Cycling for Days 

Well 6 to be precise. On Sunday Luke surprised me with VIP tickets to the Six Day Cycling
Series at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park. The Six Day Series started in London in 1878 where track racing and musical entertainment join forces. Luke went to the Six Day Series last year when it made its London comeback after a 35 year absence. How he described it to me and the footage I had seen over other social media sites this year and last year really didn’t do it justice. Our tickets meant that we were on the infield of the velodrome so right down where the athletes are. The tickets also meant that we had drink and food all evening (not the best food I have to say) and then the DJ is right in the centre of the infield with a podium surrounding the DJ booth.

So what is Six Day? So there are numerous teams of two from different countries competing over six consecutive nights. There are both women and men’s only teams and there is a mixture of sprint and endurance races. There are four qualifying events in London, Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam with the Final in Mallorca. There were multiple races from 4pm-8pm and every winner gets a bottle of Champagne and of course the glory! There are races such as the Derny, Keirin, Madison, 250m Lap and various other races to get you up and shouting your lungs out for your team. All of this is to loud music and neon lights it’s most definitely a party atmosphere!

My favourite races were the Derny and the Madison. The Derny is a race where a single rider lines up behind the Derny which is a motorised bike especially designed for this race. As the riders are sitting within the Derny’s slipstream they can get up to some really high speeds. Bradley Wiggins explained that you forget how quickly you’re going at the point where he moved slightly out of the slipstream of the Derny and felt like a parachute was pulling him back.

The last race of the night was the Madison which on the Sunday is 60 rather then 45 mins long so you get pretty dizzy watching the guys go round the track. The Madison is a race where the teams ride in their pairs and they take it in turns to sprint round the track until his teammate takes over. This is done with a hand-sling. The hand-sling is where the racers take each other’s hand and sling the other forward into their lap, almost like crossing over the baton in a race. The race is really intense as each team fight for points throughout the intermediate sprints. They can also try to take a lap from the other riders. The race on Sunday Wiggins and Cavendish were constantly battling for a lap and points against De Ketele and De Pauw from Belgium and it was right at the last moments after a missed hand-sling that De Ketele and De Pauw won. Absolutely gutting but well deserved, I was screaming so much it made me think back to the Olympics and how crazy you get shouting your support.

If you ever get a chance to go to the Velodrome or see the Six Day racing I couldn’t recommend it enough. It really is a different way of watching cycling and the atmosphere is awesome. Great music and quality cycling what more could you want? The top 3 teams doused themselves in champagne and were covered in confetti for the last evening of glory before the final in Mallorca. As we were leaving Wiggins and Cavendish’s bikes were being put away in a van outside (hopefully by someone in their team) so I took a couple of snaps, it definitely rounded off the evening nicely!

Thanks, Prepared to tri. x

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