303.895.8107   markwoolcott@mac.com

Pin-Up #2

December 29, 2010

This is the second shoot of a little project that I have been working on for the last year.  Every couple of months I look for new models who are willing to participate in my Pin-Up project.

We set the date for a Sunday afternoon and rendezvoused at a secret location in Highlands Ranch.  It is secret simply because nobody can know that this kind of cool photography was taking place down in the hinter-lands.  Otherwise, the entire Ranch would be up in arms and all of the husbands down there would want a similar shoot with their wives or girlfriends.  And really we don’t want any riots taking place in “The Ranch”.

In any case.  We set up Sunday afternoon and began working through a bunch of “vignettes”.  I was looking for three stories each.  Every photograph should tell a tale and give you a bit of a story.  With these shots I was looking for that old-time feel of the girl at the beach or maybe the sassy traffic cop.  But they all had to have a modern flair.  I wanted color and punch.  We ran through a bunch of old school books that I had and came up with ideas and went to town.  One of my favorite reproductions in the Keyhole shot.  We saw it in a book and had to have one like it.

That night we ended up shooting for quite a while.  We through out ideas, grabbed snacks, poured drinks and simply had a great time with some killer music. One point that can’t be over looked is a huge thanks to my hair queen, Jennifer and my make up diva Jes. Without their skills we wouldn’t have gotten nearly the killer shots we did.

Episode #8 – Ingrid Alongi

September 16, 2010

I have been fortunate to see quite a bit of bike racing in my career as a photographer.  There are always new people to meet and new disciplines to experience. In the biking world, all genres seem completely different and unique.  Each has it’s own lingo, it’s own special gear, and it’s own funny sayings and snobbish eccentricities.

The downhillers have the “Mine has more travel than yours”. The roadies have “mine is lighter than yours”, the cross folks have the “I can drink more than you while running through sand at 10am”.  And the track-sters…well, the track people have the “I can push a larger gear than you”.

What does all of this have to do with anything?  Nothing really, except that Ingrid Alongi  is solidly based in the latter group.  And, she truly can push a harder gear than you.  To put it plainly, she knows how to kick some ass on an oval.

I met Ingrid in boulder at the Boulder Velodrome.  In classic Ingrid style, she was scorching that wooden oval and putting a serious hurt on the other racers.  After the training session was over, I showed her some of the images and we talked about setting up another shoot in the future.  Little did I know that the future would not really happen for almost a year.  In that time, she has started her own company and moved from bubble of Boulder to the rubble of  5 points.

Finally, we were able to make it work.  A few Sundays ago we headed down to the metro station in 5 points and snapped off some frames. It was great light and the people watching on Sunday morning speaks for itself.  And, some might say we made for pretty good people watching ourselves.

