Busy Week

I’ve had a busy week, and haven’t had much time to blog, but I have had time to surf the internet looking for pretty pictures of bike racing.

Now, I don’t know Paul Doran — though I’m pretty sure I have seen him at races — but he is one of my favorite race photographers in the district.

In particular, I love the way he captures the really close up photographs of riders’ faces. He consistently manages to find the best parts of bike racing with his telephoto lens: the smiles on the start line, the pain mid-race, and the joy of victory. Graham Watson ain’t got nothing on this guy.

Here’s a quick bit of narcissism, courtesy of Paul Doran. It’s one of the best pictures of me ever taken, and one of the cutest teammate photographs as well.

This is exactly how I remember bike racing as soon as it’s over. When I cross the finish line, the pain, the suffering, the competition and the sacrifices tend to disappear. What keeps me going in this sport is laughing, cracking jokes, and generally making an ass of myself on the start line. I love the people I’ve met through the sport — the dorks, the badasses, the fast guys, the lifetime Cat 2s, the up-and-coming u23s — and I look forward to the post-race beers and pre-race laughs almost as much as I look forward to the crushing of souls mid-race. Almost.

What I like most about this photograph, however, is my teammate in the background and his full-on guffaw; that dude’s trippin’ out. I don’t remember what we were laughing about (and I have no idea why we’re playing with our arm-warmers in synchronized fashion), but the fact that we’re about to go ape-shit off the start line of a 90 minute criterium and still can’t stop giggling makes me smile.

Anyway, in all seriousness…check out this guy’s photos. I know nothing about photography, but I do know that this is what real bike racing looks (and feels) like to me.

(All images from Paul Doran’s Flickr page)

In case you’re wondering why he gets better photographs than the rest of us do with our camera phones…I’ll bet the five-foot-long lens that Paul was using on Saturday (draped in protective coverings to ward off the sporadic rain) doesn’t hurt. Pretty hardcore!

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