Shooting bicycle racing––or any moving subject––isn’t always easy, but if you are also in motion at the time it becomes a throw of the dice as to whether there will be any results from the flurry of shutter activity. Throw in a dirty windscreen and 15 or more cars between you and the action and you’ve probably got more chance of winning Lotto than bagging more than some colourful dots in the distance.
On Stage 4 of the recent New Zealand Cycle Classic the race wound its way up the famed climb of Admiral Hill. After a testing day for the riders and a fair bit of action in the team car I knew there wouldn’t be a better opportunity to get in amongst the disintegrating peloton than this. Feeding the riders was no longer a priority as our team was strung out all over the Wairarapa, with only one of our boys near the front as the terrain kept its relentless ascent to the finish. Near the foot of the climb the road does a few twists and turns back on itself, so I started firing off shots as we got closer to the action.
As the bikes on top of the team cars peeked above the grass above the fenceline a lone rider just happened to look back down the hill at precisely the right moment, framed nicely by the Cabbage trees by the roadside. It was a completely serendipitous moment that became my favourite shot from the entire week, and like racing itself sometimes it all comes down to luck rather than planning.