Archive for category photography
The guys over at Marin Bikes are putting on a photo contest to capture your “Suffer and Stoke”. Simply go to the Marin Bikes Suffer and Stoke contest site, sign up upload your photo and get some votes! Top Suffer and Stoke photo gets a 2013 Marin Mount Vision XM6, top Suffer photo gets Oakley Radar Sunglasses, and top Stoke gets a Chrome Niko Camera Bag. Winners will be announced May 20, 2013. See the site for rules.
I’m going to let the majority of this post be about the pictures. I am an artist and a cyclist and this show may replace that special place in my heart that Interbike has held for several years now. What can I say, I’m non-committal. It was absolute sensory overload (just like Interbike is) but with the added atmosphere that an upscale art gallery has. I was, to put it simply, in bike art heaven. I had promised that I would help out Dean Alleger at his booth for the Sacramento Valley Velodrome so I attempted to see as many booths as I could in 20 minutes flat. I think I was actually gone 30 minutes. At any rate, please enjoy the following bikeprOn:
Photo from here.
Let the games begin, or so I tell myself each time I’ve gone to Interbike. I try to prepare myself as much as possible as past history would predict an exhausting week of too much walking, talking, eating & probably……drinking. I knew I would work really hard and play hard. I had, within my arsenal of tools: my laptap, sales rep flyers, coaching brochures, business cards, to-do lists, cute outfits & boots to assure a ‘dressed for success’ appearance. I also had a list of twitter-folk that I was looking forward to meeting. I had already met several the day/night before & I remember thinking when I went to bed after the 7-11 party ‘This is only day ONE!’ I got up early, grabbed some classic-buffet-style-vegas-breaky grabbed some starbucks coffee (because that was the only coffee available on the strip walking toward the Sands convention center) and hit the floor of Interbike right as the doors opened.
Wowzerz……not only was their a multitude of eye-googling bike porn (see below for pics) but I also got to hang out with one of my best guy friends who came down from Southern Utah. I met more tweeps and cycling industry folk, and made sure I had lucrative conversations with all of my/our team’s current & potential sponsors. By the time ‘happy hour’ rolled around, I was definitely ready for it. Interbike is more than just eye-candy, networking, sponsorship securing & job scouting; it’s one.giant.party. It’s loud & fantastically obnoxious with live DJ’s, espresso machines & kegs of beer every afternoon starting at least 3:00. It’s a work hard, play hard bicyclist’s party. The first day was by far my most successful and by the time that night finished I was dreading day 3 & I had blisters on my feet from all the walking around.
The story of the Amgen Tour of California is, if you were to listen to real sports writers paid to cover things like the Amgen Tour of California, a story about weather. By now, anyone reading this blog knows about the cancelled Stage 1 and truncated Stage 2. You’ve read stories about snow and rain – perhaps you’ve even stood outside in the rain just to catch the glimpse of the pro-peloton rolling through your neighborhood.
But since I’m a cycling fan first and a member of the press second (or third or fourth, even), I’ll say something a bit different about this race that I’ve heard several people called cursed – by now you, no doubt, know all about the weather woes of previous editions of this race. Because I’m a cycling fan first, I’m going to talk about cycling fans.
I’ve been at the finishing circuit every year they ATOC has circled the Capitol. I’ve sat in the rain drinking beers outside Crepeville, sipped Fat Tire from a can at the Amgen VIP booth, shot photos from the corner of 18th and L – opposite Crepeville – and I’ve leaned over orange barricades 75 meters from the finish. I’m not the only one.
The crowds do fluctuate. Rain tends to keep those who work downtown from running outside to watch the finish before they clock out for the day. Lance Armstrong tends to attract casual fans more interested in cycling’s pop star than anything else. Even as I walked around I heard more than a few people coming out of their offices to find the roads closed and musing about what it is that must be happening.
But then there’s the rest of us. With our tablets, smart-phones and laptops streaming the race at is approaches. Walking around the Lifestyle Fair just so we can drool over the latest bicycles from the big manufacturers. We care about the results – even if we have no idea what’s going on until the Peloton roars by at 40 miles per hour. We care about the excitement of the roar of 150 or so of the fastest cyclists in the world blowing past in an all out sprint. We don’t care about the rain, mostly.
Fewer people showed up to the finish this year, I’m sure. But it was still crowded. People still lined up at the barricades three or four deep. Because we love cycling. We love the bike. We love it February. We love it in May. We love it in the snow. We love it in the rain.
So yes, on Monday, with rain threatening, I took my press pass downtown and drooled over bikes and ran up and took a couple of photos of Ben Swift after his victory and went to the press conference and had a beer with Sam, all because I love cycling. Not so much because I love professional cycling but because I just like cycling.
And then, on Tuesday, I did it again. Only this time with on my bike, with guaranteed rain, to the sprint point in Folsom. Kurt and I rode out early, scoped out the route and more or less just milled around and grabbed a good spot near the sprint point. We stood around in the rain. We took pictures. We met friends. And we weren’t the only ones.
At Monday’s press conference Andrew Messick, President of AEG Sports, talked about the timeline around moving the Stage 2 start from Squaw Valley USA to Nevada City. It was sometime after midnight, he said, that he first contacted the Nevada City race committee and told them about the change. By 6:30 that morning Nevada City was ready to host the start of Stage 2. With almost no notice, cycling fans turned up at the start and saw the riders off, kicking off the Tour of California in style.
Several years ago now, I accompanied my wife to her company holiday party and I met Sam. The British spouse of my wife’s co-worker who had a funny last name and, like me, was just starting to ride his bike. Eventually, we started riding together and now I count Sam as one of my best friends; because of the relationship we built on the bike.
A co-worker and I started talking about cycling one day. He was a mountain biker. I was a roadie. We conjured up an idea for a blog about cycling and just ran with it.
A handful of cyclists interact with me or this blog on Twitter. Yesterday, I met one of those people, in person, for the first time. It was a blast and, at least I think, we hit it off as fast friends. I was even there when she drank a beer before noon for the first time, ever. And while that was happening, thousands of people lined up on the side of the road to catch a glimpse of elite professional cyclists ride past, in a matter of seconds.
But do we love cycling because of the people? Or do we love the people because they love cycling?
Does it even matter?