Tuesday, January 8, 2013


No, not me!  The Alabama Crimson Tide are National Champions AGAIN!  I will be sensitive in how I describe the game since I come from a family where the number of Notre Dame grads far outweigh us Bama grads.  Something like 8-1 in the Higgins family!  But, I think my cousins, aunts, and uncles would all agree that the game wasn't all they hoped it would be but everything the SEC knew it would be.  Sorry Notre Dame.  Thanks for showing up :)

Roll Tide Roll.

So after not sleeping at all last night (I think 4-5 hours) because I was too excited about the dang football game, all I have in me is enough to post some pictures from the racing.  I still sit in 5th place in the Omnium and continue to have some good races and ones I wish I could press the revere button.

For my family who might not get it... that's me on the far left looking down.
Leading out the sprint in the scratch race. (from a night or two ago... can't remember)
Winning the sprint in the scratch race. 
 The track is little and sometimes we get tight.  I am looking for every free inch of track during this sprint in trying to come around the Danish girl in pink.
 Check out that fancy Felt TK1 and Zipp 808s!  People have asked and those are my D2 custom shoes.

With one night of racing left, I am tired and ready to go home.  That's not to say this hasn't been great!  This racing is not like any others I can get in the States or even at World Cups.  In the States, the racing just isn't this hard.  At World Cups, you get once chance and then you are done.  No learning and trying again.  Or, trying new things from the beginning.

A couple of us have come up with a handicap system though.  For every one of the following that you can say "yes" to, then you have to add a 1 point to your Omnium total.
1- Traveling w/ a coach?
2- Have a mechanic?
3- Have a soignuer?
4- Every rub/massage you have received this week is 1 point.
5- Have a road bike with you?
6- Have a boyfriend or husband or dad here?
7- Have a disc wheel for flying lap?
8- Have an aero helmet for flying lap?
9- Have a "teammate"?

That's our new Omnium.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

...and, I'm tired...

As I write this, I am trying to stay awake long enough to join some girls for dinner tonight.

First, an addition that I missed yesterday when describing the women I'm competing against.  The other  Polish girl happens to be the current Scratch Race World Champion.  Ya, no big deal.  Just a World Champ.

We raced last night and then the program started earlier this morning.  So, less recovery and sleep.  It's the same for all of us but I think my lack of sleep caught up with me today.  I was just plain tired.  I'm not sure I can blame it on jet lag.  Each night has been progressively harder to sleep since my adrenalin is running high after racing.  I tried some Advil PM last night but I think that made me drowsy this morning.

I figured since everyone was tired and there was limited warm-up (10 minutes?), the first scratch race of the day would start off tame.  So, I chose a smaller gear.  Wow.  Wrong choice!  It was fast from the start.  A group was off the front for the win and all I could do was follow wheels in the bunch sprint.  I ended somewhere around 6th or 7th.  SPINNNNNNN those gears.

Then, my experiment with gearing FAILED big on the flying lap.  I have one more shot at this flying lap thing and I think I have the solution. Three times a charm!  I went slower this time but still ended 5th.

Ok, the points race was my worst race yet... aside from the time I pulled myself out of the elimination early :)  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I was just tired.  I don't have reasons or excuses, it was just a bad race.  I am not sure where I ended since I only had 2 points.

In the overall, I went from 3rd to 5th today.  Time to rally!  Two days left!

I did have some time to enjoy watching the men's races today for the first time.  Here are some photos and videos.
The sprint boys tightening the straps and getting ready!
 Tonight's winner of the team sprint. There is a presentation after each race for the winners.

The derny drivers getting set up.

And, the final couple laps of the derny race.
Way. Too. Tired.

Dinner and sleep is on tap tonight. :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Getting tired...

Tonight is short and sweet since it's an early morning tomorrow.

