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.
If you ever decide to promote a six day race there’s a check list you’ll have to go through. Start with a short steep indoor track; the best riders you can afford; food and drink concessions; a cool light show; a good ‘speaker’; maybe some live acts – but one of your key ingredients will be music. A six day final chase with no music would be unthinkable – be it live jazz in Grenoble, 70’s disco in Gent or funky trombones in Rotterdam, you need ‘sounds.’ Enter Peter Traynor.
After his charges had some success in the first half of the race in Amsterdam Ed Hood was hoping for more of the same in the back half but instead most of the spoils went to Paris-Roubaix champion, Niki Terpstra. Here's Ed's inside look at the all the goings on from the six day in Amsterdam from the final nights.
The days are getting short, and vampire-like, the six day beasts have emerged into their twilight world. Ed Hood gets us started with all things Six today - he recently spoke with a legendary man who's been working Sixes for over three decades, Kris - for a look at the season so far and what's to come. Read on!
"When you see the track, you think, no way, I can't ride that ! it's too small !" and that's from world madison champion, Michael Morkov. Ed Hood is once again in the trenches doing the dirty work. Before he got started with his job, he took look at the Gent Six and what we can expect over the next 1,2,3,4,5,6 nights of full-on racing.
Dukla Prague’s Martin Hacecky is our man in Eastern Europe; a cycling journalist, TV race commentator, professional roadman and winter boards rider. So there are few better people to ask the question of ‘What’s a day in the life of a six day rider really like?’
Supermarkets! I hate them; but during a six when you have to go and do the shopping in the local mall, they're surreal. A six is it's own little world, a bubble, a parallel universe - the 'real' world of kids, shopping bags, window displays, hyper teenagers and long suffering husbands seems distant, unreal
'Girls, girls, girls !' Sailor was the band but I can't remember the year - that's the tune for the ladies' points as night five swirls and flashes to life... We're into the final two days of the Rotterdam Six, there's racing, music, work, and team presentations on the docket - let's take a closer look at the finale!
Copenhagen Six Day 2014: With five riders to look after as a runner at the Copenhagen Six, Ed Hood had his work cut out for him but he still had time to rock out to the music, take a few photos and soak up the atmosphere from inside this famous race.
First held back in 1936 the Rotterdam Six Day is a classic in the six day cycling scene in more ways than one. The tradition, the hard racing & the entertainment create an atmosphere like no other. PEZ was there trackside to take it all in.
‘Burrows, le Pantani Anglais,’ said the French papers - when PEZ saw that le Plateau de Beille climb was included in the 2011 Tour route we decided we had to have a word about it with the man who once held the record for the tough 10 mile ascent.
The cheer from the cabin next door to ours - below the Grenoble velodrome - told us that the result Flanders had been holding its breath for, had arrived. The positif in the 2008 Gent Six Day race from Belgium's number one Six Day man, Iljo Keisse, has been dismissed on the grounds of 'insufficient evidence.' "Cathine was not found in the 'B' sample and HCT was there in quantities so small as to have no effect on performance." Pez was granted the first face to face interview with Iljo, after the result was announced.
'A 39 ans, il sera le doyen des coureurs engages sur cette edition des 6 jours,' says the programme - the oldest man in the race, Jules Pijourlet is less than half his age. Danny Stam of Alkmaar in Holland, a man who has won 16 six days in his career has decided to call it a day, this will be his last ride here; with his final race being Copenhagen in February. PEZ recently sat down with the Dutchman.
They may sound like a lounge singing duet, but there's no schmaltz to these guy's mission; they're trying to build a career playing to that most demanding of houses - a six day crowd. We caught up with the two 22 year olds - Guy from Indianapolis and Austin from Orange County - a few days into the six days of Grenoble.
Who makes sure the wheels turn smoothly during a six day race? The mechanics are the men who change the gears, stick on the tyres, endlessly polish the paintwork and pick up the pieces after crashes. They arrive first to build the bikes up and leave last after having stripped the bikes down for transit. What makes a man want to roam Europe, often driving a thousand kilometres through the night to get to the next race - or to get home? PEZ spoke to circuit spanner man, Dirk Dekeyser at the recent Grenoble Six.
The 70th edition of the Six-Days of Flanders, Ghent (Zes-Daagse Van Vlaanderen, Gent) begins in the East Flanders medieval city on Tuesday night. The crowds will once again flock through the doors, the beer will flow and the music will pump as the annual winter cycling fest begins. When the gun sounds, the pedals will turn and the wheels spin as 26 riders begin another race to nowhere.
The Six Day circus has moved on from Rotterdam to Bremen, but before we turn our eyes to Germany, there's a classic six that needs to play out its final two acts in the Netherlands. With four days down, there's only one thing left to do: the finale. Read on for the conclusion of this year's Rotterdam Six!
PEZ didn’t make day one, but it ended with Franco (Marvellous) Marvulli in the lead, partnered by big strong Dutch GreenEdge recruit, Jens Mouris. Franco is in the PEZ cabin along with Jesper Morkov and a ‘back to the fold’ Alex Rasmussen. Let's head back into the trenches into the singular world of the six day!
Adriano Baffi was in the stade last night, I snapped Duclos Lasalle, but didn't get a shot of the little Italian, he was a dazzling roadman sprinter and top six day man, he won here in Grenoble four times. His face is beaming out from the front of today's Speed Gazette, the race's daily news sheet. I'm finding the rhythm of the race, now - I slept well and didn't stumble too much on the way across the car park to the bakers. The Grenoble Six rolls on...
It's gone midnight, the stands are almost empty and only the hard core drinkers remain at the track centre tables. But just like on the Titanic, the band plays 'til the bitter end - there's no singer this year, just one of many little cost cuttings we've noticed - but as long as Contis and Schwalbes rumble on the hardwood, the boys in the band keep it pumping.