Category Archives: photography
“Even Disappointment is Bigger in Texas”
There’s a lot to be said about the events that occurred on Sunday morning here in Austin, all of which have been stomped to death elsewhere, so what I’ll say is, for a race that was almost killed off, this was one of most beautiful and challenging courses I’ve ever witnessed. That’s coming from someone who has never traveled overseas, of course, but still.
Look, Austin is a growing city, trying to keep things “weird” and maintain its small town vibe, while it’s bursting at the seams with new construction and lots of new, self-important money. Events like SxSW, ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest have been destroying the same parks over and over again, so when people see their beautiful Zilker and its hillsides being “destroyed”, they tend to overreact. Especially when they’re not briefed as to what “cyclocross” is.
I can say, It upsets me that this is what the ‘cross world will forever remember us by, not for the ripping course and supportive local scene. We all love cross and it kills us just as much as it kills you. Anyway, onto the story…
For the past week, I’ve been figuring out how to document this event and let me tell you, it was a lot easier before the organizers changed the course up. I had spots for each lap and ideas about how to tie in the women’s and men’s races, all of which was out the window when Sunday’s race was cancelled and the course underwent major work, eliminating many of the vignettes I had planned.
Shooting ‘cross isn’t easy, but it sure is challenging and as a photographer, I learn something new each time. Having raced on Wednesday, I felt like I had a good understanding of where to go and when. Throughout the entire day on Monday, unridable mud slowly transformed into 100% hero dirt. The lines were worn in and even the most technical section – a ribbon of off-camber mud-gutter with a 10″ drop off into one of the old course’s lines – was ridable. For most anyway.
At the end of the day, I experimented, caught some moments and pulled together one of my favorite galleries to date. I hope you enjoy… and remember, Austin loves ‘cross, let’s try to forgive and forget.
There have been a lot of awesome cross bikes in town and I’ve tried my best to document them when I could, which unfortunately hasn’t been that often. This one, however was a must!
Nobuhiko Tanabe’s internet handle is NB_Log. He’s an employee at Blue Lug in Japan, races for Geekhouse and in general, is stoked out on bikes. His 2014 team Mudville cross bike has one of my favorite color combinations to ever leave the Boston framebuilder’s shop.
NB found himself in Austin for the 2015 ‘Cross Nats, going to the parties, races and events of this past week’s schedule, as well as pedaling around a few of our local trail systems.
At Wednesday’s events, I caught up with Nobuhiko to shoot some quick photos of his bike as he enjoyed the races… See more in the Gallery!
When you look out at the field of SSCX bikes at an event like ‘Cross Nats, you’ll see a lot of overseas production frames, but chances are, you’ll notice and remember the Rock Lobsters. All slightly different than the other.
My favorite part about these bikes is how Paul’s default color of choice is selected by so many, yet when you see one in brown, or in this case, purple, it pops. Ryan’s bike was my favorite bike in the singlespeed race and not just because of its color.
For instance, you don’t see a lot of Gates belt drives on custom singlespeed bikes, or at least, I don’t and to be honest, I didn’t even notice at first. There are a lot of details in this bike that are simple additions, but it adds to the overall delivery.
Saying a bike is your favorite from an event like ‘Cross Nats carries a certain weight, but you’ll see why in the Gallery.
Over the past few days, with all the events that came to Austin surrounding the 2015 Cross Nats, it’s easy to guess that I’ve shot a lot of photos. I’ll do my best to work them into various galleries, each with themes. Or something like that…
The first day at Cross Nats was not nearly as warm as previous days. One day, it’s 60º and the next, 30º. Granted, it was still sunny on the course. As both a racer and a documenter of this event, I felt that Wednesday captured a different energy than I’ve experienced so far.
That energy lies in the camaraderie of racing with your peers. Whether your age group, or the cult-like following of zipping around on a singlespeed bike – which is the most hysterical hole shot to ever witness – 130+ racers spinning super fast, going half the speed of a “normal” holeshot. Whatever it is, people were stoked to race en masse and anytime people are having fun, I’m into it.