  1. With what team do you ride? Houndstooth/Panache Cycling Team
  2. How long have you been racing? I started in 1986 when I was 12, eventually making it to the Jr. Natioanl Team. In those days, there was no women’s pro category and there wasn’t a u23 program. Once I graduated from the Jr. National Team to the Senior B team in 1993, I got completely crushed. I was cleaning houses part time (more $ per hour than a coffee shop job, but physically demanding) and trying to make it. I recall going to a big stage race on my own dime in Bisbee, Arizona in 1993. One of my National Team mates was on the Kahlua team, one of the biggest women’s teams at the time. I asked if they’d hand me a water bottle during the road race and they said no. Here I am, completely unsupported at 19, driving to the big races, sleeping on couches. It was discouraging, I couldn’t hack it so I decided to give full time college a go instead where my life took me away from cycling for many years.                                                                                                Fast forward to 2008, I started riding my bike again to combat the stress of working at a tech start up in Boulder. The first time I rode to Jamestown, I could barely function the rest of the day, but I rediscovered my love for the sport. I got the racing bug in 2009 when the Boulder Velodrome opened. At 2009 Master’s Nationals, I silvered in the Individual Pursuit and won the Team Pursuit, in which I am still the national record holder. Now that I have my own company (www.quickleft.com) my goal is to continue to have fun with riding and racing.
  3. How did you get started racing? My dad started racing when we were kids, when my parents split. My brother and I used to accompany him to the races. I remember him racing on a yellow Schwinn Varsity… One day, we were walking around the Pearl St. Mall and saw kids our age racing a crit around the mall. This was the 1995 Red Zinger Mini Classic. We begged our dad for bikes, and we entered our first race in 1996.
  4. What is your all-time favorite race? Hmm, probably the 1992 Casper Classic. I was 18 at the time racing with the Women’s 1, 2, 3s and had a breakthrough getting up the first hill with the leaders. It was on a long road race where I knew if I was dropped, the entire day would be spent riding alone or with a very small group losing time in the overall gc. I was so proud of myself for having made it up that first hill in the lead pack!
  5. What is your strongest discipline? Individual Pursuit and Team Pursuit
  6. What part of bike racing do you absolutely loathe? The port – o -lets before the race. You’re in your cleats, you are nervous, you are trying to balance in there, it smells like everyone else’s nervousness. Ugh! The worst part of racing by far.
  7. Tell me a little about your bikes and gear.  What are they, what cool little gizmos do you use to train, what is your favorite piece of equipment? The coolest thing on my bike is probably my Oval Jetstream fork. It just looks cool and is fast.  Gears in track cycling are also quite fine tuned. When I ride at Boulder Indoor Cycling, I usually roll a 47×15 (84.6”) in the winter, and then put on a 48×15 (86.4”) for the summer. These gears are pretty small for racing, so it’s good to get to Colorado Springs and put on the real gears so that you don’t have the unpleasant surprise of doing a standing start or a jump with a larger gear.  I tend to feel more comfortable in an 88” gear when I ride pursuits, but may try again with a 90”. I’ll use 90” gears for points races, unless the pack is really small or it’s really windy, in which case, I’ll go back to the 88”.  I may even venture to a 92” for a Kieran (riders are paced behind a motorcycle to get up to speed. The motor pulls off at 2 laps to go on a 333 meter track, and the riders have 2 laps to sprint. Since you are already up to speed by being motorpaced, you don’t have to worry about trying to jump in a gear that’s too large).
  8. Do you have any superstitions about racing or any pre-race rituals? What are they and how did they start?  I just like to fill my iPod (or walkman back in those days) with good music to warm up to and get focused with.
  9. If money was absolutely no object, what bike would you ride and how would it be painted? I pretty much have the bike of my dreams, but if I had all kinds of money, I’d get a really nice Zipp disk for the rear and Corima four-spoke for the front.
  10. If you could race with any pro, from any time in history who would it be? Hmm, It would be cool to ride with one of the first ever women’s racers. I don’t even know who that would be, but it would be cool to ask her why she got into racing, etc.
  11. You are granted a riding session with one current pro team.  This session includes as many hours of riding as you would like, lunch at any location you choose and the ability to ride any place in the world.  How do you fulfill this dream?  Please be specific with details about lunch conversations with riders and any pertinent gossip that is applicable. You should revise your instructions that you can ask them whatever questions you want and they have to answer honestly. But, your instructions should also say that you are required not to divulge what they said…                                                                                                                          Peanut Butter and Co, of course! They have a some amazing track riders, including Cari Higgins and Corine Rivera. I would like to ride with them at the velodrome in Manchester, England because it’s a really sweet track. I would get all of the gossip. Who are the pack princesses? Who are the hard workers? Who do they think has the most potential? Who does and doesn’t eat (and how do they manage)? Who’s cheated?
  12. Who would you absolutely love to beat by the end of this year, and why? I don’t have anyone in particular that I want to beat, but I do want to better my 2 kilometer individual pursuit time. Although I did lose the 2009 Master’s National Pursuit title to Renee Eastman by .25 seconds, so if I had to pick one person… (but she was also my team pursuit mate).

Out In the Oil Fields

May 14, 2010

Growing up in Wyoming, the lights from the glowing oil derrik seemed to be the western version of the Northern Lights.  They were untouchable and mysterious.  They represented a world I knew nothing about.

I remember driving through the vast empty space between Green River and Laramie, lost in thought. Pondering what life must be like on a rig.  After all, the derrik ran 24 hours a day, rain or shine, in extreme heat and extreme cold.  At times the only lights in the world during the dark windy winter months would be the luminous glow from a distant drilling rig. That was part of the allure of the drilling rig.

A month ago, I was commissioned by a wellhead company to document the work of installing wellheads, BOPs and the maintenance needed to keep it all running.  Before I knew it, I found myself sitting on a 12 passenger turbo-prop headed to the distant plains for North Dakota.  The Bakken Oil field is one of the largest and most active formations in the lower 48 states.  The discovery of oil in North Dakota has turned sleepy cow towns into busting oil stations.

Watford, North Dakota is such a town.  Just recently it was written up in the New York times.  The author discussed the challenges the city faces and the struggle with housing the men working the Bakken field.  This town would be my home for the next 5 days.  For 14 hours a day, I followed a group of men around to the various rigs while they installed BOPs, lubed  wellheads and performed general up keep.  Finally I got to see the inside, or rather all around the mystical drilling rig.

