It's just like the cool black and white six day pictures from the Cycling Weekly magazine in the 70's - a huge, spectacularly lit hall with a beautiful wide track; packed stands; the track centre alive with well dressed folks drinking, eating, chatting, laughing; a field of 18 teams hurtling round below the lights as the music pumps and the jerseys shimmer. It's the way they're supposed to look, it's the view of the Berlin Six, and the latest stop for the carnival that is six day racing.
The clue is in his name, Ian ‘Field’ – smooth tarmac or even smoother hardwood boards are not for Mr. Field; he’s opted for the mud, sand, ice, adverse cambers, roots, yes, and fields of cyclo-cross. But not in the quiet of the green English countryside; rather in the madness that is a Flanders cyclo-cross – sand, cabbage patches, frites, hamburgers, beer, crazed fans who are insanely loyal to ‘their’ man and growl at the sight of the opposition’s ‘supporter’ coats; not to mention speeds that are positively frightening.
With just a few hours to go before the madison which saw Switzerland's double world scratch and madison champion and Olympic madison silver medallist, Franco Marvulli take victory in the 40th edition of the Six Days of Grenoble, the big man from Zurich took time to talk to PEZ about the current six day scene.
Jennifer Schuble was near graduation at West Point when she suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident during hand to hand combat training. Shortly after that she was in an auto accident that damaged her arm - and was then diagnosed with MS. For many folks, that would have been the signal to give up. Not this lady; at 33 she's a gold medal winning member of the US Paralympic cycling team.
9.30am on Sunday morning and the group is ready to leave. One rider is in the full black and white of Cervelo, not a rider who wishes he was Sastre but one of Sastre’s key team riders Daniel Lloyd.
Ed Hood is a man of the track, and as a man of the track, you can bet your month's salary that he's in attendance at the biggest Six Day of them all: Gent. Once again, he's in the trenches, doing the dirty work for the racers, but it's a privileged angle. Read on!
Here at PEZ, we don’t normally get too involved in the machinations of daily bike advocacy. We of course support all efforts and directives to make the road a safer place to ride, but sometimes something pops up that is so foul, so disgusting, that it needs to be spoken about, and actions called for.