Munich Six Days
Track Cycling Event

Munich Six Days offer world class sports and lots of fun. Unfortunately due to the doping affairs, the Munich Six days lost more than 20.000 visitors in the last years. Therefore they have been cancelled for 2010.

I went there for the first time in 2007 and was thrilled!

On the picture you can see the winners of that day ( I think it was the second or third day) Erik Zabel and Leif Lampater in the Yellow Jersey during their lap of honor.

Erik Zabel and Leif Lampater in Yellow during Munich Sixdays 2007
At first the whole event seemed very peculiar to me. The Olympic Hall in Munich had been equipped with an indoor cycling track, whereas upstairs food stalls, restaurants and booths with sports equipment could be found.

Olympic Hall in Munich hosting Six Days Cycling Event We took a stroll through the fair and admired the most high-tech bicycles, functional clothing or accessories like Polar cycling computers.

I was very impatient to go to our seats and watch the races, but had to learn that most visitors (including my friends) don't come here for the sports, but rather for party, food and entertainment. And that's exactly what we did: we enjoyed the fine dining, drank a cocktail and met some friends we hadn't expected to.

When we finally went to our seats to watch the races, I couldn't figure out neither the rules nor what and why was happening on the track (or velodrome). Robert Bartko and Iljo Keisse after winning one of the races But soon I found out, that everything centers around laps and points.

At the end of the Six Days, the team with the most laps wins. If there are two teams with the same amount of laps, the one with the most points wins. You see, the rules are quite easy after all :-)

The European Sixes are usually held indoors during six consecutive days. In contrary to what I had believed, the athletes don't cycle 24 hours, but around 6 hours every night. The different races take place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., which is a good time to entertain the visitors!
(Again, in my opinion this is the main reason for the Sixes)

Erik Zabel is too fast for my camera The cyclists race in teams of two, and only one rider needs to be in the race at any one time. Generally, the rider not racing at the moment circles slowly at the top of the track, waiting for his partner to bring him back into the race by a hand sling.

For me it seemed impossible, that the athletes wouldn't fall over each other all the time, when crossing up and down, out and back into the race. But I guess, they have a lot of experience doing so :-)

Even the races themselves follow the idea of show and entertainment: one evening includes several types of competitions: "Madison" races, the main event where laps are "collected", along with more spectacular types, such as the Sprint (cyclists competing for the fastest lap) or Derny races.

Artist on a swining pole The Derny races are one of the most popular parts of the evening where the riders are paced behind motorbikes that look like bicycles. To add more fun, most of the bikers are quite big men, who look very funny on their little bikes.

In the breaks between the sports competitions, shows take place. We could admire two artists climbing on top of a swinging pole in 15 meters height, and showing all kinds of daring feats, that normal persons like you and me wouldn't even be able to do on the ground!

On the picture below you can see a metal-fenced globe, where up to three motor bikers show their abilities at full speed inside.

In the middle of the racing track is an oval, where you can go and drink cocktails to "see and be seen". From inside you don't see very much of the competitions... but that's not the intent of most of the visitors either.

Olympic Hall in Munich hosting Six Days Cycling Event Instead, they enjoy the shows and when the athletes go home to get some sleep for the next demanding race day, you can start your own workout and dance in the Six days disco until 5 a.m. next morning.

The Sixes combine their exciting race program with commercial and entertainment elements, which makes them for us ordinary people so much more fun!!

As for myself, I'll definitely be there next year again!