As the historic London Six Day dust settles, my coaching corner wisdom for the day stems from one of my first Six Day experiences. In short, check your equipment!
It was January in Holland at one of the most prestigious Sixes on the circuit – Rotterdam. 10-15 thousand spectators, loud music (of questionable genres), colorful laser lights and blinding spot lights were the norm. Yep, it was awesome. I recall lining up for a Keirin late one night, early in the week. We just did rider intro’s and I was pumped!
The gun sounded and with Dutch and French World Champions to either side of me, I rolled off the line and assumed the cat bird’s seat in the rear of the group, only to realize I didn’t switch the cog on my disk after warming up. “Oh man…”, I thought. With the sinking feeling of instantly recognizing the mistake which left me severely under geared, I had 5 laps to consider my blunder. I had to run damage control. When the horses were unleashed for the final run into the finish I needed to be prepared.
“What should I do I thought?” Do I fall over; say I have a mechanical; get a cramp like Lebron James? I opted for plan C -the motor pace, hang on for all you’re worth, don’t look at anything but the wheel in front of you option. I didn’t get dropped, but needless to say it wasn’t ideal either.
I say that to say, missed gear changes and equipment mishaps happen to the best of us, but they can be avoided on race day. Check and double check your equipment, even if you have the most trusted mechanic at your disposal – yourself!