Two highlights of the night.
1) The American crew!  Imagine that, 4 Americans at the Rotterdam 6-day.  John, on the left, is my host here in Holland.  Without him, this whole trip would be close to impossible.  As an Amsterdam local, he has helped most Americans who come over here to race.  Jason, on the right, is my friend from Minnesota and he is working on a really exciting project for me.  If I would "help him, help me" we would have it finished soon.  Lisa, on the right, is Jason's wife.  They have moved to Belgium for the month and watching all kinds of fun bike racing on the weekends!

A little video of the velodrome before all the doors open.  Notice all the bars and dining options in the infield.

2) The second highlight of the night was that I won the Scratch race!  See, I told you I would win one :)

In the Elimination race, I found myself playing the devil again.  It is SOOO much fun to do on this track.  But, it is also very tiring.  I ended 7th and simply because I had no more legs to play the devil.  A couple times I would sprint and then quickly go to the black line in the back for recovery but as it ended up the girl in front of me was eliminated so she would stop pedaling.  Ahh!  My fault for playing the game that way but it was a lot of extra energy as I would get gapped off the back.  Next time I will play some and then tuck in the front a little some too.

In the Points race, my goal was to be involved in more sprints.  The past couple nights I have done well by "going big."  In other words, I put a big effort into winning a sprint here and there and then recovering.  Well, I wanted to be involved in all the sprints tonight if even for less points each time.  I need to work on moving in the bunch in the sprint.... which is scary as hell on this track!  So, I was involved in 4 out of the 5 sprints but only ended in 5th or 6th place.  I am not sure.

I think I ended up 2nd overall tonight.  So, clearly, I am figuring out the gears and the track.  Now, the legs are starting to get tired.  I remember though... all the girls are getting tired.  So, here's to more victories over the next 3 days!

Good night.  Early morning!

Women's Start List

As promised here is the list of women in order of the numbers we were given.  I also included what I know, off the top of my head without doing internet research, about them and recent races/results.

1. Kirsten Wild, NED  Crowd favorite.  Wins a lot.  2012 Olympian, Track
2. Leire Olaberria, ESP Currently in 2nd place overall.  2012 Olympian, Track
3. Cari Higgins, USA  ME :)
4. Vera Koedooder, NED 2012 Olympian Track
5. Malgorzata Wojtyra, POL 2012 Olympian Track
6. Janine Bubner, GER Young German rising star.  Moving to AUS this month to train/race/study.
7. Jarmila Machacova, CZE Several podiums at World Cups and World Championships.
8. Laura Basso, ITA Don't know much about her.
9. Lucie Zaleska, CZE Strong.  That's all I know.
10. Chantal Blaak, NED Well known professional on the road.
11. Charline Joiner, GBR (she would tell you she's Scottish for clarification) 2010 Commonwealth Games Team Sprint Champion
12. Julie Leth, DEN Won Points Race at Junior World Championships a couple years ago
13. Nina Kessler, NED Another crowd favorite.  Strong and smart racer. Pro roadie.
14. Katarzyna Pawlowska, POL New face for POL and REALLY STRONG.  She made the podium in the Omnium at Glasgow I believe.
15. Nicky Zijlaard, NED super young Dutch girl who has grown up in the 6-day culture. Her grandpa was who I got the picture with last night.  Her dad is also a derny driver.  She will be big one day!
16. Lucy Martin, GBR 2012 Olympian, Road.  Like most pro roadies in Europe, she has a history of success on the track.
17. Samantha van Steenis, NED young Dutch girl learning the ropes

Here is the link to follow results- http://www.zesdaagserotterdam.nl/uitslagen/vrouwenzesdaagse
Here is a link to maybe find a live feed- http://www.zesdaagserotterdam.nl/home

Goals- stay safe, have fun, try new racing tactics!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 2 Rotterdam

Let's start with photos.  Most people are more interested in these anyway.

At the start of one of the races.  Me, Janine from Germany, Kirsten from The Netherlands.
We wear sponsor jerseys.  So, a company pays for a certain rider/jersey.

