Little 500 Archives
Little 500 2016 Season
- March 26- Qualifications
o Our qualification time is 4:55 p.m. We posted the fastest practice qualifications time in the field this week in 2:22.
- March 30- Individual Time Trials
o We return 5th and 9th from last year and we look to improve as a team this year
- April 2- Miss N Out
- April 10- Team Pursuit
- April 15- Women’s Little 500
- April 16- Men’s Little 500
You can check out the team’s website here (http://deltscycling.com/) and click here (http://iusf.indiana.edu/little500/fans/) to buy race tickets.
Thank you for your continued support. Let’s ride!
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Five Reasons to Return to the Little 500 in 2016!
Our Delt Cycling team is preparing for their upcoming training season and their push to return the Little 500 championship to Beta Alpha. The race weekend has been scheduled for April 15-17, with the Little 5 taking place on Saturday, April 16. Need a reason to return? We have 5 reasons why you should start making your plans TODAY to come back to Bloomington for the biggest event of the year!
1. 8 Top-5 Finishes
Since the 1951 beginning of the Little 500, our Delt Cycling team has delivered eight Top-5 finishes, including a first-place finish in 2012 and four others in the past five years:
1st Place: 2012
2nd Place: 2009, 2013
3rd Place: 1976, 2014
4th Place: 2010, 2011
5th Place: 1975
Come back and cheer on our undergraduate cycling team to another championship! CLICK HERE to follow their progress over the coming months.
2. We Are Now Famous!
What could make the “World’s Greatest College Weekend” any better? How about a documentary that follows four teams — Cutters, Delta Gamma, Delta Tau Delta and Teter — through their preparations for the men’s and women’s Little 500 races in 2013 and 2014. Four 2012 IU alumni worked for two years to produce the film, “One Day in April,” which premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival on February 28, 2015. The film premiered in Bloomington on April 24, 2015. CLICK HERE to learn more about the film.
3. Little 500 Beneficiaries: OUR STUDENTS!
The Little 500 began in 1951 as a way to raise money for scholarships given to IU students who were working their way through college. To date, the IU Student Foundation has been able to give more than $1 million to students with the proceeds generated through the Little 500’s various events.
4. Reunion Weekend
For several years, we have created a Beta Alpha Alumni Reunion Weekend around the Little 500 event. Next year’s event will be a great time for classes ending in 1 and 6 (example: 2011 or 2006) to return for significant reunion years! As always, all alumni, family members and guests will be welcome. Watch for details next spring! (But make your hotel reservation today!)
5. We Are Making Leaders!
We have all read new articles in the past year that reveal the at-risk nature of the Greek community today. The chapters that are succeeding, and making leaders, are those whose alumni have chosen to remain actively involved in the development of their undergraduate brothers. We are one of those chapters. So, let’s keep the trend going! Come back, be involved and pay forward what older generations of alumni did for you!
Watch for more information about the Little 500 in the coming months!
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Delts Celebrate 7th Consecutive Top-10 Little 500 Finish
Following a one-day rain delay, the men of Delta Tau Delta’s Little 500 team took home a seventh consecutive top-10 finish in the 65th Men’s Little 500.
2015 Little 500 festivities began on Friday night with the Women’s Little 500 and the premier of the film, “One Day in April”. The feature length film follows Delta Tau Delta, Delta Gamma, Teter and The Cutters, providing as a stunning look inside the hearts and minds of their athletes, coaches and fans. The film chronicles the 2013 Little 500 season in which Delts took a highly contested second place finish. The drama of victory and defeat play out on screen in incredible fashion leaving you with a truly moving account of the Little 500 community. Once more information is available regarding opportunities to view and / or purchase copies of the film, we will distribute them to this group.
Later that evening, the Student Foundation formally delayed the start of the 65th Men’s Little 500 (originally slated for Saturday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m.) by 24 hours as a result of strong thunderstorms predicted for the Bloomington area.