For me, shooting these past two days have solidified how I want to shoot the Pro men’s and women’s races… See a selection from day one in the Gallery!
Apologies for the silence over here today. With Nats here in Austin, I was out racing and shooting photos all day. I think it’s safe to say that everyone enjoyed this course. It had a little bit of everything and yes, it was damn tough!
I’ll post more once the dust settles, for now, here are a few…
The Freezing Festive 500 in Sweden
Words and photos by Johan Björklund and Even Skår
If you live in Sweden and don’t want to spend a third of the year on a turbo trainer or in spinning classes you have to ride in the freezing cold. There’s no way around it. The last two years I did the 500 kilometers that are required to finish the Rapha Festive 500 between December 24-31 pretty much riding solo. This year I was happy to have a lot more company and I would say that we had some of the most memorable rides of all year over this week.
There are three rough categories of winter riding in these parts of Sweden:
1) Icy rain. Storm winds. Black ice.
2) Piles of snow. Cold as fuck. Super crispy sunshine.
3) Slush puppies. Damp all day fog. Eternal darkness.
For this Festive 500 we got to experience all of them on different days and while there’s at least one terrible factor to each condition I love them all for what they have to offer. With the risk of sounding like a show off these winter rides are some of my favorite riding of the whole year. It’s so much more than just base miles to me.
While you browse through the photos, think of that special mixed feeling of stoke and insanity when you descend a pretty much deserted rough gravel road in the middle of nowhere way too fast. Plus it’s thickly covered with fresh snow and when you look down at your front wheel all you can see when the snow is pushed away is a layer of black ice. Cue endorphins.
Follow Even on Instagram, Johan on Instagram and at his Tumblr.
I’m so stoked on this. I wish more photo-heavy sites did annuals and this one looks so good. Here’s how the guys are describing this book:
“Manual for Speed is about the vibe, man. It’s about the whole deal, the whole spectacle. In fact, if we could do it again we’d call this project Spectacle Of Speed. In support of, and in homage to, the sentiment that Spectacle is our premise, here is a catalog, a typology if you will, of The Best Shit we witnessed in 2014.”
Pre-order at Manual for Speed.
Purging bikes isn’t fun, unless you can sell it to a friend, or in this case, a co-worker. One of the higher ups at Mellow Johnny’s recently decided to part with his Rock Lobster singlespeed cross. It was practically new and just so happened to fit Jonathan like a glove. Best of all, Jonathan finally found a place for all those turquoise Chris King bits he had been saving.
Singlespeed builds are ridiculously beautiful, especially when they have a color combination like walnut brown and turquoise. Relying on the ever-so-stoppy, Paul Mini Motos and Pacenti SL23 hoops with Tubeless WTB Cross Boss tires, this thing will be good to go next season…
But as we all know, cross bikes are much more diverse than that. We’ll be seeing more of this beauty in the coming months, I’m sure of it.
Have you ever considered whittling your collection down to a single bike? Of course you have – we all have. For the better part of a decade I’ve owned more bikes than there are days in the week, with spare parts for all of them. Getting rid of all but one? Unthinkable. Which one of a carefully curated fleet, each with its own merits and reasons for being, would make the best all-rounder? Which would be your “one bike”?
This idea of downsizing and simplifying has been a theme for me this year. In July, after months of preparation, my girlfriend and I packed our lives and our dog into our two cars and moved to a 227 square foot cabin deep in the Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia. Like many, we’d been dreaming of living in the wilderness, but this was it. Living the dream, right? (more…)
It’s not every year that the USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals land in your backyard. Over the past few days, the crews here in Austin have been mapping out the course, staking turns and building lots of the additions to the otherwise rough and rocky limestone outcroppings.
There are a number of places where you’ll be able to gain momentum, until it ends abruptly with sharp turns and muddy corners. The course is soaking wet today, but it’s not supposed to rain anymore until Saturday. Right now, it looks like it’ll be a blast, especially going down the main hill before the uphill barriers.
I swung by today after a ride and shot a few quick photos, after pre-riding most of the course (which isn’t allowed apparently). I’m damn impressed with how well things are shaping up.
Check out some preview photos in the Gallery.