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Tales from the (indoor) Peloton

A night at a Six Day

By Paul Mirtschin, photos by Allen Wright

Ex-pat Aussie Allen Wright loves his Six Day races, and since he is now living in Munich, there was no chance he was going to miss out on the Munich Six Day. Luckily he controlled his excitement enough to send us these photos.

It's more than just racing
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Part rock concert, part circus, and part track meet, Six Day races are something you try not to understand. At no other cycling event could you walk away from the race, put a deposit on a new frame, grab a few beers and a bite to eat before heading off to either the disco or to see a live band...and not have to leave the building.

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People come to see the racing, but it isn't the only reason they are there. If it was, track meets all over the world would have sell out crowds. The main reason they come is for the show; the bright lights, loud music and party atmosphere means you can't really have a bad time. And if you get bored, there are a million things for you to watch, take part in or to eat and drink. With this particular Six Day being held in Munich, that means a lot of roast meat, German sausages and countless different German beers. I hope you aren't on a diet.

The standing still race
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Of course it wouldn't be a Six Day without, well, six days of track racing, and here is where another of the quirks of the Six Day appears; you get to see your favourite riders all the time. You see them sprint, you see them race the Madison, then they will race behind the Derny. And the next night they will do it all again, amassing points to hopefully take out the event. But with all this also comes some fun, since losing an event isn't the end of the world. Riders will show off a bit, playing up for the crowds, and some events don't seem to be there except to humour the audience. But at the end of the day, the points and laps are all counted up, and there is still a winner.

Hanging out at the bar
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What to do now, as the night is still young, and the party is still warming up? We could hit the bar to sample some fine German beers, then kick back and listen to the live band, which is conveniently placed in the middle of the velodrome, or we could get in line for the disco and dance all night. Then again, there is also the sideshow, and what could be better than wasting some money to win a stuffed animal?

Well I guess we don't need the animal, since the whole place seems to be over-run by seven foot tall lions. Either they are here promoting one of the sponsors, or I should lay off the beer. At least the promotional girls in vinyl are human.

So we wander off into the night, wondering if the Aussie riders will be in first place by the end of the sixth night, and hoping that the lion you propositioned at 3am won't call. And ready to do it all again tomorrow night.

Images by Allen Wright

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