When Sunday morning arrived, strong winds and rain gave way to beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures. Early that morning, several Delt alumni competed in a series of alumni races held every five years at Armstrong Stadium. Four Delts participated, each earning top-five finishes in their respective decades including 1970s (Shaun Shafer BA ’78), 1980s (Rob Hudson BA ’89 and Doug Tolle BA ’89) and 2000s (Matt Neibler BA ’09). Their success would be a good indication of the team’s performances later in the day.
As prerace pageantry drew to a close, the temperatures reached the low 70s with NW winds gusting to 15 mph. The team’s veteran squad took the track, confident following a successful spring series. The race day final four included:
- Luke Momper (Captain, senior, veteran, Riders Council President, 2015 All-Star 4-year rider)
- Luke Tormoehlen (junior, veteran, 5th Place ITTs)
- Anthony Vicino (junior, veteran, 10th Place ITTs)
- Max Nelson (junior, rookie)
Luke Momper started the race from the 10th position and quickly moved into the top five, trading pulls with the race’s other contenders. After a strong 20-lap set, Momper exchanged to Tormoehlen, and the team settled into their standard rotation. Throughout the next 140 laps, the team executed long sets (averaging 12-20 laps) strong burnouts and clean exchanges.
Amazingly, the race proceeded for over 170 laps without major incident. The first caution came just after 170 and only lasted for four laps. During this time, Max Nelson was completing his final set. Following the green flag, Max followed an exchanging rider on the front stretch and broke free from the pack rounding turn one. As he came out of turn two, he had opened an 80-meter gap on the field. He exchanged to Luke Tormoehlen on Lap 178, and Luke proceeded to ride four laps under 35 seconds per lap including the fastest-recorded lap of the race (31.64 sec; faster even than the last lap sprint). By the end of Tormoehlen’s set, the Delts had opened a nearly 200-meter gap on the field. Next, Luke Momper and Anthony Vicino rode strong, smart sets to hold this gap against a coordinated chase effort from the race favorites. Finally, on Lap 193, with Tormoehlen finishing his final set, the field approached to within 25 meters. Luke Momper got back on the bike, and despite a valiant effort to continue to push the pace, the field had caught us.
In the final sprint, six teams vied for the win with less than one second separating them at the line. A photo finish between defending champion Black Key Bulls and 2015 winner Sigma Phi Epsilon showed the margin of victory was less than a wheel’s diameter. Many race pundits credit the pack sprint and Sig Ep victory on the Delts breakaway, noting that the effort necessary to give chase effectively softened all major contenders and fundamentally altered the direction of the race.
In 2015, the team once again displayed their ability have strong performances on race day and dictate its pivotal moments. Despite not achieving the victory that many believed was possible, this year marked the fourth time in the last seven years that Delts has finished within one second of victory (2009, 2013, 2014, 2015) and its seventh consecutive top-10 finish.
In 2016, Luke Tormoehlen and Anthony Vicino will be joined by a host of strong rookies as the Delts Cycling program intends to reload for another shot at a Little 500 Championship.
Finally, I wanted give a big thanks to all of our generous alumni who contributed during the 2015 season. This year marked record donation levels, which included our first two corporate sponsors. Thank you all for your continued support! Your involvement is critical to the success of the Delt Cycling program and affords the team the opportunities necessary for continued success on race day.
Matt Neibler ’09
Former Captain, Delt Cycling
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Little 500 Weekend: Reunion and Celebration in One Weekend
We have less than 100 days until the 2014 Little 500! I am excited to inform you that the men of Delt Cycling are once again a favorite for this year’s race!
In November, I had an opportunity to meet with the team in person. I am happy to report that we have an exceedingly strong and enthusiastic group. This year’s team includes 2 returners from last year’s 2nd place team and 3 new rookies bringing the total roster to 8. When I was there we talked about each rider’s goals for the year and discussed what it will take for us to achieve our collective team goal and win another Little 500 championship.