The men that work these rigs are made of movie stuff.  They have their own language. They have their own hand signals.  They even have their own names for the specific jobs on the derrik, and unless you have proven yourself, they have their own name for you.  These men are hard.  Working 12-14 hour shifts in the dead of winter, exposed to the elements with some of the most dangerous equipment in the world, makes a person tough.  The work is wet and thick with muddy oil that bubbles form the hole.  The tools are enormous and one misstep or a slip in attention and life becomes very serious very quickly.

As I was shooting pictures of the men installing a BOP, one of the guys said to me, “hey, don’t step there.”  I looked at him with my usual “yea, no shit” look since he was pointing to a large pool of watery mud, that had the consistency of thick chocolate milk.  What did he think, I would just step in a pool of water with my camera strapped to me?  So, I looked at him, with that same look and said, “yea, ok”.   Then he looked back and said it again; I must have been getting closer to the pool.  With the same look I said, “So, it isn’t just a pool of water?”  ”Nope,” he said ” ya step in there and we’ll never see y’again.  That goes down 150 feet and there is no way to get ya out.”  Needless to say, I didn’t get any closer to the hole.

In the end, I got some great shots for the company.  But the shots that truly stand out in my mind are the images of the men on the rig.  One of my favorite photographers did an entire series on oil rig workers.  Richard Avedon, in the mid 1980′s produced the most vivid and striking images I have ever seen.  My images are not the same in any stretch of the imagination, but they do capture what the work is like.  Oh, and for the record, the guy with the sledge hammer is the one who told me where NOT to step.

Monday Night Lights

April 5, 2010

Sitting in the first corner, I try to get myself as small as possible (eternally a challenge) so that the cyclists don’t clip me as they race by.

Bike racing is always a challenging sport to shoot.  It’s not like you can simply stand in front of the competitors and ask “hey can you hold that pose for just a second longer?”  No way, most of the time these athletes scream by at mach 3, totally oblivious to the world.  Their heart rates are through the roof and every thing goes black except for the person they are following.  My job is to catch the essence of the moment.  What is it like to slam your bike into a corner at 25 mph? How does it feel to be in “the drops” pedaling as fast as possible down an 8% grade on 1/2 inch tires wearing only lycra.

This night a good buddy of mine, Jerry Olson, and I ventured into the world of track cycling.  We headed out of town for the bubble of Boulder in search of some fast paced track action.  Half an hour later, we landed at the hub of all Boulder track racing. . . Boulder Indoor Cycling.  On any given night, cyclists clip into the pedals to warp around this 142 m. oval.  The 45˚ corners hold each racer in place and drop them into incredible angles that make great pictures.

On this particular eveningt a group of locals had gathered to train.  Chris, Ingrid and Erika were  great sports.  They rocked some new Tiemeyer bikes and buzzed me every every chance they got. Each time I asked if they would “go again”, they were absolutely in. They  hammered around the oval time after time so that I could get a couple of shots.

My favorite aspect of cycling is the speed.  It doesn’t matter if it is uphill, downhill, on the flats or around a banked corner; I love the speed.  And, I try to show this through my imagery.  Motion blur is one way to show the great velocity that these athletes carry.  Tonight crafting that “blur” was my goal.

It really isn’t very tough to shoot a static cycling shot. Modern digital cameras have an amazing ISO range and current lens technology can stop the fastest moving object.  So tonight I was looking to combine the use of flash with a slower shutter to generate the feeling of the velodrome .  Every 8-10 seconds a rider blew through my view, focussed on the black line.  This focus and speed is hard to explain to someone who isn’t there at that instant.  The wood against carbon wheels creates that muted thunder, and heightens the rush of the race.  This isn’t a stagnant moment, it is intense as well as instantaneous.  What better way to capture the feelings of rider and spectator than blur?  Warp that image.  Make it scream.  Show the intense concentration, the sweat…the pain.  Show the speed.  Enjoy.

All Terrain Shoes – A.T.S’s

March 16, 2010

I am drawn to cool short movies that are shot using “Stop Motion” techniques and/or by shooting with high-speed shutter option of still cameras.  One of the coolest videos that has caught my eye is by a German photographer/producer, Roman Kuhn.  He produced a five minute short that tells the tale of the new Mercedes Mclaren and a sneaking paparazzo.  The entire video was produced using two Canon 1Ds shooting at 10fps.

