It was in 2014, when I last came to Oostmalle to shoot the Sluitingsprijs. It stopped being a series race after that and I decided to skip the last race of the season. I kind of missed it, the relaxed atmosphere, the post-race drinks and food, but it was too far away and I just enjoyed too much that I didn’t have to come across the Channel for yet another weekend. End of season fatigue, I guess. But when I heard that both Kevin Pauwels and Helen Wyman would race for the very last time in Oostmalle, I thought I couldn’t miss it this time.
I was rewarded with lovely weather and a fun day all around for the long drive. It was poignant to see Helen finishing her last cyclocross race and spend long minutes just hugging the rest of the field, with everybody just smiling and enjoying the moment. It was also a fun moment, when Kevin Pauwels, who miraculously won his last race, was given an unusual race bonus in the form of Westmalle cheese equaling his body weight – if you wanted to know what does 63 kilos of cheese look like, just scroll down a bit to see it with your own eyes. The big heap of cheese reminded me of news programs features about the Colombian drug busts, where they pile up bricks of cocaine in impressive piles. Maybe I watch too much television.
So, this is it. The end of the 2018/2019 cyclocross season. Thanks for all for coming here, checking out the photos, liking them or commenting. I really appreciate your support. After missing out on the Kickstarter campaign I decided I still wanted to produce a book of some kind to commemorate my 10th year shooting CX racing. All things considered I cannot produce the usual type of book, so I decided to make a smaller version with a slightly different format. The size will remain the same, 27 cm x 23 cm, but it will be a softcover and 180 pages. To keep costs down there will be fewer contributors so less written content, but it will still include the usual selection of my best photos chronicling the whole of the 2018/19 season.
Still, there will be three features. A piece by Renaat Schotte, the roving reporter from Sporza, who went to Lichtaart and dug deep into the story of the place: why do all pros congregate there every Wednesday to train? And the two famous retirees of the season, Helen Wyman and Kevin Pauwels will each get a chapter too. Paul Maunder will talk about Helen and I will reproduce Dan Seaton’s amazing feature on Pauwels from 2015. Finally, I will include a few of my own stories that hopefully provide amusing or interesting insights into my career covering all things cyclocross.
I am not going to do another Kickstarter campaign for this book, but you are able to pre-order it in my webshop (look for the extra perks in the roll-down menu!) until the 15th of April. Unlike the Kickstarter campaign, this book will definitely happen, but if you are interested in perks like having your name in the book you will need to pre-order by April… and also it will help me a great deal too!
Thanks again for everything and see you in the 2019/2020 cyclocross season!