Not long ago I’ve made the decision to end my cyclocross journey that started in 2008. It’s was a very difficult decision to make – shooting cyclocross is the thing that I’ve done the longest in my life. I’ve been shooting cyclocross more than half of my adult life. There are many who have done it for longer, but it feels like there is not much else I can give.
I have photographed nearly 350 cyclocross race over the years, from little local races to more than a dozen World Championships. Cyclocross have given me so much and it has played such an important role in my life, but it feels like it has run its course. I remember the exact moment I came to this realisation. I was coming home from Belgium about two years ago, sitting in the car and I was slowly going through the happenings of the day in my head. I can’t remember which race it was, but it was one of the ones I’ve done many, many times and I was happy because I had found a new angle on a course I knew very well. Only it wasn’t a new angle. A few days later I wanted to find a photo of Sven Nys and as I was going through my archives, I bumped into the almost exact same photo from 2012. The angle I thought was new was carbon copy of an idea I had had a decade ago.
While there are a handful of new venues every season, the bulk of the races take place at the same venue, using the same courses, even the time of the year is the same. I’ve photographed Koksijde fifteen times and I’ve done most venues at least a dozen times. I’ve ran out of ideas. It feels like I’m just repeating myself and I’m not bringing anything new and fresh to the table. I still love shooting cross but I just can’t keep on doing this with the same intensity.
It didn’t help with things that while the travel itself has always been tiring, it’s been especially bad in the last two years. It’s been demanding an incredible amount of headspace to keep an eye on travel requirements, book covid tests before and after trips, figure out workarounds of certain limitations, etc. The insane amount of paperwork I have had to fill out week after week after week. I am looking forward to not doing that.
I will miss shooting races, I will miss saying hello to all the friendly faces in the cyclocross bubble every week. I’ve been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people, photographers, journalists, riders, support staff, etc. but I won’t be a stranger, I will certainly pop over the Channel every now and again for some cx action or a little chin wag.
I will miss the excitement of a new course and I am sure next winter will be weird and it will feel odd to watch cross races on tv. But I am looking forward to enjoying a more relaxed autumn/winter period or spending Christmas with my family for once. Finn turned three a few weeks ago and this was first Christmas when he ‘got it’ and I missed out on it all because I had to go to Belgium a day earlier. The last Christmas I spent home was in 2008 and I’m looking forward to the doing that again, come December.
And yes, there will be one last book. It will be a mixture of content from this past season and a retrospective of the last thirteen years, but more details on that soon.
So thanks for coming on this journey for the last 13 years with me, it’s been a fun ride! Oh, and one more thing – Maghalie Rochette interviewed me a few weeks ago for her podcast, where, among other things, I talked about all this in a bit more detail, so if you’re interested, you can check it out here. It’s also worth checking out, it’s a great podcast, I especially enjoy her short pods with fellow racers, lovely little chats that show a different side of the riders we see week in – week out.