A few weeks after viewing this cool short film I headed to Wyoming to visit my parents.  As with most visits, we did the usual go out for breakfast, take walks, play with the dogs, eat lunch, take naps….repeat.  One afternoon, as my dad and I were futzing around in the garage. We were both bored so I suggested we head down to the river to make a movie.  He was in.  My pop loves this stuff.  He is the type of guy who is game for any new adventure, especially if he gets to play with cool new gear.  Quickly, we decided to shoot a video featuring his cool new all terrain shoes.  (I am not sure if that is the official name of these brogans, but for the purpose of this story they are.)  We jumped into the truck headed to the river and looked for rocks, fences, dirt trails, sand and of course water, to start making our movie. We brainstormed some scenes and talked about all of the cool qualities of his shoes.  We had to cover the vents, the velcro fasteners, the super cool slip-cord-tightner (another technical term) and of course, we had to shoot the super-duper-no-slip-rubber that keeps it all together.

Over the next two hours we shot 1,000 frames or so… the coolest part of this whole undertaking is shooting tons of images.  I don’t know a single photographer who doesn’t like to fire off 10 frames a second.  It is the machine gun of camera stuff.  Clicking off frames as fast as they go.  And, with digital, it doesn’t cost $12 a minute for film.

Since the end-use was web, I was able to shoot with low resolution  jpeg image.  This allowed each card to hold 2,000 or so images.  I just shot away.  One thing I forgot to keep in mind was, duh, keep the camera horizontal.  That is actually a big change from shooting only stills.  The format for video is completely horizontal.  Any crazy tilts or going completely verticle renders the frame useless.

At the end of the day, my dad and I had spent some quality time together.  Once again we were out in the wilds, tinkering with gadgets, toys and gear trying to produce something cool.  True QT.

Take a look and let me know what you think.  It is pretty bare bones and I still have to figure out the after effects.  Drop me a line if you have any suggestions or questions.

Celebrations in Denver

March 11, 2010

In 1965 Rachel B. Noel was elected to the Denver Public Schools Board of Education.  This successful election made  Mrs. Noel the first African American Woman elected to public office in the State of Colorado.  In 2008 Mrs. Noel passed away leaving a living legacy of hope, tolerance, and inspiration that thousands of people benefit from today.

A month ago I was asked to cover the Rachel B. Noel Awards Ceremony that took place at the Shorter A.M.E. church in Denver.  I arrived early, not knowing the grand scope of the ceremony and was soon to learn that I was asked to cover one of the most glorious awards presentations/celebrations in Denver.

Over the next four hours I photographed local community leaders, educators and honorees as they came together and received recognition. During the ceremony, the audience learned of the great accomplishments of Rachel Noel and joined together to commemorate her life.  This night brought the songs and voices of various church choirs together as well as members of the community who have made great changes in our city.  Together we learned of the people and groups that have helped create a stronger and healthier Denver.

Our lives were enriched with the stories of triumph and struggle that brought so many people to Denver. The choirs rejoiced with soloists praising the work through song. The program flowed seamlessly for two full hours of vocal melodies, tribal drums and dedications.

Following in the legacy of Rachel Noel, five awards were given and one Distinguished Visiting Professorship was granted.  Each was presented to people who fought against racial discrimination and inequality.  Each was presented to people who, like Rachel, make a difference.

This night, the following awards were given:

Distinguished Visiting Professorship
Julius E. Coles

Academic Excellence
Metro State African and African American Studies Department

Community Engagement
Jeff S. “Brother Jeff” Fard

Community Service
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Denver Alumnae Chapter

Spiritual Leadership
Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church

Community Activism through the Faith Community
Lost Found Members of The Nation of Islam in North American Universal -African Improvement Association

Congratulations to all who earned awards.  Your work is truly outstanding and is making a difference in this world.

Urban Assault

February 21, 2010

Earlier this week my friend Paige Eden and I took a short trip east of town in search of an abandoned airfield. We had heard about many different airfields but most of them no longer exist. Paige turned me on to this cool photography site that explores urban ruins.  These folks have it down, they check out old asylums, empty hospitals and cool detention centers. We wanted to see something similar.

With this in mind we searched for anything that was no longer inhabited in the Denver area.  Sure enough, Paige stumbled on this cool old airfield.  The runways are barely visible but two main buildings remain.  During operation, there were a series of hangars, a fuel station and even a restaurant.  All that remains are, what appeared to be, the restaurant and the traffic tower.

When we arrived it was snowing pretty hard.  We hoped to find the landing markings on the tarmac; those would make cool pictures.  Instead we found  quite a bit of old furniture that had accumulated  around the concrete pads of the old hangars and office buildings.  The decaying sofas proved to be cool subjects in their own right.  I took out the camera and decided to shoot the entire day with a wide open shutter.  I was looking for a super short depth of field and hoped it would add to the mystique of the area.

