On my way to the Copenhagen Six Day 2010 and Scotland was beautiful this morning, the views from the window of the British Midland jet were stunning.
The Pentlands covered in snow, the ‘terriers head’ of Fife framed by the Forth and Tay; the Isle of May seeming to hover in the air, guarding the mouth of the Forth.
It was cloudy over the North Sea, but we were cruising well above the soft white carpet; the sky the deepest of blues, the sunlight golden.
It was a rude awakening as we descended through the fluffiness though.
The islands off Copenhagen were ringed with pack ice, the snow was thick and there were only a few spotlight points of weak sunshine on the steel grey water.
The navigation buoys were keeled way over by the wind and fierce tidal rip.
The Oresund bridge looked even more surreal than ever as it’s road and train decks dived from the bridge piers into the ice covered artificial island where it plunges into a tunnel to complete it’s journey from Sweden.
The plane rumbled and rattled across hard packed snow and ice, with piles of dirty snow heaped everywhere.
“Welcome to Copenhagen!”
We have 11 riders to look after here, that means additional help; I met up with Martyn Frank in the arrivals hall.
Martyn is a masseur; he works with John Herety’s Rapha team and has also been on the Six Day scene, with Garry Beckett.
If Garry’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s now Endura Racing DS.
He hasn’t been doing the Sixes this winter because of the demands of getting Endura up and running.
Incidentally, speaking of Endura, I noticed that Bob Hayles has ‘Killer’ printed on his jersey collar. I was just pondering that if I was in the squad, I’d have to have ‘Fatty’ or ‘Baldy’ on there.
Kris picked us up and we made our way up to Ballerup, where the stadium is located.
“Copenhagen” Six is a bit of a misnomer – Ballerup is well outside the city, maybe 15 miles?
In the “good old days” the Six was help right in the heart of the city, at the Forum, but with the completion of Denmark’s first permanent indoor track, the Six moved out of town.
The Six was missing from the calendar a few years back – the laminated timber roof beams collapsed under a big snow load and suddenly, it became an outdoor track.
There was the usual huge dispute between architect, engineer and contractor, but eventually the roof was fixed and it’s a good looking venue, again. There are World Cups held here and the Worlds kick off this March at the venue.
The man with the cabin keys had disappeared to the airport, so we decided not to waste time and went to do the shopping.
Our main purchases were nuts and raisins – World Madison Champion, Michael Mørkøv has decided that he only wants ‘sports food’ in the track side cabin and in the big cabin downstairs, he doesn’t want to nibble biscuits – only healthy dried fruit and nuts.
We also topped up on bottled water; Michael and Worlds winning amigo Alex Rasmussen, have also decided to forego the perennial Six Day rider’s favourite ‘glugs’ of Sprite, Fanta and Coke – only water for their cabin.
Prices in Denmark are wild – at least double what you would expect to pay in the UK. But I guess that’s the price for living in a mega welfare state.
We checked in to our Zleep Hotel on the way back, spartan but clean, cosy and so much better than sleeping in the camper’s ‘death pod’ (but don’t tell Kris I said that).
Zleep Hotels are a budget chain and their patter is good – “No phone in the room – what’s the point? You have your mobile with you . . .”
Back at the Ballerup Super Arena, there was the usual pack horse job to do; transporting all the food, drink, dishes and cutlery, washing and drying paraphernalia, and all the rest, from the camper to the big under-track cabin, which is our HQ for the next week.
Bruno Risi (he’s still the King) bounced past; “Ciao, Bruno.” “Hi guys!”
Table and chairs have to be appropriated – there are never enough – and the space transformed into a lounge/Chinese laundry/store room.
Colby Pearce, the American rider stopped for a chat – he’s looking well, skinny and with good colour; he’s riding with Daniel Holloway (Hollywood) the man who enlivened the sprints last year, with his Bruce Springsteen impersonations at the top of the bankings.
Set up takes a long time; it has to be just right for Kris, and it was early evening before we stole a look at the track.
The lighting is very bright and a mixed bunch of pros, amateurs and sprinters circled the boards as Kris fretted about our track side cabins getting purloined by ‘baddies.’
I had an telephone interview to do and had to hightail it back to the hotel – in short sleeves, my sweat shirt was locked in the cabin and I didn’t have time to mess about.
Interview duly conducted, I set out on foot to find the restaurant, where Kris and Martyn were making with the pizza.
I missed the turn and ended up walking a couple of kilometres in the snow – again, in short sleeves.
My arms were still burning from exposure when Kris knocked on the room door, bearing a pizza – he’s not a bad boss!