A mud splattered rider navigates the top of a hill and the turn at USGP Bend. Canon EOS 7D EF-S 10-22mm at f/4 1/1000 ISO 100
The corner is upon you even before you are completely up the hill. Your heart is pounding in your ears and your breath is coming in ragged gasps as everything in your body cries out for you to stop. Not this time, this time you will keep going, this time your wheels will not stop or even slow, this time you will rule your body and even though every cell in your body feels a leaden weight your mind wills it forward. You find yourself having torn the heavy curtain that draped you in pain and it all falls away. Your body still hurts, every part of it but it fades into the background and your heart keeps pumping and your legs keep pushing and suddenly the bike is a little lighter and you feel it jump under you. It wants to go faster, and so you do.
One of the great things about cycling is the access that regular people can get to world class races and racers for little or no cost. There are not many sports where you would be able to walk up to the best in North America and have a talk and take a picture. This extends to the race itself and how close you can get to the event and the riders. In this image I am inches away from the front tire of this rider, (Norm Thibault, one of the great driving forces behind cyclocross on Vancouver Island, Cross On The Rock) and that lack of distance gives this picture an immediacy that would be impossible to achieve in any other way. I was close enough that we can see the dirt flying off his wheel and the mud speckling his face, there is a lot of dirt in cyclocross. This weekend I was also interested in getting some non-traditional points of view for cycling photos so I really wanted to get down low and shoot up at the riders. I was able to do this by sliding down on my belly on the side of the hills and pointing my camera up at the riders. There’s lots of dirt in photography too.
This will be the last of my posts on cyclocross photo but you can check out the best of my images from the USGP Bend 2012 Race in a gallery here.