On Little 500 race day, many different cyclists suit up to compete against their rivals and other teams trying to prevent them from achieving victory. But for some participants, the race extends beyond regular competition and delves into family pride.
Emily, Pam and Kim Loebig
Emily Loebig is a junior rider for Delta Gamma. The 2012 season will be her second year riding for her sorority. Originally from Cincinnati, Emily first found out about Little 500 when she visited Bloomington during her eighth-grade year to watch her older sister Kim compete as a sophomore in the race for the independent team Cycledelics.
The year after, Emily saw her other sister, Pam, join Kim’s team. She then decided she would try cycling herself when she came to IU.
“I thought the race was so cool,” she said. “I saw how cool of an experience my sisters had with it, so I definitely wanted to try it out because of them.”
Because of the age difference between her and her sisters, Emily was never able to race with either of them. This year, however, Pam is a coach for Delta Gamma. Kim also has helped Emily prepare and will be behind the team’s pit on race day.
Emily said that despite her sisters’ great racing knowledge, they’ve taught her more than just biking.
“Even more than just riding, they’ve taught me just how great Little 500 is and what you can take from it,” she said. “They look back so fondly on their experience. That’s helped me take everything with a grain of salt and really appreciate the Little 500 for all it has to offer.”
The best Kim and Pam did during their racing days in the Little 500 was a fourth-place finish. Emily has already beaten them in that respect, as her Delta Gamma team placed third in her first year of riding back in 2010.
Pam said she and Kim want to see her go the next step and be the first Loebig sister to win the race.
“Both Kim and I so badly want for Emily to win,” she said. “To see all of her hard work would pay off would be a victory shared among all of us. We definitely want her to win.”
Pam, though, has the best Individual Time Trials performance among the sisters, and she admitted she would be OK with Emily staying away from that mark.
“I like it that way,” she said amid laughter.
Kevin and Brian Depasse
Living up to the standards of the Cutters is challenging enough. For freshman Brian Depasse, the fact that his older brother, Kevin, is their top rider is more than enough motivation.
“It does help push me a lot,” Brian said. “I think if I see him in front of me rather than somebody else, I might push a little harder. Yeah, we’re definitely really competitive.”
The competition between the Depasse brothers is nothing new. Kevin said they’re always trying to outdo each other in just about everything.
Before college, running was the main battle. Back in middle school, Brian fell half a second short of Kevin’s two-mile school record. Kevin has always ragged on his brother for that, but he admitted Brian got the best of him in high-school running times.
Now that they’re at IU, the advantage is back with Kevin, for now. This year, he set the fourth-best ITT time and can improve it next year when he comes back as a fifth-year senior.
However, Brian said he’s not focused on beating his brother’s time.
“I don’t really concentrate on what everybody else does,” he said. “I just try to do my thing and try to improve on what I do. It’s a mark. Maybe not even him being my brother, but him being the best on the team this year. That’s a mark to shoot for, but I wouldn’t say specifically just because of him.”
As older brothers often do, Kevin said at first he tried too hard to help his younger brother learn to bike.
“I want to correct his every wrong turn,” he said. “You have to step back sometimes and let him learn by himself. It took me a little bit, but I stepped back and let the Cutter magic do its work. I’ve gotten to know a whole new side of my brother I didn’t
Brian isn’t a top-four rider for the Cutters this year and won’t get a chance to ride in the Little 500. If he could ride next year before Kevin leaves, he said it would be that much
“That would mean a lot,” Brian said. “I’m really close with all our teammates, but it would be really special to race with him.”
Kevin said he has confidence that Brian can make it next year and become one of the great riders in years to come.
“I think he can be as good as he wants to be at this point,” he said. “He’s got a lot of potential and natural ability. As long as he commits, he can be a great Little Fiver.”