Winter Training Camp
Members of Delt Cycling gathered at the Shelter on Wednesday, January 8, for the team’s annual Winter Training Camp. Riders were greeted with harsh winter conditions that kept them primarily in the team’s training facility for the 5-day intensive. Riders took part in 2-a-day practices that marked the team’s transition from Lactic Threshold (long interval) training to V02 Max (short interval) training. Between multi-hour workout sessions on the rollers, riders took part in race tape viewing sessions that reviewed pacing, pack riding, and exchanging and end-of-race strategy.
Following winter camp, the team’s two senior leaders Paul Smith and Luke Momper took a four day trip to south Florida where they clocked nearly 300 miles!
Delts Top Little 500 Power Rankings
Local Bloomington bloggers agree that this year’s team will be among those contending for victory on April 26th, placing them as the odds-on favorite to win this year’s Men’s Little 500. Follow this link for more detail: http://www.bloomingtonbicycling.com/fall-little-500-team-power-rankings/.
For a third consecutive year the team sent out holiday cards. This year’s card features Coach Courtney Bishop as Santa being pulled by our eight riders on Little 5 bikes (see image above). If you look closely, you’ll notice that Coach-Santa-Courtney delivers presents… and Little 500 championship trophies.
If you missed this year’s card, please send us your address and we’ll include you on next year’s distribution.
2014 Alumni Reunion
By popular demand, Beta Alpha will be holding an Alumni Reunion at the Shelter that coincides with the 2014 Little 500. Festivities will begin on Friday, April 25, to coincide with the women’s race at 4p.m. EST and will continue on Saturday, April 26, with a program for alums at the house and the opportunity to partake in all of the race-day festivities.
Connect with Delts Cycling
Delt Cycling has three ways you can connect with the team.
1. Email blasts from our mailbox email@example.com
2. On our website www.deltcycling.com.
3. On Social Media: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DeltCycling), twitter (www.twitter.com/deltcycling).
Matt Neibler ’09
Fmr. Captain, Delts Cycling
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Matt Neibler ’09 Reports on the 64th Men’s Little 500
Warm and windy conditions were present on April 26, making a dusty race, as Delta Tau Delta finished in third place in the 64th Annual Men’s Little 500, after being involved in a heart-breaking last lap accident.
Seniors Paul Smith and Luke Momper led the team’s efforts by riding aggressive sets. Freshman rookie Luke Tormoehlen, and sophomore rookie Anthony Vicino rode strong and smart, maintaining good position and producing strong burnouts and clean exchanges throughout the day.
The team avoided a string of early accidents and was one of 10 teams on the lead lap as the end of the race approached. On lap 197, Paul Smith took the final exchange from Luke Momper. Paul joined a lead pack of seven riders and slotted into fourth position. As the group rolled into lap 198, Paul strategically moved into third place behind Black Key Bulls and Beta Theta Pi. The group picked up speed down the backstretch and, as they entered turn three, the Beta rider moved up on the outside of the Black Key rider. The two made contact and the Beta rider went down taking six of the seven riders in the lead pack, including Paul Smith, with him. Only the Black Key rider survived and rode solo to victory.
Following the crash, Paul leaped from the mayhem and was the fourth rider to get back on to his bike. Now in fifth place, he made up more than 50 meters in just one lap, passing two teams to finish within 0.02 seconds of second place – an impressive comeback following the accident.
Official results are available on the IUSF website: http://iusf.indiana.edu/little500/fans/results.aspx. You can also see the last lap accident on YouTube (starting at 0:45, see Paul in the blue jersey with Red/Black IU Shorts): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vfFoA_OKaQ.
This marks the team’s eighth Top 5 finish of all time and the sixth Top 5 finish in the last 6 years. Since 2009, Delta Tau Delta has finished in 1st through 4th place, an average placing of 2.6; the best record on campus in that timeframe.
