What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Talk: American Six Day Talent, Jackie Simes

When I was a boy, back in the early 70’s there were names which caught the eye on the six day circuit, in among the famous ‘handles’ like Sigi Renz, Albert Fritz and Rene Pijnen these names just seemed too ‘Anglo’ – Tim Mountford was one and Jack Simes, another. Both Americans, crossing the wide Atlantic to wrestle with the Europeans before laptops, mobiles, Skype, Greg Lemond, Lance and all the rest was even thought about – and folk speaking English? Forget about that. And now, again, amongst the like of Marvulli, Bengsch and Aeschbach the name Simes has returned – Jack’s son, 23 year-old Jamis rider Jack Simes IV, better known as Jackie.

Even though a few decades have passed since Jack senior did his thing, he still has contacts in the right places and he’s landed Jackie three six day rides – Copenhagen, Berlin and Bremen.

Jackie was supposed to ride Bremen with 32 year-old countryman Bradley Huff (Jelly Belly) but the organisers split them, partnering the two with young German riders – Ralf Matzka for Huff and Theo Reinhardt for Simes.

Copenhagen closes the six day season; Simes baptism of fire came in the town that is home to Becks brewery, with Berlin next on the agenda.

PEZ: Do you ever get tired of being referred to by guys like me as ‘Jack Simes’ son?’
Jackie Simes: I’m used to it!

It’s natural that folks should connect, my dad was at three Olympics, my granddad was US road race champion in 1936 and my great granddad raced too.

PEZ: You must have grown up around bikes?
JS: Yeah, I had my first classes to ride the track when I was seven or eight but I played soccer for around eight years and basketball too.

Getting started early is putting it mildly!

PEZ: You were fifth in the Fiorenzuola six day in the summer, how does this compare?
JS: This track is very hard to get used to – it’s much harder for me here than it was in Fiorenzuola.

That’s mid-summer and I was coming from a race programme, this is mid-winter and it’s four months since I raced.

The turns here are hard to ride; you get bogged down with the G-forces – Fiorenzuola is a big old outdoor concrete track.

PEZ: What was your expectation coming in to Bremen?
JS: I knew it would be hard with these guys coming fresh out of Rotterdam so I was under no illusions.

PEZ: How have you been accepted by the other riders?
JS: OK, if you’re the new guy and make a mistake it tends to get noticed more – but up until now there have been no real problems.

PEZ: What about that Derny stuff?
JS: I rode behind the Derny in Geneva in 2007 – there were 13 up on the track and that was kinda hectic!

It takes a bit of getting used to again, though – with the bigger gears it’s hard on the legs.

PEZ: What’s been the toughest aspect for you?
JS: Having to dive right into the racing – the efforts here are so intense, you just can’t replicate that in training.

I think though that with some recovery time between now and Berlin, I should be more acclimatised by then.

PEZ: You’re riding with Theo Reinhardt – the two of you don’t seem to talk much between races?
JS: We talk when we need to, usually before each event – he’s a good partner, strong.

PEZ: You’ve had five full nights of racing; do you feel more at home on the track, now?
JS: Definitely, I’ve got the hang of the track and our exchanges are much smoother than they were at the start of the six – plus my body is starting to adapt to the effort.

PEZ: What do you do with ‘down’ time?
JS: I watch TV in the hotel room, listen to music and when the race finished early on Sunday Brad and I went for a walk down to the station square; just to get out of the hotel and track complex and get some fresh air.

PEZ: You ride for two teams in the US?
JS: Yeah, in the summer road season I ride for Jamis-Sutter Home and on the track I ride for Pure Energy.

I race most of the year so I take a break at the end of September.

The first camp with Jamis is in March when we go to the Napa Valley.

PEZ: What are you best results, track and road?
JS: I think that fifth in the Fiorenzuola summer six day with Bobby Lea was a good result, given the quality of the field.

On the road, I was second to Jesse Anthony in the Univest Crit, and in 2010 I had a second in the Capital Crit, which is a big race in Washington.

PEZ: Is the future on road or track?
JS: Both, I hope – and with these three contracts I have an opportunity to break into the six days which I hope I can exploit.

PEZ: Are you on the US track team?
JS: No, but I’d like to ride the World Cup events, maybe in 2013 – but the thing is that I haven’t talked to anyone about it or pushed it.

It’s not like someone’s gonna knock on your door and ask is you want to go to World Cups!

PEZ: Have you ever thought about doing the ‘Euro Dog’ thing?
JS: I’ve thought about it but I think it would be a good scene to ride a US road programme in the summer then the six days in the winter.

If you rode a Euro road programme you’d be drained after it but a US programme would set you up just about right.

PEZ: And if you could win just one race?
JS: Philly!

PEZ will be with Jackie at Berlin and Copenhagen – stay tuned!

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.