In this post, I’m looking back on the past year, highlighting some great, fun or challenging moments. I would like to thank you your year-long support, commenting, tweeting, liking and enjoying things. It was a good year, regardless of all the other nonsense that was going on in the world. Let’s make 2017 better. Happy New Year!
This was a memorable day for two reasons. In my cyclocross career, this was the first-ever British World Championship-winning race I’ve photographed. Evie Richard’s amazing win was eclipsed, however, by two things. Firstly, the infamous motorised doping scandal was all over the news. Secondly, on a personal level, I lost both of my cameras due to water damage. It was a rookie error, I left my waterproof camera covers in the car, I reckoned it was going to be ok. It wasn’t and only Kristof Ramon’s miraculous help prevented me from driving back to London overnight to pick up my backup cameras.
In 2016, for the first time, I used Kickstarter to publish my cyclocross annual. The weeks leading up to the start of the campaign were nerve-racking, I had no idea if I can to make it happen. As soon as things kicked off, I was overwhelmed by level of love and support by you. With three days to go, this was the moment when I received an email, that the campaign was successfully funded. It was a very happy moment, thank you again for all of it!
In March, we left London behind and moved down to Tonbridge and it turned out to be a really good idea. It’s cheaper, nicer, quieter, it is closer to Folkestone/Dover and the riding in Kent is amazing.
April took us to Japan. It was one of the few, non-work related trips this year and it was amazing. It’s beautiful, it’s weird, it’s busy, it’s a complete mindfuck.
In May, after shooting the Tour of California, I’ve managed to squeeze in time for a road trip from Boulder, Co. to Seattle, Wa. Ten days on the road, going across few of the most beautiful parts on the United States, including the Yellowstone Park or the Cascades. I enjoyed the hospitality of a few good friends along the way and I know I will come back again.
June brought another great edition of the Women’s Tour of Britain. The best organised race of all season, hands down, and this year, the course they put together was a lot better than in previous years, too. The hardest day was Stage 2, when it rained through the whole day. For most of the day, I was shielded from the elements by our moto driver, Chris, but then, with 20k to go, we arrived at this giant puddle and there was no way around it: going through it made everything wet from the waist down. The flip side was some great photos as the peloton waded through said puddle.
The Giro Rosa can be a challenging race to cover in the best of times, but this year’s edition was especially difficult for us. I covered it with my Velofocus partner, Sean Robinson and trouble started on stage 2, when one of Sean’s cameras came off his harness and it fell under our moto. On Wednesday, while i was shooting the race making its way up on the Mortirolo, I lost my Canon 5D MkIII body. To this day, I have no idea how it happened. The real sucker punch arrived on Saturday. While we were shooting the start of Stage 8, our car was broken into and the thieves took EVERYTHING. We had our cameras and lenses on us, but everything beyond that was gone: backup bodies, extra lenses, chargers, computers and all our personal stuff was gone, too. They even took my oat drinks. Let’s just say, July was a difficult month.
The most memorable trip of August took me to Norway. It wasn’t my first time there, but the simple beauty of the route of the Ladies Tour of Norway mesmerised me. Oh, and the race hotel offered the best breakfast spread of all times. I’m glad the race will be part of the Women’s World Tour in 2017.
September means cyclocross World Cup races in America. Between the Trek CX Cup races and Crossvegas, I finally got to spend some time in Chicago, where a couple of my favourite movies have been filmed and it’s a great city anyway, so there was plenty to keep me entertained.
This was a tricky one. Back in March, I pitched an idea about Jessie Walker and Abby-Mae Parkinson to Paul Maunder for Rouleur. He liked the idea and so the commission was sorted. I was supposed to take photos of both riders and their parents, who, previously unbeknownst to me, were famous cyclists on their own right. The easiest way to do this was to take the photos at the Nationals in June, but I couldn’t make the timings work. And from then on, it just dragged on and on. Either I wasn’t in the country or Jessie and Abby weren’t. It wasn’t until early October, when I could finally take all the portraits, but it took me three trips up to the North in October to catch everybody.
This year’s World Cup in Koksijde was the first race in my career that was cancelled due to other than financial reasons. While I felt sorry for all the American riders who came over and missed out on an important day of racing, I was glad that it was the closest race to my home that was cancelled and I was able to be back home just before lunchtime. Silver lining, eh?
While December was full of great moments, then one that will stay with me for a while was Mathieu van der Poel’s odd crash in Loenhout. Those long minutes, as he was laying there motionless, are hard to forget. Luckily, he emerged essentially unscathed and it seems that after a few days of resting, he will be back.