Now. Low-res little 5, the abbreviated pictures. but first, I'd like to say something.
There is always a lot of unwarranted hate flying around, always. it is the nature of people. i have been guilty of being one of those people who hates something just because everyone does, without a real reason.
i have, in the past, hated people who have everything handed to them.
Also, I hate purdue. I was born hating purdue; as everyone knows, purdue is just a place where satan's spawn (and ugly engineers) come from. I don't have a reason; I'm just supposed to hate them. I didn't attend college there, I've never lived there, and, in fact, the only time I've ever been there during daylight hours it was grey and dreary (which may have something to do with my negative opinion of it). They're also the nemesis of IU's sporting events, although they continually beat us at many things nowadays.
It is also the nature of people to hate what they do not understand. I, too, have been guilty of this. I hated the cutters. not actively, mind you, but i did hate them. In my mind, they got so many sponsorships just because they pay homage to a time-honored movie, they were dirty recruiters, and, among other things, they were all completely elitist douchebags. when i thought all of these things, did I know anyone associated with the team? well, no. had i taken rumors of elitist douchebaggery at face value from 4th and 5th party sources (the game of "telephone" is widely regarded as a completely acceptable medium of transferring information for people my age, you know)? yes, i very much had. i took these radically ridiculous notions to heart so much so that when my future husband was introduced to me as "erik hamilton," i proceeded to respond, "i know all about you; you cutter douchebags are all the same."
and, since my initial encounter with my first "cutter douchebag," i have been brought into the most incredible groups of people I have ever had the privilege of stumbling into. they are a family to each other. What other people mistake for elitist behavior is simply family loyalty and devotion. clayton and I were talking after the race was over and he said to me, "I have a family. I have everyone I need to ride with. I have everyone I need to coach me. I have everyone I need in our family here. I know a lot of other teams ride together or with a bunch of other people, and that's fine for them. I just have everything I need in the people I surrounded myself with." What people misunderstand is astronomical. I wish people could see what I see. I wish everyone saw Clayton behind the podium after the race this year, telling IUSF workers and IUPD security officers that each one of the top ten teams' members were his team members so that all ten teams could have their moment on the podium. I wish everyone could see the tight-knit group that I get to be a part of, the group that hosts sleepovers and milkshake nights watching movies together.
From the first day I was introduced to everyone, they have all accepted me. There was no judgment or reservations (at least none that I am aware of, anyway). It just isn't in their nature. I met Jason Fowler's fiancee for the first time at a small dinner, and she gave us a card to congratulate Erik and I on our engagement (with my name spelled right on it and everything!). I have many a morning been sitting in the BakeHouse alone for a short breakfast, and by the end of what becomes 2 hours there I have seen their coach, old Cutters riders, current Cutters riders, and Cutters' girlfriends, all of whom stop to say hi or join me at breakfast. I was included in their after-race celebrations, large and small... I looked around at their gathering of riders (past and present), friends of the group, and riders' family members at dinner and I was completely overwhelmed. I sought out Jim Kirkham, their coach, at the dinner so that I could thank him for openly accepting me into this family that I unintentionally found (when I was DEFINITELY not looking for it). My accidental family has made my past year in Bloomington one of the most incredible on record when it was slated to be one of the most difficult; almost every one of my closest friends had either already moved away or were going to be moving quickly. I am honored to consider myself a part of their family, and feel like the luckiest person in the world to do so.
meeting one of the "Cutter douchebags" was one of the most fortuitous meetings I have ever had, and one that will prove to be the most rewarding. Little 500 teams tend to live and die by alumni support, and the alumni involved with the Cutters will return, time and time again, to live and die by each other.
And now, that said, the photos.
And then here are the photos of my extraordinary ladies of team revolution, who also deserve mad props for being completely amazing and hard working, determined always!