Those few who know me well enough know that bike-racing, and cycling in general, have been big part of who I am. That, and photography.
So last week I received an email from an online cycling magazine, www.prologuecycling.com, inviting me to cover Interbike, a trade show for cycling and fitness industry in Las Vegas. I’d been wanting to go to go a cycling trade show since oh…20 years ago but throughout those years I never found a strong enough reason to make me want to fly to Las Vegas. Lucky for me Interbike also coincided with Cross Vegas, a world class cyclo-cross race, and that suited me great because it meant that there would be more stories and drama for me to cover.
I have to admit that I was a bit star-struck when I finally met the international heroes of cyclo-cross and it’s such a niche sport where the pro athletes were so accessible to the spectators. It was not easy to focus on the job when I really wanted to enjoy the atmosphere. I’m not a Zen master or anything but somehow I managed to extract myself emotionally from the environment and started focusing on light-moment-composition.
The women pro riders were lining up for their race. You can see red light shining on them, when the light turned green they would go all out.
Showing up looking good is half the battle.
The race officials did their countdown at 1-minute increment starting from the 10-minutes mark. In the last minute the racers were visibly getting more nervous, and they did the forced-exhale breathing again and again. With 15 seconds to go everything became dead silent.
The light turned green! From where I was standing, which was only two-feet away, all I could feel was a blur and an explosion of energy.
I just loved it when the fans tried to high-five, or low-five, the athletes during the race. The fans, especially the young ones, went wild when the racer returned their friendly gesture. Later on the man holding beer told me that he recognized me from Kansas City. What a small world!
This young fan was shouting encouragement to every racer. That’s a lot of work!
Sven Nys, the guy wearing black helmet, is the Belgian National Champion and one of the most decorated professional cyclists. There’s a website dedicated to discussion about the awesomeness of Sven Nys. My 9 years old daughter watched me editing the photos when I yelled out to her “That’s Sven !!” to which she responded “Without antlers !” apparently referring to the movie “Frozen” .
The U.S National Champion Jeremy Powers and his trusted mechanic inspecting his bike just before the race.
Lars van de Haar, the Dutch National Cyclo-cross champion, making final adjustment before the race.
Zach McDonald waiting at the start line of Pro Men race.
Zach is a Seattle-based profesional rider riding for Kansas City-based elite cyclo-cross KCCX team. Cyclo-cross scene in Kansas City is alive and well. Go KC !!
You know it’s almost GO time when the racers started to shed their wind-breakers.
Lars van de Haar, who placed 2nd in this race, fielding questions from the press.