After getting everything we wanted from the airfield we moved to the buildings.  One of the things I find funny about this type of location is all of the gang graffiti. We are no where near the city and still the structures are rife with all different gang tags.  How do they get all the way out here?  The building looked like it had been used as temporary shelter, party house, teen-age get away and shooting range for the last decade.  Unfortunately a mismanaged fire destroyed a solid third of the building and made for very treacherous exploration.

We were able shoot from the windows of the first floor and then ventured into the basement.  Inside was a hodgepodge of leftover chairs, old televisions and random clothing.  The charred remains mixed well with the trashed insides and the silently falling snow added to the eerie mood.

After an hour or so of exploring, we packed up our gear and headed home. When the weather warms up, we are both excited to head back for a cool fashion shoot.  Make sure to check out Paige’s Blog to see the images she took.

Wandering 2/7/10

February 7, 2010

It’s 9am Sunday morning and the city feels sleepy under the lightly falling snow.  The silence is strange since it is Super Bowl Sunday.  People should be hustling from one place to another.  But they’re not.  The snow has made everyone a little sluggish, a little slow.

This morning inspired me to wander through my neighborhood.  I wanted to talk to people.  I wanted to see what was happening on this Super Bowl Sunday.  Stepping from the warmth of my house, I shuffled south listening to the silence that only a sky full of falling flakes can make.  The city was subdued.  Every sound and every color muted.

At first my lens focussed on lines and curious angles.  My eyes liked the places where the snow started to gather. They moved to rocks and fences, steps and tree branches.  Everything was silent and my images seemed to respond to the stillness.  I found withered thistle in the neighbors yard.  I cast my gaze on empty allies and lonely churches. And slowly life began to change.

Meandering toward Federal Blvd, the city seemed a little more awake.  Even so, the bus stop, which normally hums with activity, silently loaded and unloaded it’s contents. The liquor slumbered behind its shuttered windows and locked door.

Down the block a lone man swished away the morning snow with a push broom.  The gentle sweeping of the snow fit in perfectly. And soon others joined him, helping clear the sidewalk for morning worship. A silent lot, clearing the walkway, dressed for service.

Further along Federal, past the hushed doorways of the dispensaries and hair salons, the empty school yard rested from its weekly toil.  Every piece of equipment sat silent. Every slide was empty.  The playground slept under the still winter blanket.

Turning west onto the less busy side streets, a man and woman exhanged goods.  I paused, simply watching.  I was drawn to the scene. Eventually they turned around and noticed my camera and me staring at them. Introducing myself,  my curiosity was piqued.  For the next couple of minutes we talked. Quietly we shared bits about our lives as the snow continued to fall.  They explained to me how they distributed food to the elderly.  Rolland pulled away the tarp, opening of his trailer and showed me the food he had collected from grocery stores earlier in the week.  He would spend his day dropping off donated goods to people who were struggling.  It seemed fitting to meet him here. He was off the beaten path. Rolland silently worked as the snow drifted to earth around him.

Wandering the streets of Denver this morning I met half a dozen people.  Some of them wanted their pictures taken.  Some of them simply didn’t care and allowed me to snap off a quick shot.  It was all give and take.  We talked.  A young man, on his way to a friends house, told me the two teams in the big game. Others chatted about the neighborhood and how it had changed.  We all shared. We all listened.

Rolland however, made me think. His humble self-confidence was pure. He made me think and my mind settled into the walk back home.  Again the lens found leaves clinging to trees and lonely pinecones resting on barren sidewalks.My morning of wandering drew to a close much the way it started.  I turned the corner as the snow piled up and crunched beneath my shoes, and my street sat completely empty.


January 25, 2010

I love photographing people.

A couple of months ago, I was talking with a good friend of mine and she happened to mention how she thought 1950′s style pin-ups were some of the coolest images of women ever made.  She pulled out some old Betty Paige calendars, that her father had given her, and we wasted the better part of an evening talking about the aesthetics of this bygone genre.

We poured over the poses and commented on the sex appeal.  The eyes. The facial-expressions. The outfits.  Everything seemed to say “sex” without really saying it.  That is what turned us on the most.  They were “hot” but not slutty.

We dissected more images looking at the specifics of each pose and the subtleties of each shot.  Soon the talk rambled toward the idea of producing images like these. But, with a modern twist.

We should do a pin-up shoot.

A short list of possible people sprouted.  To be included were hair stylists, make-up artists and models (of course).

We were onto something.  Over the next month our team gradually assembled the needed accoutrements.

