Today I went along to the National Cyclocross Championships in Derby. I’ve written before about what a photogenic sport cyclocross is and today didn’t disappoint. With the wet weather of the last week and two days of racing already, the course was fantastically muddy. In cyclocross, riders can change bikes, once or twice per lap as they pass through the pit area. The bikes are then taken by the rider’s helpers to be washed, oiled and checked over before the rider comes back around and repeats the cycle.
Most pit crews have small, petrol driven jet washes that proved pretty much essential in today’s conditions. What the organisers may not have considered, is that by corralling the pit crews in to a dedicated area for bike washing, the water used added to the already sodden ground and it became an ankle deep swamp. The jet wash area was 150m from the pit and the spectacle of the helpers, covered head to toe in waterproofs and mud, running with expensive racing machines through the clag was too good to miss.
I had had the idea to try to shoot all of the pictures I needed for my second assignment – Elements of Design – but was having too much fun wandering around the pits. In fact, I ended up with very few pictures of the riders. I’ll save them for a post elsewhere…
What was encouraging for my studies, was that I asked a few of my subjects if I could take their pictures. I usually struggle with asking to photograph strangers, but the ridiculousness of adults messing about in the mud meant that people were having fun and happy enough for me to take their picture.