Milton Keynes WCX

As soon I as found out about Milton Keynes hosting a round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup I immediately got our tickets and started planning our trip.  This was the first time in history that a UCI Cyclocross World Cup race was to be held outside of mainland Europe and with most of the big names attending, especially Sven Nys, it was not a race to be missed.  A one hour plus delay getting across London put us on the back foot and we unfortunately missed the Junior Men.  However we had plenty of time to wonder around the expo and rider pit area before the elite training and racing started.  It was great to see these elite athletes up close and mixing with all the fans.  There was an estimated 8000 spectators at the event.

Just before the official training started we headed to the course and parked ourselves at one of the most treacherous parts, a slippery off-camber descent into a very muddy left hander.  We had picked a good spot as it was very entertaining watching the pro’s negotiate their way down the hill and around the corner.  We stayed there for the start of the Womens race and we weren’t disappointed as there was a big pile up when one of the lead ladies went down which in-turn brought most of the pack down.  This really helped the four lead riders get away from the pack.  Ultimately it turned into a two horse race between Katie Compton and Sanne Cant with Cant taking the win in a sprint finish.  The Mens race was very exciting as well with a closely fought battle between Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout in the closing lap with Pauwels out-sprinting his teammate Vantornout for the win.  Unfortunately Sven Nys had a mechanical on the first lap and that put him third last at the end of the first lap. Chasing for the remainder of the race Nys finished eighth.  Overall we had a great day and would highly recommend attending one of these races.  Here are a few of my favorites pics and you can see the rest on my flickr page here.

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The specially laid asphalt start/finish straight.

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Jeremy Powers practices the muddy left hander. Mud glorious mud and SuperFan Gabi.

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The British fans out in force.  Ian Field fans flying the Union Jack.

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Elite Men practice in the mud.

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Accredited photogs! Get all the good spots and always in the way.

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The Womens race was very exciting, especially the start.

img_Sports_0499A lot of running where it should have been riding.

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Katie Compton trying really hard to drop Sanne Cant on the tricky parts of the course.

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At the bottom of the course was a big muddy puddle. I’m sure they enjoyed this part the most!

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The pits were the busiest place on the course during the race. Most of the mechanics spent their time water blasting the mud off the swapped out bikes so they were ready for the next change.

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Klaas Vantornout was never far from the front of the race.

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Marcel Meisen eventually finished 26th.

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Riders used anything they could help with traction in the mud.

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The 38 year old Belgium Champ Sven Nys, chased hard after his first lap mechanical.

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Eventual winner Kevin Pauwels leads in the closing laps.

 

Rapha Supercross

Below is my take on the Rapha Supercross race held on the weekend.  Held at Ally Pally, Gabi and I trekked across London to see the event.  As it turned out the weather was good and the racing full on!  It was a fun day out and I would recommend attending one of these cyclo cross racing days.

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A great sunny autumn London day.

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Early races saw a mixture of Senior and Veteran races.  A nasty muddy climb sorted the men out from the boys.

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One of the obstacles out on the course.

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Some very heroic re-mounts were witnessed.

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The up hill bog was a real lung and leg buster.

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Rapha noise makers.

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Too wet and steep to ride.

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The Invitational Elite race was full gas from the whistle!

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One of a couple of riders who chose to bunny hop the boards.

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The mechanics were ready with clean spare bikes on each lap.

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Team Europcar Pro Roadie Dan Craven turned up for the fun race and ended up racing Elite race first.

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The fun race included the tequila shot shortcut and a huge foam canon.

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The foam was like a huge snow drift across the course.

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Some of the racers dressed up for the fun race.

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Dan Craven still looked ‘All Pro’ even after a tequila shot shortcut on every lap.

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Finally the kids got to give the foam ago!

 

 

2014 Silk City Cyclocross

On a recent trip to the States we had un-expected visit to the Connecticut Cyclocross Championships.  I was pretty keen to have a look but was ruing the day for the second time on this trip that I didn’t bring my Canon equipment.  But as they say ‘The best camera is the one you have with you’, my Fujifilm X100s was in for a work out.  We arrived in time to see the last couple of laps of the Womens Pro and then the Mens Pro race.  I was so gobsmaked by the speed and skills of the women I didn’t take any pictures and this being my first visit to a cyclocross race, I was trying to take it all in.

The mens race started with a formation lap before heading onto the main course.  They were all so tightly packed and going at break neck speed into the first single track I thought there was going to be a big crash.  Most of them seemed pretty experienced and they all got through safely, much to the disappointment of the large crowd at the pinch point.  I walked most of the course and it was a real lung buster for the riders.  Lots of short steep climbs with technical descents tested the riders and the dry dusty conditions hid the odd tree root.  The strongest of the riders were able to power up the climbs with the remainder dismounting and running up.  We had such a great time watching these guys race each other we were all thinking what the next bike in the stable will be…..cyclocross bike maybe?  Overall the FujiFilm X100s performed quite well and I managed to get a few keepers even with the 23mm fixed focal length.  I met another photographer Christopher Moore from CTOutdoorguide.com and you can check out his pics here.