Sassy outfits, check.

Stylist, check.

Models, check.

Make-up artist…..check.  Now all we needed was a day to make it all work.

My idea was to shoot all of the ladies against a “green screen”.  After the shoot was over, each image would be digitally extracted and placed on whatever background seemed to fit.  From the get go, I wanted crazy color.  It was 1950 meets a Deee-Lite video.  It was my crazy dream that I hoped would work.

Each image needed to tell a story; a little vignette. There is one behind any good pin-up.  There is the librarian who, during story time, happens to show a little leg.  Or maybe the tale is about a housewife/baker who just happens to forget the majority of her clothing for the day.  Maybe, just maybe, the story goes something like this.  A lady starts giving her cute dog a bath and is interrupted by the doorbell.

The endings are all the same.  When someone catches their little indecency, their tincy-wincy indiscretion … the reply is always … “Ooops”.

So that is where we start.

Episode#5-Alison Powers

November 23, 2009

Alison PowersAbout two years ago, I met Alison while working at a local bike shop.  At the time I had no idea she was such and incredible racer.  What struck me was how kind and genuine she was.  Well to tell you the truth, I was really taken by her awesome curly hair and her amazing smile…..who isn’t?  I soon changed jobs,  but kept in touch while she traveled the world exploring her racing career with various pro teams.  She seemed to be everywhere and kicking butt all over Italy and France.  Then in 2008 she became the National Time Trial Champion.  Even with all of the wins and international travel she is still the same Alison.  Every time I see her at a race, whether it is CX or road, she smiles and takes time to talk.  So, here is one of the nicest and most successful cyclists the metro area.

1. With what team do you ride? Team Fuji for CX. Team Type 1 on the road.

2. How long have you been racing? 5 years on the road. This is my first real year of racing CX.

3. How did you get started racing? I missed being an athlete (I used to ski race until 2004).

4. What is your all-time favorite race? Good question!  I don’t know. There are so many great races and, of course, it always depends on how you do at that race.

5. What is your strongest discipline? Time Trialing

6. What part of bike racing do you absolutely loathe? Road rash is a major bummer.

7. Tell me a little about your bikes and gear. What are they, what cool little gizmos do you use to train, what is your favorite piece of equiptment? This year, I used Orbea bikes.  Ordu TT bike, Opal road bike and Occam mtn bike.  For CX, I am using a Fuji Cross RC.  I use an SRM when training and that is amazingly helpful.  My favorite piece of equipement is my singlespeed CX bike.  I love it!

8. Do you have any superstitions about racing or any pre-race rituals? What are they and how did they start? No, I don’t have any spuerstitions.

9. If money was absolutely no object, what bike would you ride and how would it be painted? I’d have a Cervelo TT bike painted blue (that’s my favorite color).

10. If you could race with any pro, from any time in history who would it be?No idea.

11. You are granted a riding session with one current (international) pro team. This session includes as many hours of riding as you would like, lunch at any location you choose and the ability to ride any place in the world. How do you fulfill this dream? Please be specific with details about lunch conversations with riders and any pertinent gossip that is applicable. I’d ride with Team Luna to learn some mtn bike and CX skills/secrets.  Riding with the new team Radio Shack wouldn’t be bad either.  Learn from Lance…

12. Who would you absolutely love to beat by the end of this year, and why? Alison Dunlap.  She’s an amazing bike rider, and a true inspiration to the sport.  Plus, then I could talk smack to her.

Episode#4 – Eszter Horanyi

November 2, 2009

Eszter HoranyiEszter Horanyi,  what can I say……..THIS GIRL FEELS NO PAIN.  Any person that can win a 24 hour race is someone to reckoned with.  Not to mention, she won it all alone!  I was fortunate enough to meet Eszter a couple of weeks ago while on a shoot for an article posted on MTB Race News.  We spent the morning around Marshal Mesa, just south of Boulder.  The sun was coming up and it was just after our first snow storm, what an amazing time to be outside.  Eszter rode up to the shoot and had grand plans of going home right away to study or do some work or something crazy like that, but….after we were done, she decided to pedal off for a ride.  I don’t know too many people who compete in 24 hour races, let alone win 24 hour races, so it was quite a please to meet Eszter and chat with her about her training, riding and life.