A successful Alumni Reunion brought nearly 30 alums together- spanning 50 years of Delt brotherhood- who made the trek to Bloomington to watch this year’s race. On Friday, they toured the shelter and met with the team. On Saturday, they had refreshments before heading to the house for the Rider Send-off and then to the track for the race. There was representation from classes from 1964 to 2013 and many years in between. Everyone was jovial and energized by the festivities both on and off the track. The camaraderie they developed with the stories they shared showed the rich history of Beta Alpha and Delt Cycling.
Thanks to our riders for a fantastic performance. You once again made us proud to be Delts! Thanks to our alumni for your continued support and encouragement. Whether you cheered from Armstrong Stadium, a local bar, your couch, or your smartphone, your presence was felt in Bloomington!
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Delt Qualifying at Little 500
Delts qualified for the 63rd Little 500 with a time of 2:26:92. Check out this Youtube video of the event.
DTD Takes 2nd in Little 500
The 63rd Men’s Little 500
For the first 180 laps, rookie Nick Sapp (Senior) and veterans Luke Momper (Junior) and Phil Sojka (Senior) rode a textbook race. Long sets, powerful burnouts, and plentiful drafting made for a deceivingly uneventful race. Their execution and poise was a product of their strength and experience and in the end, they rested our sprinter, Paul Smith, for a memorable finish.
Paul Smith’s final 18 lap set was a herculean effort. In his first 12 laps on the bike, he closed an 11 second, 125 meter gap built by Beta Theta Pi. In doing so, he singlehandedly dropped the #3 and #4 teams, the Cutters and Black Key Bulls, and effectively made it a two team race.
With 3 laps to go he followed Beta’s final exchange and took off sprinting. His initial gap was over 50 meters and with 2 laps to go
Paul entered the backstretch alone. As Beta’s sprinter closed in, Paul never gave up. At the drop of the white flag (signaling the final lap), Paul still had the advantage. Once on the backstretch, Delts and Beta were back together with Paul still setting the tempo. As they entered turn 3, Beta’s sprinter dove inside on Paul and the two made contact. Elbows we’re exchanged and the Beta rider’s wheels skipped into the gutter and nearly sent Paul into the cinders. Both riders miraculously remained upright. Following the scuffle Beta’s sprinter drove his newfound inside-line hard and came out of turn four with the advantage. At the finish, two riders were less than one second apart.
This year’s finish marked an impressive 5th consecutive top 5 result for the team; making Delts Cycling the most successful fraternity cycling program on campus over the last half-decade. During this time, Delts average finish is 2.6. These figures speak volumes to the presence and strength of our riders, coaches, and alumni and their collective development of a truly elite program. Current riders reflected on this fact by tweeting this message after the race: “5 years ago we got 2nd and were carried off the track. Today we are disappointed in 2nd. Delts Cycling will continue to be an elite team.”
WATCH THE FINAL EVENT ON YOUTUBE HERE.
Awards and Accolades
Little 500 All-Star:
2013 was the 4th year out of the last 5 that a Delt was named as a Little 500 All-Star. With 3rd place in ITTs and his tremendous race day effort, Paul Smith became the 9th Delt named as a Little 500 All-Star and became only our second Junior to earn this honor.
Little 500 Rookie of the Year:
2013 marked the 3 of the last 4 years that a Delt was named as Rookie of the year. With his near-perfect burnout and exchange execution, Nick Sapp became only the 4th Delt to ever be named as a Rookie of the Year.
The Alumni Committee’s Rider Recognition Award:
2013 marked the second time that the Delts Cycling Alumni Committee bestowed its annual Rider Recognition Award upon one upperclassman rider. The award is “For exceptional effort, dedication, and diligence both on and off the bike, these individuals embody the spirit of brotherly competition and exhibit a passionate pursuit of excellence in the Little 500.” Last year, Victory Rider RJ Stuart earned the title and this year graduating senior Nick Sapp will be the next recipient. For 3 years, Nick made his mark through his efforts off the bike. From rider recruitment to budget management and alumni relations, Nick became a thoughtful keeper of all things Delt Cycling. Nick’s time at IU coincided with crucial period in the team’s evolution and his efforts were critical to the successes we realized during this time. Being a student of the Little 500 and a passionate advocate for the team, this year he finally earned an outright spot on the race team and played an integral role in the team’s impressive result. We’re proud to honor Nick for his accomplishments and thank him for his tremendous commitment to the team.
