Watching My First Cyclocross Bike Race
This Will Not End Well (for him, that is. For me, it was great :-) ) -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 102mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
This Will Not End Well
(for him, that is. For me, it was great 🙂 )

Today was the last race of the local cyclocross-racing season, and I took the opportunity to see some friends race. Cyclocross bicycle racing is sort of like mini-obstacle-course bicycle racing, with a few laps on a relatively short course going over steep embankments, through mud and sand, over barriers, etc. It rained quit a bit a few days ago, so the course had plenty of photogenic mud.

I literally have not yet seen all the photos I took, but I wanted share a few so as to share the gist of the day.

There are races throughout the day for various categories, but I arrived before the first to check out the course. The cyclists were doing the same. I found one particularly-interesting area...

Mud Bath -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 125mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Mud Bath

The mud was deceptively deep, so if you didn't see someone in it as in the photo above, it was easy to misjudge your entry and find yourself involuntarily off the bike....

... And This is Just a Practice Lap -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 78mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
... And This is Just a Practice Lap

A cyclocross lap generally includes sections where you must get off the bike and carry it over obstacles, but also many sections like the Mud Bath above where you can try to ride or just push/carry the bike if you think it'll be faster. Most folks chose the latter.

This included American friend Andy Clark, who was near the front in the first race, the Men's C3 (Category 3) race....

Charging Toward the Mud Bath -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Charging Toward the Mud Bath

Andy started this season (his first) in Category 4, which is open to all who have a bike, the entry fee, and a free Sunday. But one gets elevated to Category 3 only by earning it, which he did quickly earlier in the season.

Andy's been on my blog numerous times since I started cycling, including here, here, and here.

In cyclocross it's very good to be in front of the pack, because otherwise you can get bogged down in a clump of competitors...

The Scrum Arrives -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 86mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
The Scrum Arrives
Glorious -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Glorious

After passing the Mud Bath, the course continued away, and after three 180° hairpins across various parts of an embankment, the course came back past me on the other side, up a different hill that was sufficiently-less muddy to entice more folks to try actually riding up it.

Andy Charges Ahead -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 16mm — 1/1600 sec, f/13, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Andy Charges Ahead
Not Always Smooth Sailing -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Always Smooth Sailing
Easier to Carry -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 155mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.2, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Easier to Carry
Forgot To Tie His Shoe? -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Forgot To Tie His Shoe?
Antti Rides the Mud Bath -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Antti Rides the Mud Bath

Finnish friend Antti was also in the C3 race. He got caught behind a big pileup near the start, so was trying to claw back time. He successfully rode through the Mud Bath.

You might recall Antti from this post about how well he took care of things when a friend crashed on a group ride. He was also with my on my first ride to the ocean, among many others, including my very first ride.

桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

The Mud Bath made for fun (for me), but it didn't usually give photos of people actually riding bicycles, and when I turned around to get folks coming back the other way, the background (the parking lot) was horrible. With the photo above, I tried to lessen the impact of the background with some creative processing.

Back to the mud-bath fun...

Bumper Cars -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 110mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Bumper Cars
True Grit -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 130mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
True Grit
Mud, Literally and Literately the character on the back of his jersey means “ mud ” -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mud, Literally and Literately
the character on the back of his jersey means mud

In their C3 race, which was three laps of the course, Andy ended up getting 8th out of 54. Antti got 11th. Very good.

German friend Christoph Millotat rode in the C4 race...

Christoph Traversing the Mud Bath -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 75mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Christoph Traversing the Mud Bath
桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 150mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Checking the Mud yup, still muddy -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Checking the Mud
yup, still muddy

The mud was very soupy in the morning, but as riders took its moisture away on them (and their clothes and bikes), the mud got a bit firmer as the day went. But it was still mud.

桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/1600 sec, f/10, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos

As I said, there are many categories, including various levels for women. The ladies got in the mud just like the guys...

In One Sense “ In the mud like the guys ” in one sense -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 125mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
In One Sense
In the mud like the guys in one sense
And In Another “ In the mud like the guys ” in another sense -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 82mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
And In Another
In the mud like the guys in another sense
Kids Too -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Kids Too

Because I was camped out at the Mud Bath, my photos haven't shown much else of the course, but here's one that gives more of an idea of some of the nastier parts...

Zig-Zaggy Up and Down -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Zig-Zaggy Up and Down

The guy in the center of that photo illustrates a great thing about amateur cyclocross racing...

Competitor -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Competitor

The easy categories are open to everyone and they're probably the safest kind of competitive cycling, as speeds are never very fast. One can spend a lot on a bike, but it's not required, so the real barrier to entry is mental. The guy above is obviously out of shape, but he's out there doing it, giving it a try, not giving up. He certainly got a better workout than I did just standing around all day.

And what happens when an out of shape guy like that intrudes on the world of the fit cyclist? He gets cheered on and encouraged...

Andy Cheers the Competitor On with words of encouragement and a noisy cowbell -- 桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Andy Cheers the Competitor On
with words of encouragement and a noisy cowbell
桂川緑地公園 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 140mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos

Continued here...


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Gotta give it to you, sir. These photos are great. I’ve given you shit polite criticism in the past about the interest factor in cycling but this last post has some great shots. Mudbath and This is just a practice lap: I love how the guy in pink in MB and both people in TIJAPL both have this happy “GTFOH!” expression as they get engulfed in the mud. Big technical points too for that mudspray capture around the front tire and front sprocket in MB.

Also, the photos of the women you chose. -You did a great job of showing them as tough, undaunted and yet such beauty, such grace.

Great color, clarity, and resolution on those brightly lit shots. Wonderfully candid in many shots and great story telling. How far off are we from seeing posts from you about the thrills of mountain biking in Kyoto? And perhaps another new biking toy?

I’m still enjoying my new bike… probably nothing much will change until the next cyclocross season starts next fall. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ron Evans on February 2nd, 2016 at 6:52am JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Great photos. A bit puzzling why everyone (except the kid) is doing it on road bikes, some with clip in pedals!? Seems like the worst possible tool for the job.

I doubt anyone is on a road bike… they’re almost all cyclocross bikes. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tiago on February 5th, 2016 at 1:26am JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink

amazing pictures. I adore this style!

— comment by elisabethrohm on February 11th, 2016 at 7:32pm JST (1 year, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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