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1.With what team do you ride? Waltworks/Fuentes Design
2. How long have you been racing? 6 years total, 3 on a mountain bike.
Through the CU Cycling Team, I raced road for two years then switched over to mountain bikes.
3. What is your all-time favorite race? Gunnison Growler…no, Crested Butte Classic…no, Breck 100. I don’t know, I like them all.
4. What is your strongest discipline? Unfortunately, it seems that I’m pretty good at 24-hour racing.
5. What part of bike racing do you absolutely loathe? The logistics. Getting myself properly dressed with a functional bike to the start line.
6.  Tell me about your bikes and gear. I ride a Waltworks steel 29er hardtail. The frame is made by a good friend in a Boulder garage and rides like a dream. American Classic helps me out with some of the lightest and strongest 29er wheels out there and Ergon hooked me up with some awesome grips, but everything else on there is pretty standard. Anytime I have anything fancy, I tend to break it.
7.  Do you have any superstitions about racing or any pre-race rituals? I have a pair of socks that I refuse to wear because I had a really bad race in them. Unfortunately, they’re really nice socks.
8.  If money was no object, what bike would you ride and how would it be painted? I’d pay Walt off to build me a Ti Waltworks hardtail. Then I’d pay him extra not to grumble about it.
9. I you could race with any pro, from any time in history, who would it be? I’m a total idol-worshiper bike racer. Alison Dunlap, Kelli Emmett, Katie Compton…oh wait, I could show up to any cross race in Colorado and get beat down by all of them.
11. You are granted  a riding session with one current pro team.  This session includes as many hours of riding as you like, lunch at any location and the ability to ride anwhere in the world.  How do you fulfill this wish? I’d take the Waltworks Dream Team down to central Colorado. I’d get Dave Wiens to come out and show us around Hartmans Rocks in Gunnison early in the morning, get a late breakfast/lunch in Crested Butte at Izzys and then go out and ride Crested Butte trails with the Crested Butte crew. Then I’d eat dinner at either the Brick Oven or Secret Stash…or both, I’d probably be pretty hungry by that time.

We’d make fun of Walt the whole time and then he’d kick me off the team.

I really can’t think of any one else who I’d rather hang out with than the people I already ride with, and the riding in Colorado is pretty darn good.

11.  Who would you absolutely love to beat by the end of this year, and why? I train a lot with a Brit and a West Virginian. Like most boys, they talk nonstop smack both in the email exchanges setting up a ride and during. I’d like to drop their sorry asses.

Episode #2 – Susannah Gordon

August 12, 2009

One of the first people I met in the cycling world of Colorado is still one of my favorites.  I bumped into (literally) Susannah Gordon 3 years ago at a coffee shop on Pennsylvania Street during the ColoBikeLaw beginning of the year mixer.  At that time she was just one of the ladies in the mix.  Now, fast-forward three years. She flat out rocks!  In any race she is one of the ladies pushing hard, blasting through corners and blowing up legs on any climb.  Let’s check in with the second rider of my cyclist blog adventures….Susannah Gordon.