Our Generous Donors
Thanks to those who have who made a monetary commitment to the team!
• Four Horseman Club ($500+): Rob Hudson BA’89, David Eberly BA’69, Tony Wishart BA’77, Scott Rogers BA’71
• Purple Iris Club ($250-499): Dirk Schnable BA’87, Jack Keene BA’73, Joe Muldoon BA’87
• Square Badge Club ($100-249): Scott Peden BA’93, Mike Eid BA’76, Robert Raley BA’85, Brett Hecker BA’95, Ted McGrew BA’80, George Bray BA’73
• Delta Shelter Club: ($50-99): Dave Howard BA’79
Delta Tau Delta Cycling Members Train for a Win
Spring semester has started which means the Delta Tau Delta Little 500 team is already far into their training in pursuit of the house’s first Little 500 victory. The team has been putting in base miles since the fall, riding up to 90 miles in a single day, in order to prepare for the extensive training they will tackle this spring, leading up to the race.
Spring training started with the now annual week of two-a-day workouts that take place the first week of January. Five out of the six team members were able to attend and each rider is already showing that they are ahead of where they were at this time a year ago – a promising sign for the depth of this year’s race team. The two-a-day work outs were the first chance to utilize the new training facilities that have been procured thanks to generous donations from alumni and the Delta Tau Delta Housing Corporation.
Now that the semester has arrived the team is settling into a routine where three days-a-week they do strenuous two to three hour VO2 Max workouts designed to improve lung capacity. These are matched by four days-a-week of recovery riding and weight training. With only a few weeks until the track opens, the team is using every minute to push past the competition. In years past, motivation has been harder to come by in the winter months, when riding inside can drag on for what seems to be an eternity, but this year the flame beneath the team has only burned brighter as the cold weather approached. Backed by the support of Beta Alphas past and present, and housed in a training facility that is unmatched at IU, the team has been working towards the goal of victory with no substitute.
This year’s team is in one the best positions to win it has had in recent years, returning arguably the fastest rider on the track, RJ Stuart. Stuart, along with top 20 Individual Time Trial finisher and Phil Sojka will make up the back bone of Delts team this year. They will be supported by veteran Nick Lenard with two race appearances under his belt and Nick Sapp and Luke Momper, a Junior and Sophomore that have been with the program for two and one year, respectively. Stuart, Sojka, and Lenard all return from last year’s fourth place finishing race team and with both Sapp and Momper hungry to take spots on the race roster, every member is putting in the maximum effort to make sure he is ready for race day. The team lost a strong veteran rider in James Coudright last year to graduation, but he has since been replaced with promising sophomore Paul Smith, who already has a year of race experience himself. Although Paul is ineligible to ride this year, he has still trained with the passion of Delts Cycling and has been instrumental in pushing the other riders to achieve as well as preparing for next year.
This team is well equipped to take home the coveted gold trophy to Delts for the first time in the house’s history. A Little 500 victory would be the perfect accent to Delts already storied history at Indiana University. This feat would inevitably fill brothers past, present, and future with pride in their house for the dedication a select few members have made to representing Delta Tau Delta in the world’s greatest college weekend. None of what the current riders have been able to achieve could be possible without the ever present contributions of alumni. The current riders give all the thanks they can to not only the great riders that came before them but also to each person that helped to contribute to the success the program has seen in the last few years. In order to sustain such a prominent Little 500 program, resources must be spent to constantly stay ahead of the curve on training facilities, coaching, race bikes and beyond. As part of this effort, we would be thrilled for you to come back to Indiana University to watch the race in person one more time, to cheer on your brothers, to revel in the glory of Delts Cycling, and to watch history in the making.
