so I hadn’t gotten to do an ITT since Tuesday. So I was nervous about my pacing and, I mean, I got to see my teammates kill it all day so that just made me more amped up.
I guess I didn’t really get crazy nervous until I was on the warm up bike and I realized that so many people were watching and it is an individual thing, my team isn’t there with me. That’s when it started kicking in a lot.
33to1: Was that the best time you had ever done on your ITTs? How did that compare to your practice times?
McGinn: My fastest time I put up before my ITT was on Monday and it was 2:46 (McGinn’s official ITT run on Saturday was 2:42.97). I was happy with that. I knew that that would’ve landed me seventh last year, and you’re not supposed to compare times at all, but it was a little bit of a confidence boost going into it.
The track was so fast. I saw that in the times all day. My teammates all killed it. They all bested their own times. That was definitely a personal record for me. I felt good, ya know, after I started feeling things again.