Well, that was an experience! Not having the trackside pass wasn't a major problem for most of the events - although getting decent pictures of the Scratch and Team Sprints from the wrong side of the barrier on the inside of the fence - with a crowd of photographers on the right side of the fence between you and the action was a challenge.
The media centre is a strange place. It's a mixture of writers, photographers and TV crews ('talent', camera operators, sound recordists, technicians, bag carriers, bag carriers' bag carriers - no wonder TV is so expensive to produce), as well as team and manufacturer PR people. What's strange to me - as a track cycling fan who just happens to be a photographer - is that nobody seems vaguely interested in the racing!
The TV crews are there for the odd interview with their own national riders - they're all taking the UCI's feed for the racing - and the journalists sit their hunched over their laptops writing something - their memoirs? Expense claims? - and occasionally glance up at the TV screens to watch the coverage. I know many of them are features writers, but it looks like they could do most of what they do with the TV coverage and a couple of phone interviews.
The photographers are a mixed bunch, too. Most are agency photographers whose coverage guarantees them apron access even though some have never been to a velodrome before. But a lot are real track racing enthusiasts, here on behalf of national federations and a huge number of cycling related websites.
I found the second session hard. It was relentless - race after race after victory ceremony after race. And, of course, the Opening Ceremony. The extremely athletic young ladies who scaled the heights of the velodrome roofspace wrapped in ribbons did so wrapped in ribbons that were in the colours of the UCI World Champion's rainbow stripes. There was no other connection to cycling that I could see.
No time to copy pictures to the laptop, let alone select the best ones. That's where the agencies and the mass market press guys have the advantage, of course - they're not trying to cover the event, just the winners of the big events. The pictures that will sell. They can take a few shots and then send them off to the agency and let them worry about them.
So, as you can see, the journalists have an easy life and the photographers have an easy life, but what about us photojournalists? Well, when the racing finished at 9.30 I copied my pictures to the laptop, noting a couple that looked usable as they transferred. I then packed up my stuff and heading to the hotel - via a McDonalds drive-thru (I have to keep my figure) - and set up shop in my room.
The report was done by 1am - thanks to the photos as a memory jogger and the excellent Tissot timing service - and I'd selected, tweaked and resized the photos to go with it by 2am, before grabbing 6 hours sleep before I sorted the bulk of the pics this morning.
Waking up at 8am to discover that the report had got through but the pictures had bounced (over the mailbox size limit...), so I re-sent those and started to pack up for Day 2. More pursuits today - so I need to find even more ways to describe multiple time trial heats - but hopefully I've got that bit off fluff on the sensor that only shows up in the 1/30, f11 panning shots...
Oh, and the first report and pictures are now up on ProTour News.