I started my third professional sixday in a familiar way; with bike problems. After an expensive direct flight from Portland to Amsterdam to guarantee I wouldn't be stuck in Lost Luggage Limbo, I celebrated too soon when everything arrived in one piece, and promptly snapped my seat collar while building my bike in the hotel room. At this point, it's Saturday night, the sixday starts on Monday, I don't have a spare, and bike shops in Holland are closed on Sundays. And Mondays.
Long story short, sixday mechanics are incredible people, and fortunately one of the guys at the track on Monday had exactly the odd-size I needed. Day saved, on to the races.
The Sixday of Amsterdam may not have the prestige of Gent, or the mind-altering crowds of Rotterdam, but it makes up for all that with an amazing amount of energy. Every move you make in a kierin or jump you gamble on in a sprint is matched with cheers and roars that feel like a gusting tailwind, helping you get that little extra boost to make it to the line.
A coherent write-up of a sixday is a tough thing to achieve. It's not a single race, or even a stage race with different courses every day. For us it's the same races, run on the same schedule, the same track, the same bad Euro-techno, the same announcer hollering in Dutch, for six hours straight, every night for six nights. I can say that I felt better in the Kierins than I ever have before. Scored 2 second places to World Champions and reigning National Champions in arguably my worst event. The sprints were a whirlwind of narrow escapes and photo finishes.
The team sprints were the toughest part of the week. We were consistently outclassed by the Dutch, who were rotating 4 riders through thier 3 person team while we always had the same 3 tired Americans. We'd go a few tenths quicker than the previous night, and they'd go a half second quicker. We'd go a half second quicker the next night, and they'd best us again by nearly the same margin. In short, despite an improvement every single night (which I think is admirable itself), we were beaten every single time. I suppose a bit of home continent advantage never hurts...
At the end of the week I finished a new personal best 4th overall. It was a great time as always, I came back in one piece, and even more importantly it was good solid training for the upcoming World Cup season, which is my number one objective.
1 year ago