  1. With what team do you ride? ColoBikeLaw.com
  2. How long have you been racing? 4 years
  3. How did you get started racing? I started with a church group just riding my bike, and found myself chasing people down on the road.  I would say, “I can catch that person!”.  The friends who got me started were all ex-pro’s and knew right away that I should start racing.  They encouraged me to find a team…
  4. What is your all-time favorite race? 2008 Tour of the Gila.  This was my first NRC level race and I placed 16th overall in the GC.  It was a thrill for me to ride at that level and finish amongst the strongest ladies in the nation.
  5. What is your strongest discipline? Climbing is my strongest suit, but I have really been working on my TT skills in the last year.
  6. What part of bike racing do you absolutely loathe? I absolutely hate someone who sits on a wheel and refuses to work in a race.  My theory is, get out and race your bike! I think you gain more respect from the peloton if your willing to work during a race and still have it in you to sprint for the finish.
  7. Tell me a little about your bikes and gear.  What are they, what cool little gizmos do you use to train, what is your favorite piece of equipment?  I was fortunate enough this year to have BMC sponsor me.  I ride the BMC Pro machine with SRAM red components for my road bike with a sweet set of 2009 Zipp 303’s for the road and Reynolds ROM’s for uphill finishes.  My TT bike is the BMC Time Machine with the 2009 SRAM red components.  I have often told people that if I don’t well at the races, it’s not because I didn’t have the right equipment!!  My SRM computer is probably my best friend and my worst enemy.  I live my daily life of training using that cycling computer and I am so thankful to have it, yet sometimes I want to throw it as far out of reach as I can get it!  Drives me crazy sometimes having all those numbers staring me down…especially when I’m having a bad workout.
  8. Do you have any superstitions about racing or any pre-race rituals? What are they and how did they start? No, no superstitions.  I just have always believed that my talent was God given and staying humble and focused on the task at hand is what helps me win races.  I always evaluate each race and the course and decided where it tactically suits me as a rider.  Knowing your competition is also really important to race tactics, who is good at what and understanding how they will race.
  9. If money was absolutely no object, what bike would you ride and how would it be painted? I love my road bike (however, I could go for the lime green, black and white colors!).  If I had my choice of TT bikes, I would own a Cervelo P-3.  Ultra sweet ride!
  10. If you could race with any pro, from any time in history who would it be? Funny that you ask that question, the last 2 years, we have had the privilege of riding with the best ladies in the world.  Jeannie Longo was living and racing in Colo. Until the 2008 Olympics, and used Colo. As her training ground.  At Mt. Evan’s last year, I stood on the podium with her (which was very surreal), I was thinking- “What I am doing up here with Jeannie Longo!”.  On the same note, this year at the 2009 Tour of the Gila, I rode along side of Kristin Armstrong and Alison Powers, our current Olympic and National TT champions.  I thought to myself “what I am doing here!”.  However, these ladies couldn’t be any more kind to the peloton…Great inspirations.
  11. You are granted a riding session with one current pro team.  This session includes as many hours of riding as you would like, lunch at any location you choose and the ability to ride any place in the world.  How do you fulfill this dream?  Please be specific with details about lunch conversations with riders and any pertinent gossip that is applicable.  Funny that you ask this question.  My coach just approached me the other day and asked about sending a few ladies over to Lucca, Italy next year with the Colavita Pro Team.  We would use it as a training camp and an opportunity to train and ride in Italy.  Spending a week with the Colavita team, riding daily and having great dinners and wine in Lucca is on my list of fun things to do next year!  I am hoping for long rides that involve lost of climbing and gorgeous views!  I would want to know all the low down of the domestic pro team riders, what their ambitions are and what they all have planned for next season.
  12. Who would you absolutely love to beat by the end of this year, and why?  I have been lucky enough this season to have had success in every avenue of racing.  I have won TT’s, Crits, Road Races and Hill climbs.  I guess my best answer would be that when a domestic pro lady shows up to our races, not to be intimidated, but know that I have the skills and training to beat them.  Have more confidence in my ability as a rider and know that I can be competitive even at the highest level!

Urban Runner

June 4, 2009

Two weeks ago, Dirk Ruge, Michael Mauro, Kari White and I took the morning to shoot some incredible images of an urban running scene.  We trained our lenses on an area that had great lines along with an unrivaled view of the city.  Both Mike and I were able to play with natural and artificial light to capture images that told our story.

Thankfully, Dirk Ruge came along to film and produce a great “behind the scenes” podcast of the entire morning.  In all we were able to create great images while Dirk captured some stunning footage.  Take a look at the images and click the link below to view the video.





Fishing In Fall

June 1, 2009

As the leaves turned to a golden hue, the stream was as clear as the Colorado sky and just about perfect for fly fishing.  I look forward to this season as it signals a slowing down of the life cycle, a resting time for all things.  It certainly is a time to reunite with friends and spend some quality time in the mountains.

A good friend of mine, Todd, was headed out to fish “a secret spot” up near….well I really can’t say.  But, it was in the mountains of Colorado.  He asked me to join him, and is there any better time to bring the camera?

I was bound and determined to use off camera flash, but without an assistant it was going to be a challenge.  The river would, most definitely, topple the strobe and we all know that is not a good thing.  So, I used the extension cable for the strobe and set my camera and flash to manual.  With the camera fastened around my neck, I held the body with my right hand and elevated the strobe with my left, giving me a similar feel to off camera lighting.  The shutter was set to sinc at 250 and I worked with the aperture to expose for the sky.  It took some futsing (technical term for messing around) with, to get the flash exposure just right; but after a couple of test shots I was ready to capture this beautiful day of fishing.

At The Hangar

May 30, 2009

This last week I had the opportunity to visit my buddy Steve at his office.  It just so happens that his office is an airplane hanger that houses two pretty awesome jets.  Steve was looking for a creative corporate portrait that he could use to document the last few years of work.  So, I met him for a 7am photo shoot.  The sun was just coming over the top of the building making for great morning light.  We shot for about an hour and a half and were able to get quite a few interesting images.  Once again I was working with off camera strobes that are controlled remotely from elinchrom slaves.  The light was powerful enough to balance out the sky so that we could get nice sun flare in a series of shots.  At the end of the shoot, Steve needed to start up the vintage fighter plane and I was able to get a couple shots of that also.  In all, it was a great morning, early shoot, a chance to hear the thunderous roar of a fighter jet  and time with a buddy