I have to start this blog entry with the admission that this is my first real attempt at sports/action photography. As many of you readers in the web world know, my strength as a photographer lies in my landscape images. I typically shoot with an old school wooden 4×5 film camera with the hopes of capturing the next great Oregon landscape photograph. To see some of my landscape photography, check out the following link: Oregon Landscape Photographer. Because I have lots of bicycling friends in my hometown of Bend, Oregon, I’ve developed an interest in the local wheeled sports. Last year, the good folks at Visit Bend, helped bring the 2009 Cyclocross national championships to our home city of Bend. I went to cheer on the local competitors and I was hooked. It is a great spectator sport. Lots of action, rough riding conditions, and a very colorful crowd. This year, I returned for the 2010 Cyclocross National Championships and once again, it was a blast. Below is one of my favorite shots from this year’s 2010 mens elite cyclocross race. A winding, spectator laden, muddy course, complete with a masked shirtless guy in briefs(Salty), 7 Santa Clauses, and Gumby. How awesome is that? During the two days that I shot during the Cyclocross nationals, I was repeatedly drawn back to landscape type shots like this that manage to capture the feel and energy of this tremendous event.
The first race I was able to catch was the men’s under 23 elite race, and it was riveting. Below is an image from the start of that race showing the riders poised, clean, and comfortable
Please notice the signature smoke stacks from Bend’s Old Mill District nicely framed beneath the starting gate and over the riders. That was no accident! Also notice the rider who is wearing the orange,blue and white lycra near the center of this photograph. That rider is Danny Summerhill who later became extremely filthy and then extremely happy after he eventually was crowned U23 Cyclocross National Champ.
As you can Summerhill didn’t stay clean the whole race. I spent a lot of time near the stairs as the climb made for some dramatic images. Below is another of the countless images of suffering and exhaustion I captured from near the stairs at Cyclocross Nationals. This kid is making a great face!
The following image of competitors climbing the stairs does a nice job of capturing the feel and mood of the U23 elite race. Muddy, and grueling.
Another interesting spot for viewing the races was at the bottom of a small sloping hill, near the vendor tents. During the wet and muddy U23 mens race, this hill was chaos. I saw at least 3 course marking poles broken by falling competitors. Below is a typically chaotic scene from that location.
A special commendation should be given to the large unknown man on the other side of the course who stood on top of a dagger like broken pole and saved at least to different competitors from seriously impaling themselves. I’m convinced that the unknown man prevented at least two trips to the emergency room.
The start of the mens 35-39 race offered a different kind of drama as there was a huge pile up immediately after the starting gun which led to the cyclocross scene you see below.
I love the randomness of one guy running with his bike at the start of the race and all the disruption in the middle of the pack.
Above is a competitor who deserves special notice for an unusual reason. The man you see grimacing on the stairs is Bend’s very own Doug Laplaca, the intrepid leader of Visit Bend. Doug and Visit Bend have done a phenomenal job of helping to bring wonderful events like Cyclocross Nationals to our fair city. These events bring in visitors, and are brilliantly suited to Bend Oregon’s strong and distinct outdoor personality. Thanks to Doug and the rest of the talented staff at Visit Bend.
Another fun attraction near the stairs was one of many big puddles on the course. After the first lap, the competitors were so soaked and mud coated that they largely disregarded the puddle, allowing me to capture images like the one below.
While the races on Saturday were thrilling, the true mayhem occurred on Sunday during the Men’s Open Elite Cyclocross Race. The course was inundated with cowbell swinging spectators. Part of what seems to make Cyclocross attractive and successful is its crazed fans. Below is one of my favorite shots from the men’s elite cyclocross race.
How excellent is this? Mud covered riders carrying their bikes up gooey stairs underneath a landscape worthy sky while some guy in dinosaur pajamas and a panda mask encourages them. Pure Awesomeness!
This is another image of wonderful cyclocross randomness! A crazed shirtless and masked man( “Salty”) cheers on Bend’s Ryan Trebon as a group of varied Santas also offer their support. Few spectator sports offer scenes that are more fun filled than this! Below is the obligatory winners photo of Todd Wells of Durango Colorado taking the gold. Todd rode strong and edged out local favorite Ryan Trebon who was cheered on by a frenzied local crowd.
For those of you who have never been to a cyclocross race. Go, go, go. The atmosphere is phenomenal and the competitors truly pour their hearts into the races. Hopefully in the not too distant future, Cyclocross Nationals will return to Bend, Oregon as Bend is an exceptional venue and the races were brilliantly supported by the Central Oregonians and visitors alike. To see many more images from the 2010 Cyclocross Nationals, please visit the galleries at our stock photography site by folowing this link: Cyclocross National Photos. If you have any specific needs for images from Cyclocross Nationals, feel free to contact me at (541) 610-4815 or email me at Mike@pacificcreststock.com. I have hundreds of great shots from this phenomenal event that may meet your cyclocross Imaging needs.
Thanks for visiting,