 The amount of bikes and wheels in the infield is crazy.  And, none of these are women's or U-23.   The infield is about 20% for riders/mechanics (men only) and 80% for entertainment.  The women and U-23 are all in some back hallway. :)
 These are what the stalls for the men look like.  They come here in between races and get massage, food, etc.  This looks dreamy to me!
 The is a FAMOUS (huge star in 6-day racing!) derny driver.  That type of race is something I will have to get video of for anyone to understand. (One of the pictures from yesterday was of 4 of the derny drivers.)  Anyway, this guy is retiring from the derny races tomorrow and they are having a huge celebration for him.  Again, believe it or not, this guy is a rockstar in Holland.  He was making me laugh in this photo!

I am starting to get a hang of this track.  It's little and sometimes makes for sketchy racing.

The first race tonight was the Scratch.  Again I went a bit early but I had more gear under me tonight and held off everyone except Kirsten Wild, The Netherlands rider who has won every single race so far.  So, 2nd place.  But, damn, I will win one!

The second race was a flying lap and I totally screwed up my gear selection.  It was silly but I had no one to advise me and I had never done a flying lap on a tiny little track like this.  5th place I think.  Maybe 6th.  12.6 for the 200m flying lap.  I promise I will take at least .3 second off this time the next time I get to do this simply by having a different gear.  Oh, no fancy disc wheel for me!  :)

The last race of the night was the Points race again.  Unfortunately, I wasn't having a good go at it.  Sometimes races just feel like they are flowing and sometimes, like tonight in the points, nothing was flowing for me.  I was just out of sync.  I was 5th in 2 sprints for 0 points.  Worst place to be!  I ended by getting anxious and taking a flier off the front to win the last sprint.  This 5 points put me in 5th place.  Bummer I missed out on those 2 other sprints or else I would have been 2nd place again.  Oh, and, this was the sketchiest race yet!

The beautiful thing about 6-day racing is I can make all these corrections tomorrow!

In the morning I will write about the start list and "who's who" here.  It's pretty impressive!

Good night!

What is a 6-day?

Party meets bike racing.  Drinking.  Live music.  Catered dinners. Entertainment.  Light show. Disco balls. Unruly crowds. Characters.  History. And, a little bike racing in between.

If you want a short intro:  http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/track/?id=sixdayintro00

If you want to see the different races: http://www.6dayracing.ca

If you want all the history and fun information, check out this movie: http://www.sixdaybicyclerace.com

A pretty short video that will give you an idea:

Tonight I will remember to bring my camera to the velodrome and get my own photos and video.

More to come!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I will try...

That's all I will say.   I will try to update this everyday of this 6-day.  Well, besides the night 6 because there will be bike packing and driving and stress.

I'm here.  It's crazy.  The track is little.  The racing is fast.

He's here too.
 Them too.

 I don't know him... or her.  I hope he doesn't drop her.
 And, this was my little corner where my bag exploded.  Not too glamorous.  

Ok, only race reports tonight.  Maybe tomorrow I can explain a little more to those who are new to this whole racing thing.

10 minutes of roller warm-up which averaged 85 watts.  Not a good prep.  I just kept telling myself to go with the flow.  Not knowing the track, I didn't know what gear to ride.  Everything was guess work.

First race was the Scratch.  All was good.  Three off the front and we are chasing hard with 5 laps to go.  I'm in good position and jump.  Ah, crap!  Too early.  I ended 6th or so.  I just remember not knowing how to sprint on the small track last time (3 years ago in Amsterdam) and going too late always. Ok, better idea of gear, competition, and track... moving on!

Elimination race.  I thought all was good but the announcer kept saying my name and "United States." He was saying it over and over and over.  I didn't think I was out but I was fearing disqualification by not pulling myself out when my name is called.  It seems the UCI officials have me well trained!  Well, apparently the announcer just liked talking about me and my "playing the devil."  So, I pulled myself out early because of stupidity.  Next time I hear my name, I will know he just likes saying "Cari Higgins from United States!" and realize it has no bearing on the race.  The officials apologized if that's any consolation. :(  I think I ended 11th or somewhere in there.

Points race I came in 2nd!  A little extra motivation after the elimination.

Here's the start list.  http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/rotterdam-six-day-start-list-1  Tough one!  Love it!