This week’s blog comes live from my hotel bed in Amsterdam where I’m trying to get a few hours sleep before the start of tonight’s latest Six Day extravaganza here in Holland.
I must admit, the early flight this morning was hardly ideal preparation for what promises to be the first of six brutally hard nights for me and my partner Chris Latham but hopefully come race time I’ll feel a bit more lively.
I’m going to need it, it’s going to be a hard week - similar format to the London Six but with two Madison races per night, instead of the one we had there - so it will take its toll.
We’re also coming off the last two weekends of Revolution Champions League series where I was pleased that Iljo Keisse and myself were able to clinch second spot behind Ed Clancy and Jon Mould in the final standings for Team PedalSure.
I think we made a race of it. The format wasn’t particularly helpful for us because, with it being a team event, all Ed and Jon had to do was mark us once they had a lead and it was nigh impossible for us to overtake them.
Still, we made a contest of it, at least, and won the last two races so it was nice to reward PedalSure for their investment in the event and the sport in general by giving them a few podiums and a bit of exposure over the two weekends in Manchester and London.
I think PedalSure have some exciting plans to extend their involvement in cycling next year - and not just at the pro level - so hopefully I can keep you informed about that when it happens.
As for the new Champions League format that the Revs have adopted, it was obviously the first year so you can still count it as the experimental stage. Some things about it worked, others didn’t.
They invited road teams and changed the events to try and cater for them but, possibly because it’s out of season for the road guys, they didn’t really feature as prominently as organisers might have liked.
The three sessions - Friday night, Saturday afternoon and night - might also drag things out a bit for some people’s liking and I’d like to see a bit more thought go into some of the events.
For example, I loved the elimination scratch race we did - a few laps of the devil and then 10 laps of a scratch race for the survivors. That was far more fun to ride - and, I guess, watch - than yet another 20km scratch race.
But I’m being a bit picky. Both weekends were well supported, there was some great racing - at least when Ed would let us! - and the event grows from strength to strength.
Something else I’ve noticed growing in quality this year is the standard of photography we get in our sport today.
Maybe it’s always been there and I’m only noticing more now that I am writing this blog, but I’ve been stunned by the quality of track racing photos and photographers that are out there.
I mention it because Russ Ellis, who I know from his work with WIGGINS, Sky and Rapha, sent me the amazing picture I’ve put at the top of this blog.
If you remember, at the London Six, I used some images from Matt Grayson, Allan Stone and Trevor Gornall at Conquista magazine.
A track is such a relatively small area and the background can be pretty dull and repetitive, I wouldn’t have thought you could get such dramatic and dynamic pictures on such a regular basis but all these guys do it.
Another personal favourite - and a good friend of mine - is Chris Keller-Jackson who has an amazing eye for track cycling and always seems to get the perfect pic at the perfect time.
It you’re a fan of Instagram, get on there and check Chris and these guys out … they really are some of the best in the business:
@crankphoto (that's Chris), @cyclingimages (that’s Russ), @stoneallanstone, @mattgrayson_photo, @conquistacc
Until then wish me luck in Amsterdam and give me a shout on Eurosport if you’re watching!