Spinning back the wheels of time
The Beta Alumni Team 2011 waits at the starting line. Courtesy of Tim Weadick
For DePauw Little 5 racers, senior year does not necessarily mean an end for Little 5. DePauw alumni can return and ride in the Little 5 Alumni Race. 2012 will mark the sixth annual alumni race.
Alumni riders are divided into four categories: Masters 30, Masters 40, Masters 50 and Masters 60. Masters 30 is for all riders under age 40, Masters 40 is for all rides in their 40s, Masters 50 is for all riders in their 50s and Masters 60 is for all riders over age 60.
This year's race will have eight riders in Masters 30, 26 riders in Masters 50 and three riders in Masters 60 - a total of 37 riders. Of the 37, only two are female - Donna Wallace '80 and Jesse Hawkins '11. This year, the alumni race field has two family pairings, Tim '83 and Marshall '10 Weadick, and Kent '80 and Alex '11 Billingsley. There is also the first husband-wife pair, Hugh and Donna Wallace '80.
"The emphasis is on having fun with a little spirited competition thrown into the mix," said Kent Billingsley, alumni race director.
If last year's average speed of 22.3 mph is any indicator, the alumni race can be very competitive. Still, the object of the race is to have fun. The "Chip Scoring System" from Motion Sports is used to score the race because in this system, no lapped riders are removed from the race.
"This allows everyone to enjoy the full experience of the race competing at their own level of ability," Kent Billingsley said.
Many alumni also come back for Little 5 weekend because they love DePauw. For example, Dave Westerholm '71 has been in the alumni race since its beginnings in 2006.
"I have been coming back to the alumni race since its inception for one reason: It's an excuse to come back to DePauw's beautiful campus, take a leisurely solo walking tour around it, mentally comparing today's incredible physical plant layout to what it was like back in 1967 to 71, and to relive those old DePauw 'Glory Days,'" Westerholm said.
Richard Born '83 echoed those sentiments.
"I enjoy going back to DePauw, but I've never been fond of reunions," Born said. "The Little 5 Alumni weekend is the perfect solution for me, because the race somehow makes it real. It also tends to attract many of the people I'm most interested in catching up with and who also tend not to go to reunions."
Tim Weadick '83, on the other hand, came back for his son.
"My youngest son, Marshall, decided to ride in the Little 5 race his junior year," Weadick said. "This was the same time the alumni race was starting, so several of my fraternity brothers and I decided to ride then watch my son race. We have come every year since."
Weadick stated that his son wanted to come back and race as an alum, and he agreed to compete alongside Marshall.
For many returning alumni, Little 5 is a race that sparked in them a passion for cycling that lasted long after graduation.
"I have never stopped racing," said Jim Vidmich, an alum of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity from the class of '82. "I simply enjoy the sport and the competition. One of the best memories for me were the training rides outside of Greencastle with other ATOs. There were great country roads to ride on, and there was always that one crazy dog who used to chase us down the road. We'd use that section as a sprint point to try and outpace the dog."
Tim Frost, '84 also raved about the benefits of Little 5, stating that it gave him a strong foundation for an active and healthy life.
Alumni will start arriving on campus on Friday, April 27. Kent Billingsley will lead a welcome alumni group ride at 1:15 p.m. from the Student Union Building, which students are welcome to participate in. The Little 5 Alumni Race will take place on Saturday, April 28 at 12:30 p.m.
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