The race this year is held on Saturday April 21st, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Until that day, you can be sure that this year’s team will be pouring every ounce of themselves into bringing a win home to Delts this year.
Phil Sojka BA’14
Veteran, Delts Cycling
Below is a list of current cycle-rs and ways to get involved!
Delts Cycling is an organization consisting of members of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity whose union is designed to build the bond of brotherhood, promote excellence in physical fitness, and further the fraternity name through a passionate pursuit of greatness in the Little 500 bicycle race.
RJ Stuart Veteran Captain, Senior
Phil Sojka Veteran, Sophmore
Nick Lenard Veteran, Riders Council Member, Senior
Nick Sapp Rookie Captain, Junior
Luke Momper Rookie, Sophmore
Paul Smith Veteran, Sophmore
• Ken Nowakowski – Cycling, Strength and Conditioning Coach
• Courtney Bishop – Race Strategy Coach
2011 – Qualified: 4th, Finished: 4th
2010 – Qualified: 4th, Finished: 4th
2009 – Qualified: 5th, Finished: 2nd
2008 – Qualified: 9th, Finished: 13th
2007 – Qualified: 13th, Finished: 12th
2006 – Qualified: 33rd, Finished: 31st
2005 – Qualified: 32nd, Finished: 29th
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Delta Tau Delta Named 2012 Little 500 Champions
On April 21st 2012,the men of Delta Tau Delta’s Beta Alpha chapter became Little 500 Champions.
Delta Tau Delta began its participation in Indiana University’s prestigious bicycle race during its inaugural running in 1951. Along with 19 other fraternities, Delts became part of one of the campus’ most storied traditions.
The story of Delts Cycling and where the 2012 team fits in its long history is best summed up in words of one Delt alum, Rob Hudson. This year marked 23 years since Rob finished his last race at Bill Armstrong stadium. In that time, He’s seen it all. Serving as a coach, alumni advisor, and frequent team donor, Rob’s enthusiasm and dedication made April’s finish especially emotional.
Shortly after the race he read a text message from a teammate on his 1986 squad, Brian Storrer. It read “Hell must have frozen over, Delts won the Little 500.”
In the 62 year history of the Little 500, Delta Tau Delta has appeared in the race 56 times. Despite all this experience, our average finish is just 17th. In that time, we have finished in the top 10 just ten times and in the top 5 just five times, among the worst of our Greek counterparts.
Prior to recent history, the team had seen its best appearances in the late 1970s and 1980s. In that time, Delts contended for the win at least 5 times. In 1970, John Elliott became the first Delt named to the All-Star team and was part of our frist top ten finish (in tenth place). In 1975 and 1976 Don Jones and Don Ballard repeated this honor and the team achieved the fraternity’s best finishes to date, 5th and 3rd respectively. Over the next few years, relations between the IU Student Foundation and the Fraternity grew sour. Antics reported by brothers at the time include pledges who marched on the front lawn with toy guns, pointing them repeatedly at passing motorists along Jordan Avenue. Often these drivers included the esteemed University President Herman B. Wells, Race founder Howdy Wilcox and IU Student Foundation President Bill Armstrong, all of whom got special attention from the pledges. The team’s playful attitude off the track continued on the track and drew little praise from the foundation or the Riders Council. During this era, Gary Gaddis would become the last delt named to the Little 500 All-Start team for almost two decades.
In 1978, the house protested the filming of the 1979 Academy Award winning film Breaking Away which forever immortalized the Little 500 bicycle race and Bloomington Indiana. As a result, Delta Tau Delta does not appear in the film despite our 5th place qualification. In part due to classic Delt shenanigans, relations remained tense throughout the 1980s. Delt teams were hindered by hotly contested penalties (1988) and unavoidable accidents (1985, 1986, 1988, and 1989) that hurt our chances on race day. By some accounts, contentious politics may have also prevented additional Delts from being named to All-Star teams during this period.
Delts celebrate the victory. Here Delt brothers are clad in
their “Rager Suits”, a race day tradition.
