by Andrew Yee
Mom: He was very sickly until he started riding around on that bicycle.
Dad: Yeah… well… now his body’s fine, but his mind is gone.
-Breaking Away, 1979 Academy Award Winner, Best Screenplay
Many long-time cyclists have lost count of the # of times they’ve seen the classic movie Breaking Away, including your truly. I still think of Dave (Dennis Christopher) racing around rural roads anytime I hear Rossini’s Barber of Seville or Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and can’t go by a quarry without images of Mike (Dennis Quaid) hitting his head on the rock wall popping into my head.
But what does that have to do with cyclocross? A lot. While the coming-of-age movie has a bigger story to tell, the featured Little 500 race involves furiously pedaling a bike on a dirt track, dismounting and mounting at speed, riding countless laps and avoiding many crashes and UCI-like penalties, all while inebriated fans are screaming their lungs out to cheer you on or see you crash. Sounds like ‘cross to me.
Indiana University held its 59th run of the 200-lap race made famous by the movie this past Saturday, and the Cutters team won for the third year in a row and ninth time in the last twenty five years. Only this time, unlike in the movie, the Cutters team is made up of actual students. The Cutters overcame five seconds of penalties to win the race with a late attack with just one lap to go to take the win ahead of Delta Tau Delta and Phi Gamma Delta. Pi Beta Phi won the 100 lap women’s race for the first time, ahead of Delta Sigma Pi and Kappa Delta.
Watching the video below, it’s a wonder why Indiana doesn’t dominate the collegiate Cyclocross National Championships with all that ‘cross mount practice. But just as with cyclocross, for many participants, it’s not about the results but the experience, right?
We’ve got a photo gallery and two videos below to help you relive the fun.
Video from 2008 Race, with Barack Obama apperance:
Video of Cutters’ attack on last lap of 2009 race: