Race

OCR World Championships

OCR World Championships

Last weekend was the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Enduro Championships or more commonly known as the OCR World Championships. Competitors ran the 10km course with 30 obstacles in it and tried to knock over as many laps as they could in a 24 hour period.  This year I was chasing Shammes AlShamsi, the only entrant from the United Arab Emirates around the course.

The Race

This has to be the toughest and most brutal race that pops up on my calendar. Whilst I think that the people who do 24mtb races and 24hr trail runs are crazy I believe (and please correct me if I am wrong) that these competitors can find a rhythm and lock into it. Obstacle course racers have to break that rhythm every 40m or so to complete a different obstacle. They do a huge variety of obstacles such as rope climbs, crawling in the mud under barbed wire, scaling walls and rope traverses across the creek.

Chasing one competitor around the course is a little bit awkward as the course is so spread out. I found the best place was around the start finish area where the greatest amount of obstacles were found making it easy to jump between one  and another. I didn’t manage to get all the obstacles I still managed to get a good selection of shots with Shammes and and managed to grab a few other folks as I was waiting for Shammes to get back around to me.

Night

This has to be one of my favourite events as I simply love shooting at night. As night fell so too did the rain and fog. Both years I have shot it it has been raining and foggy which definitely add to the atmosphere of the event. I know many photographers don’t like these conditions but I love it. To a point that is, eventually heavy rain can wear me down.

Trying to pick out that one competitor in the night though became even trickier as it was almost impossible to tell one competitor from another in the darkness and the headlights shining into my eyes. I basically just ended up shooting most people in the night and hoping one was Shammes. Its always good fun playing around with different lighting setups at night. Hopefully I didn’t blind anyone but no-one complained to me so that’s always a good thing.

Morning

I got up early for another few shots but had to shoot off before the finish due to another booking. In the early hours of the morning Shammmes, like many others, had pulled the pin due to exhaustion. I still managed to grab a few more frames before I shot off though. Being the athlete that Shammes is though he is off to Andorra this weekend for not one but 2 more Spartan Race events.

I certainly hope to be back again next year. Registration for the event has opened already. The level of fitness of these athletes just astounds me and the vibe at the event itself is just great. It is well worth checking out even if racing is not for you

The rest of the images can be viewed here on my website

Details for signing up for next years event can be found here here otherwise just come along, check it out and marvel at the strength of these crazy athletes.

Posted by Richard in Events, Obstacle Course
The Jetblack 12hr Mountain Bike Race

The Jetblack 12hr Mountain Bike Race

The final mountain bike race for the 2016 Rocky Trail Entertainment XC season was the Jetblack 12 hour. This year it was held at Mowbray farm MTB track near Picton in the southwest of Sydney. It was a couple of years since previously shooting my last XC race there. Though the course was basically the same, weather over the last month or so had altered the terrain around it.

The main change in the features around the course was the missing lake. Heavy rainfall of the previous weeks managed to wash away a dam, draining the lake in the middle of the course. Rain had left the track over-saturated. More rain overnight had also added to the puddles, making some sections of the track more like water crossings. Although the previous night had been another wet one, the new day dawned windy but otherwise the weather was great.

Terrain along the track varies quite a bit. It heads through open fields with some nice views across to the city, crosses and drifts along a small creek that was once the lake and heads off into a young pine forest. The wet weather had closed a couple of sections of the track making the course shorter. However, this just meant faster laps, bringing the riders back in front of our cameras more often.

At 10am a mass start sent mountain bikers racing off into the fields. The harsh light in the open fields below the start line meant shooting there was tricky. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a few clouds came rolling in and softened up the light a bit. I followed the track in the same direction as the riders were headed, stopping when I came across shots that I liked. By mid afternoon I had made it probably halfway around the track. I realised the best locations to shoot the sunset would be in the fields and dams back near the start so I packed up my kit and headed back in that direction.

Nightfall saw me playing with my lights around the lakes and puddles. By using a mix of flashes and dragging the shutter to create long exposures I was able came up with some interesting effects. When water was added to the frame I threw reflections of the riders lights into the mix. I always have trouble balancing the riders lights with my flashes.  The problem is, I end up losing portions of the bikes due to over-exposure caused by the riders lights. Exposing for the riders lights is tricky as no 2 riders seem to have lights of the same brightness. Practice makes perfect though and each time I am out there I seem to get a little bit better. The good thing about 12 hour and 24 hour races is that I get plenty of practice and plenty of chances to get it right.

Below are my picks for the race.

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Superflow: Ourimbah

Superflow: Ourimbah

The first round of Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Superflow Gravity Enduro took off last weekend at Ourimbah. There was a great turnout for it with almost 200 riders in the pack.

I was up there under the guise of Outer Image again to getcompetitor shots for all involved. Gil was away for the weekend so in his absence I called in the talents of Jaime Black to give me a hand. Jamie settled in on the downhill track and I moved to cover the all-mountain trail. Having shot at Ourimbah so many times before I was wondering where I might find a new angle but there is always going to be a spot or angle out there. I soon found a nice rock section where people are jumping over and tested a couple of different angles on it until I found one I liked .

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Stromlo Rollercoaster, the final round.

Stromlo Rollercoaster, the final round.

 

It’s hectic weekends at the moment as I flit from race to race. Not that I am complaining mind you, I love travelling round and visiting a new place each weekend or revisiting as the case may be. This time it was back to Stromlo in Canberra for the final round of Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Fox Rollercoaster.

With three tracks running the Rollercoaster covered a large section of Mt Stromlo. We went down on the Friday so we could have a bit an explore around the area. We drove out west past Cotter Dam and along Paddy’s River to the space station at Tidbinbilla. We spent the night camped up along the river. Snug as it was wrapped up in the sleeping bag it was an icy morning with puddles frozen and a layer of frost over everything.

Saturday was practice runs at Stromlo. Gil and I took our cameras and headed off to the vapor trail or, as it was known on race day, the Camelbak Track. Gil took to the top half while I explored the lower half. I was quite keen on getting a few shots of the big wallrides in action plus we were just doing a bit of recon for shooting locations on race day. Not nearly as many people were hitting the wallrides as I had expected but I did manage to get a couple of shots. With locations scouted I started on my way back down heading via a field where I knew the kangaroos gathered and snapped a few shots. The sounds of music further down the hill lured me on to the dirt jumps where I met the guys from backbone BMX and did a few shots with them to finish off the days shooting.

Early Sunday morning and apparently the temperatures hit a chilly -4. So I awoke to yet another frosty morning. I don’t mind the cold temperatures but it does make it harder to get out of bed in the morning. Race day all went smoothly. Gil and I shot at the locations we had scouted the day before. Gil got some great shots of a drop up top while I shot lower down on a berm I knew of. I even managed to get a few more sneaky wallride shots in.

A huge congratulation to all those place-getters and an even bigger one to Michael Vanos and Vanessa Thompson who won the male and female elite series. You can, as always see the full results on the Rocky Trail website here. All the images are available for viewing on the Outer Image website here and don’t forget to download your shots if you raced on the day.

A huge thanks to all those who made the series as wonderful as it was. Top of the list is Martin and Juliana of Rocky Trail Entertainment without whom we wouldn’t have a series in the first place. To the fine folks at Fox racing and Camelbak for sponsoring all the races. To all the caretakers that maintain the tracks that the races are run upon and of course to all the competitors who are the soul of the series and who make each event so much fun

Richard

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Kempsey Rollercoaster

Kempsey Rollercoaster

It’s been a while since I have been out shooting any races but last weekend I was back at it under the guise of Outer Image. We were off to Kempsey to cover the fourth round of the Gravity Enduro Rollercoaster series.

Kempsey is about 5 hours north of Sydney so I decided to make a weekend of it and spend time camping at Hat Head National Park. This is one of my favourite campsites due to its stunning natural beauty and the fact that you set up camp among the kangaroos.

This year 2 more tracks were added to the course and another day of racing was added too. Day 1 was 2 tracks and then on the second day the tracks changed. There was a little bit of something for everyone in the tracks. I heard some say that there was too much pedaling in parts of the track while others said they loved those same sections for the rolling rides through the trees. The tracks were nowhere near as dusty as they were last year which although is good for the riders There was around 120 riders this time. Not such a big turn out for an enduro but considering its 5 hr drive from Sydney it was more than we expected. It’s a great track and good to see it’s expanded to include another 2 tracks this year.

Enjoy!!!

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Sydney Series Cyclocross round 1

Sydney Series Cyclocross round 1

 

Today i spent the afternoon checking out the first round of the Sydney Series of the Cyclocross. It’s a kind of unique type of racing. The bikes are modified racing bikes and the course is a mix between short course road racing and a short xc track. Obstacles around the course are designed to make you get off and carry the bike over them. Races only run for 45 mins but they are short and intense. Looks like a bunch of fun and I hope to get back and shoot a few more soon.

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events, What's going on