Throughout the next 15 years, the program evolved and saw its first top 10 performances since 1976 with an 8th and a 6th place finish in 1993 and 2000 respectively. Notable individual performances in 1994 made Chris Thomas the team’s first Rookie of the Year. Despite the team’s 16th place finish in 1996, Chris was named to the All-Star team.
Throughout the next 15 years, the program evolved and saw its first top 10 performances since 1976 with an 8th and a 6th place finish in 1993 and 2000 respectively. In 2002 the team reached a discouraging low, by not attempting to qualify. In 2003 they failed to complete their qualification attempt fast enough to make the field. In 2004, unexpected performances led them to a 13th place finish but 2005 proved be to business-as-usual with a 29th place effort. In 2006, the team qualified dead last in 33rd, the worst showing in team history. Finishing 31st, the house had settled into an attitude where performance was not as important as participation. In 2007, a new group of Delts took the helm and vowed to change that mindset.
The 2007 squad included sophomore rookies, Matt Neibler, Jon Banas, and Greg Maves, who joined forces with veteran junior Matt Lee to change Delts Cycling forever. Three years of hard work and diligent effort, both on and off the bike, transformed the team and revived the Delts Cycling program. Attracting new coaching and funding, building new training facilities and demanding a competitive and rigorous training regiment, made the Delts contenders once again.
In 2009, the fraternity celebrated its best finish yet, placing 2nd, and for the first time in a single year Delts had 2 riders named to the Little 500 All-Star team.
With the graduation of 3 seniors from the 2009 team, the future of Delt Cycling appeared to be at risk. But, these newly minted Delt alums were intent on maintaining the team’s strength and continued diligent involvement. Led in 2010 by senior Jon Myrvold, the Delts remained a key player with an impressive 4th place finish. In 2011, the team returned as a powerhouse. Led by senior James Coudright, they won the prestigious Team Pursuit title beating Sigma Chi in the finals and keeping the 4-time defending champion Cutters out of the finals for the first time in 5 years. By now, Delts we’re regulars at the front of the Little 500 peloton. Despite an early race accident that put the Delts almost 2 laps down, we fought back courageously to finish 4th once again.
As 2012 dawned, Delts returned as a race day favorite. Led by 2010 Rookie of the Year and member of the 2011 All-Star team, RJ Stuart became Delts’ first Individual Time Trial champion and again led the team to a second consecutive Team Pursuit title against perennial favorite and Greek rival Phi Delta Theta. On race day, RJ was surrounded by a formidable group of young talent and knowledgeable veterans that included Junior Phil Sojka, Senior Nick Lenard, and Sophomore Luke Momper. They were joined by all 6 Delt Cycling alums who had graduated since the 2009 race. Together this powerhouse would become the best team on the track.
We joined the five -time defending champion Cutters as the only race contenders with back-stretch pit positions. Strategically using the combination of our competitor’s obstructed line-of-sight and juxtaposition between turns 1 and 3 to create unexpected accelerations and exchanges to eventually control the race tempo. The team raced smart and we stuck to our pre-race plan.
For the first 180 of the 200 laps the race remained tight with Delts working to cover breaks by our closest competitors. On lap 181, Luke Momper noticed a move by rivals Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi. He followed out their exchange and gained a nearly 80 meter gap on the field.
Instead of coming in for an exchange as instructed, he kept going, widening his lead. On the next lap, Luke exchanged to Nick Lenard. Nick road 3 laps off the front, in the wind, and incredibly maintained Luke’s gap. Nick then exchanged to Phil Sojka who rode four more laps and widened the team’s lead to nearly 100 meters before exchanging to senior RJ Stuart.
RJ got on the bike at lap 190, 5 laps before the team had planned. In the ensuing laps, RJ extended the gap forged by Luke, maintained by Nick, and pushed by Phil from nearly 100 meters to 125 meters. Now out of sight from our closest competition, RJ was riding laps that equaled or bettered the group of 3 chasing teams that included Phi Delts, Sigma Chi and Cutters. Twice RJ waved off exchange opportunities to put in a teammate and rode the final 10 laps solo, in an effort unmatched in recent years.
