If you’re any sort of track cycling fan then I’m guessing you were either down at the Olympic velodrome, or at least watching the action on Eurosport, for last week’s Six Day London.
And if it was half as much fun to watch it as it was to ride in it, then hopefully you all had a blast.
Maybe “fun” is stretching it a little bit because a lot of the racing was really, really tough - especially the “Madison Chase,” race that formed the centre of the action on every one of the six nights.
I had never done a Six Day and, to be honest, had not done that much Madison racing full stop, even though I am actually reigning national Madison champion!
Don’t ask me how that happened. I was meant to be riding those championships back in 2014 with Ed Clancy, then he pulled out and I teamed up with Alex Dowsett, then he went with someone else so I ended up riding with Ollie Wood and all we had to do was sprint every 20 laps and chase down Dowsett every time he tried to gain a lap. Somehow we did it and won.
Riding this Six Day Madison in London was a completely different world.
Of course, a big part of the week was a farewell to the great Bradley Wiggins and a great chance for the fans to see him in action with Mark Cavendish - two of the greatest riders this country ever has - or ever will - produce.
I have to be honest, as someone whose career has coincided with those two greats, it was a thrill to be part of what was a bit of a tribute week for them. Great memories of two of the all-time legends.
Not that they were giving away any leaving presents! They rode like their lives depended on it and you could tell how competitive they were being.
The whole atmosphere was new to me and I have to be honest, locating my partner Chris Latham under the disco strobe lights when he was wearing a white shirt was one of the most difficult parts of the week! Basically, if you’re wearing white, your jersey takes on the colour of whatever strobe light is pulasting at that particular moment.
But we managed and we also picked up a few individual wins - a couple of flying laps in which we did the fastest lap of the whole week, we almost came first in the “Win and Out” and I managed to win the derny race which was great because it was the first one I’d ever done.
Unfortunately, Chris was taken ill one night and that’s when our lack of Six Day knowledge came into it. Apparently, we could have got Chris signed off by a doc and our team could have been neutralised for that night’s Madison. Instead, Chris rode on and we lost three laps and, with that, went our chances of a high finish.
Still, we managed to get a lot of points in the individual events and ended up 10th overall which wasn’t bad given the quality of the field.
It was a long week and obviously tiring but I also got to spend time in London with my aunt and uncle and some other family so, all in all, it was an enjoyable week and Six Day London is undoubtedly here to stay on the racing calendar.
There’s no chance of a rest this week as I’m writing this as I head up to Glasgow for the first World Cup meeting of the winter season. I think it will be my only one World Cup, so I’m looking for a decent ride in the individual pursuit if possible and I’m looking forward to joining up with a pretty young team pursuit squad - Ollie Wood, Kian Emadi, Mark Stewart and Matt Bostock- to see what we can do.
After that, there are more Revolution track meetings coming over three successive weekends in late November/early December in Paris, Manchester and London when I’m riding for Pedalsure. Plus, I’ll be taking part in some more of the Six Day series, starting with Amsterdam in early December.
And somewhere in there, I still owe my new wife Lauren a honeymoon!
Thanks to @alberttorresbarcelo, @stoneallanstone, @mattgrayson_photo and @conquistacc for their brilliant photos from the Six Day