Like getting punched in the face with a fist made out of a camera

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Notes from Louisville

Like many others, I made my way to Louisville Kentucky this past weekend in order to take in the Cyclocross World Championships. I'll let others who know far more about the discipline weigh in on the actual race, so I'll mostly limit my comments to one simple occurrence: the reception that Pat McQuaid received during the podium ceremony.

The response was visceral, and the video of it doesn't begin to do the booing it justice. Interestingly, I was standing by the podium as this happened, and can tell you that as far as I could tell, the booing was coming as much from the audience, as it was from credentialed members of the press, TV crews and photographers.

Pro tips

As someone who now has one whole world championship under his belt, I believe it's fair to say I'm an absolute expert on the subject, particularly when it comes to photographing such a race. So before any of you start asking me obvious questions on the matter, let me give you the answers to the very questions you are more than likely wondering about.

1. Yes, it's absolutely possible to get very close to the riders as they race.

2. Yes, it's absolutely possible to stand at the apex of a turn that the riders will be taking at speed.

3. Yes, it's absolutely easy to misjudge how close to the riders you are.

4. Yes, it's absolutely possible to commit the ultimate rookie mistake, and have a rider's helmet hit your camera lens head on, thus smashing said camera into your general face/nose area.

5. Yes, when that happens, it hurts. A lot, and you'll feel like an idiot, and you'll have to pretend that you're not about to pass out from the pain so that people around you don't laugh too much at your stupidity.

I honestly thought I'd learned my lesson at Paris Roubaix, when I determined that whatever you think is a prudent distance in a cobbled section, should at least be doubled in order to keep both the riders and yourself safe. In cyclocross, it turns out, maybe tripling that distance is a good start. When they're standing still, however, it's far easier and safer to get close to them.

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

King of that mountain

With that out of the way, allow me to turn my attention to road cycling once again. 

I don't use Strava, and thus know little about it...but I'm well aware of the fact that bragging rights are part of what makes the service appealing to some. With that in mind, consider the fact that Nate King now holds the record for Colombia's feared monster, Letras...the world's longest climb. At 52 miles long, it only took him 4 hours and 27 minutes of climbing. Bien hecho Nate!