In front of a sellout crowd of nearly 21,000, RJ became the first Delt to take the checkered flag in the Little 500. It was 62 years in the making and over 100 Delts preceded the extraordinary efforts of this year’s team. Fifty five times Delt teams have left the track on race day and dreamed of this moment. In the end, it took 6 years of concentrated effort and dedication, and countless hours of training, planning, and dreaming to produce what is without question one of the greatest achievements of the Beta Alpha chapter. For the next 364 days, we can celebrate as Little 500 Champions and the men of Delts Cycling will admire their championship rings and never forget the day they made history.
For the team, the goal for 2013 is obvious: become the first Fraternity to repeat as Little 500 Champions in almost 30 years. We return 2 riders from our championship squad and have strong prospects on the way. By all accounts, we have the talent, horsepower, coaching, funding, and facilities to do it. All you need to decide is where you’ll be on April 20th 2013; a new Delt Cycling tradition awaits.
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A Look Back at Little 500
By Matt Neibler, Fmr. Captain, Delts Cycling
For an unprecedented third consecutive year, the men of Delts Cycling have achieved a top five finish in The Little 500. This year marked another incredible performance from a group of brothers who are continuing Beta Alpha’s growing tradition of cycling excellence. The squad’s five returning riders gained accolades and notoriety both on and off the track, proving what is possible after another year dedicated and focused effort. Today’s Delts Cycling squad is more focused, better trained, and more fully equipped than ever and they continue to perform at the top of the Little 500 field, winning local cycling races, and representing IU on the collegiate cycling circuit.
During the 2011 Spring Series Delts qualified 5th, placed 4 riders in the top 50 in the Individual Time Trial and won the Team Pursuit. Their result in the team pursuit was a first for Delts Cycling who beat out the defending champion Cutters to make it to the finals where they smashed the Sigma Chi’s in a hard fought, dramatic race.
On race day, the team started strong, but was involved in an early wreck that put them nearly 2 laps down. Never daunted, they responded with an aggressive series of efforts that separated them from all but 3 of their closest competitors. Led by Senior James Coudright and Senior All-Star RJ Stuart, they kept the pressure on. Over the next 150 laps, the team fought their way back to within 1/2 lap of the 2 leading teams and an opportunity to sprint for third. This incredible comeback was facilitated by the fantastic effort of Freshman Phil Soyjka and Junior Nick Lenard. Their ultimate 4th place finish marked Delts Cycling’s third consecutive top 5 performance and confirmed that, over the past 3 years, Delta Tau Delta has best fraternity cycling program on campus.
Next year, the team will return 3 riders from this year’s race team and is vigorously training 2 more. All will enter the 2012 Little 500 season with one goal in mind. Perhaps more than ever before, a Little 500 Championship is within reach and the men of Delts Cycling have the dedication, talent, training, and coaching necessary to make it possible.
I hope you will join us for the ride.
Fmr. Captain, Delts Cycling
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Delts Cycling: From Comeback to Champion Chase
Over the course of the last four years, a group of Delts has worked to transform Beta Alpha’s Little 500 team from barely qualifying to Fraternity Champions and race runners-up.
In the pages of Little 500 history, the last half decade of racing will likely be characterized by two separate dynasties; neither of which Delts was apart: that of Alpha Tau Omega and that of the Cutters. But in between their headlines are a multitude of personal victories and defeats. For Brothers of Delta Tau Delta’s Beta Alpha Chapter this era will be remembered as a turning point, a bench mark of change both in house culture and in team ideology, placing the Fraternity among IU’s cycling elite. For riders, it was a journey marked by moments that will forever define their college careers. For them it was a journey of self-discovery forged through endless training hours, shared passions, intense rivalries, fierce competition, collective drive, and a mutual dependency that built a true fraternal brotherhood.
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