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The Pros made dismounting and jumping obstacles look easy.

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The course snaked it’s way around the park.

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It was surprising how fast these bikes can go on grass.

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Steep, dusty, and technical descents tested the riders.

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No.4 had the power to stay on his bike up the steep climbs.

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The obstacles were a perfect place to attack and try and drop the opposition.

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Another attempt to ride one of the steep climbs, it was a good attempt but he ended up running.

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More action over the boards, it was a good save after tripping on the board.

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Dirty, but happy with a great race.

Resorts World Sentosa

My final project on my Singapore visit was to shoot Resorts World Sentosa for Landscape Architects ICN Design International Pte Ltd again. My brief was to focus on the landscaping and capturing people using the spaces. Since the space benefited from being populated I had to make quite a few repeat visits due to the visitors being very sporadic. Below are a few shots of this weird and wonderful place.

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Interlace ‘Vertical Village’

Dubbed as a ‘vertical village’ by the architect Ole Scheeren, The Interlace does seem to live up to its name. I spent a couple of days wandering around this ‘village’ photographing it for Landscape Architects ICN Design International Pte Ltd.

I was concentrating on capturing the landscape scheme and trying to put it all into context but the actual building form is so overwhelming that I found myself creating images of the architecture instead. It was a real challenge to stick to the brief. I only wish I had had a few more days to fully capture the whole site. Here are a few images from the shoot.

Update Nov 2015:  This building has won the World Architecture festival 2015 Building Of The Year.

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2014 Tour Of Friendship Stage 5

Today I started off with the 50’s men, juniors and women.  It was great to see the juniors attacking each other and the 50’s men closing the gaps and bring it back together.  After the initial flurry of attacks it settled down and this is when I decided to wait for the Open Men and continue to the finish with them.  This was a good decision as it was all action in this peloton.  The pace was very high and the bunch was continuously being strung out, there was quite a bit of suffering going on on this last stage. Looking forward to returning next year!

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2014 Tour Of Friendship Stage 4

It was the Forties group who got my attention on Stage 4.  I picked the group up as they crossed the river Kwai.  I had planned a few shots to capture the riders crossing the river but the sun gods were against me and I was unable to get the shot.  I was surprised by the pace of the peleton and it was an exciting first few kilometers.  It wasn’t until they reached the long false flat, that the pace settled down and some of the teams tried to control the front.  This didn’t stop various riders trying to get off the front but they were always brought back into the fold.  The descent was very exciting with speeds reaching up to 80km/hr.  Hanging off the back of the motorbike with riders trying to sneak a draft and me trying to get a closeup was great fun. Once off the descent the road narrowed and it was littered with potholes.  The marshal’s did a good job of directing the riders around the obstacles but it was nail biting stuff waiting for a possible pile up.  It wasn’t until the last few kilometers that the real racing started – with a steep climb up to the dam, this is where the stage was going to be won and a small group finally went clear within the last few hundred meters of the climb.  Riders then raced along the top of the dam to the finish.  Another great day of racing and some fierce competition amongst the old guys.

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It was a mixed bunch for todays stage.

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The old guys set a blistering pace.

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Trying to get a draft on the decent. One rider went for extra protection and not sure if this old truck was road worthy.

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High speeds on the long decent.

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Some of the locals weren’t that interested in the racing.

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Nearing the final climb riders started to attack.

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Shenanigans around the back of the course.

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Scary marshaling around big potholes.  At first glance I thought it was Jens Voigt but it turned to be Adam Horler tucking into his chicken rice!

2014 Tour Of Friendship Stage 3

Stage 3 was always going to be a big day in the saddle for the riders as it was the longest stage and had a lot of climbing along the out-and-back route.  My plan was to head out with the Open men to the top of the big climb and then follow the thirties men for the remainder of the race.  Due to the size of the climb and the fast pace it seemed like the whole race was blown apart and riders from different categories were all mixed together.  I ended up staying in one spot for too long and was worried I wouldn’t get to the front of the thirties category before the turn around.  Luckily, the turn around was a lot further than I remembered and with the skills of my moto driver ‘Valentino’ we caught up. It was very apparent that due to the undulating course – and ever-present heat – that there was alot of suffering going on across the numerous small groups that had spread out around the entire route around the resevoir.

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The pace was high to the bottom of the big climb.

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It wasn’t long before the climbers came to the fore.

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The Women gave a lot of men a run for their money.

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How to corner at speed while descending.

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How not to corner at speed while descending.

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The road around the reservoir, hilly and very hot!

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The front of the thirties at the turn around.

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