Today I could not ignore the sheer beauty of the 4th installment of Offroad Ontario’s XC race at Albalea. To view or purchase event photos please click HERE and, if you are on FaceBook please feel free to visit my page at Cecile Gambin Photography for updates.
A little bit of mud was found among spectacular scenery. The raw beauty, lush vivid green plants, majestic trees, moss covered rocks and slabs of Canadian Shield that graciously lined this property reminded me of the infamous ‘North Shore’, BC and I was giddy at having this wonderful opportunity to photograph here. Everywhere it was eye candy – I didn’t know where to begin and realised that another trip here in the future is a must.
This race was both good and bad for racers and myself alike. Good news – if you raced and finished this puppy you’ll end up a stronger and better rider. Bad news – many riders succumbed to the physically punishing mud pits that grew in size as the races progressed. For me the good news was the action and the shooting in a photogs dreamscape. Bad news – I had a equipment malfunctions as my big flash did not want to talk to my small flash which resulted in several misfires and a few flashy pics in the morning class. I suspect there is more than just ‘anger’ issues with my equipment.
I also apologise in advance on the handful of photos I was able to take of the afternoon race as time slipped faster than expected…I got lost while taking a shortcut back to the start line which took me in the wrong direction resulting in much wasted time.
I was lucky enough to pre-ride most of the course as Andrew Ralph and his wife Kelly graciously lent me ‘Lucy’ – her KTM 105. I eagerly jumped on wearing my bicycle helmet and rubber boots as that was all I had with me. With flailing feet I came back grinning ear to ear with what has to be one of my most memorable rides in a long time. Despite the 105 bogging down a bit at lower revs, it was nimble, light, easy to handle and at the perfect height for me. On the pipe the bike sang. If I had a million dollars I would have a few bikes and this one would find a home in my stable quite easily.
Another huge shout out to all the volunteers, BMA, Woodys and OO for another successful race. Alabalea has the reputation of being the hardest race on the circuit and the 2013 edition did not disappoint. In fact, I think it will remain one of the hardest races for a long time as riders at all levels endured fatigue at all stages of the race. A big thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Seniors (grandma and grandpa), their son, and his son Andrew for graciously inviting us to race on their gorgeous property.
Finally, congratulations are extended to all racers for having endured this tough as nails race. Good luck to everyone tomorrow at Free Flow MX – I will not be there as I will be busy prepping for my sons birthday party later that day.
Offroad Ontario XC #3 is in the books as racers tackled the course looking to build points towards the 2013 provincial series. Event photos can be foundHERE.
The 16 km track led the riders through fast, open straights, flowing single track, pine trees, sticky mud and the motocross track. Because of the course length the morning class completed an average of 4 laps while the pros on a slightly altered course logged in 6 laps. This made for a very scheduled and organised photo session as I knew I was not going to see the riders often. So, to maximise time and run an efficient shoot I decided to stay of the trails and take advantage of the track. Not only was it a treat to work the track but it was real nice not getting attacked by trail side mosquitos and poison ivy which I know runs rampant at RJ’s.!
Once again, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and if you are purchasing, or thinking of purchasing photos, please know that before I approve any photo I make sure its ready to go by making final adjustments to crops, colours etc. In particular, for the PM riders please note that the photos taken on the downhill side of the table top can be cropped either vertical or horizontal. I cropped them horizontal as I liked the look but they can be reverted back to normal.
On a different note, I really appreciate those people who take the time to acquire a photo through the proper channels. Just saying that when I upload photos for my photo reports it does not give you the right to lift them. I wouldn’t dream of helping myself to your stuff that’s left out in the open. Thanks for your understanding.
Thanks to the OCMC and the OO crews for another fine event!! Already looking forward to next weeks double header. BTW, don’t forget to follow me on my Facebook page under Cecile Gambin Photography for current updates.
As always, I thank you very much for stopping by my blog and hopefully reading it, saying hello on the trails and for your support. Your purchase allows me to service my photography equipment – nothing is impervious to dust and rain – as well as to help me get to the next race. I take my photography very seriously and I strive to capture the essence of riding and racing while showcasing our beautiful province. Photography to me is an art form and riding is just plain fun!
As always, kudos to all the OO, NTR and countless other volunteers for having made this race a reality. Rider feedback was very positive with quite a few saying this was their favourite race venue!
Offroad racing in an urban city just became reality. On August 26, 2012 Motomotions inaugural XC event took place at Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort, in Kitchener, Ontario. Fielding Offroad Ontario’s largest race turnout the event (over 200) was both challenging yet fun for racers and spectators alike.
Under another blazing hot sunny day, the newly layed out course held up well under dry, dusty conditions. With lots of switchbacks, off camber climbs, near vertical ups and downs – the course can be crowned as one of the most difficult on the Offroad Ontario XC circuit. Not impossible…but challenging. And in my opinion…challenge is good. I don’t know about you but that’s how I learn and how I get better. There were a few bottle necks in the morning races but don’t forget…this is a brand new course. Hiccups are bound to happen and I am sure these will be dealt with appropriately next year.
I had a blast taking pictures for this event. Taking photos in a new facility always amps up my creative juices. The most difficult part of the day (besides becoming ‘crispy’ from too much sun) was the dust. Like most of the race season this summer the dust has been relentless. I decided to stay with one lens as I did not want to change it out in the open. I just spent good money cleaning my sensor and, quite frankly, I cannot afford to part with my camera for a few days while it sits on some white lab table at Nikon HQ.
Not only was this a spectacular event Chicopee had a their restaurant/bar open and lots of beers were sold during and after the races for spectators and racers alike. Entrance money from over 400+ people was also collected in support of the Rick Hanson Foundation. Killer award plaques – sporting a huge 10×15″ size – found their way into the hands of podium recipients. Pro autograph session, free posters, vendors, exhibitors and tons of activities for the entire family. Need I say more?
Sizzle! Hot off the press – Ron Golden of Motomotion, in collaboration with KTM Canada, have chosen my photo of XC number one plate holder Josh Long as a background picture to this uber cool award plaque. This is one sweet looking award which if I were racing I know I would work extra hard to be able to land one and proudly hang on my wall. Congrats to Motomotion and their graphic artist for the creation of the award and poster. Job well done!
A few weeks ago after the Burnt River XC race KTM and APEX backed rider Josh and myself headed out for a photoshoot session. Riding with blistered hands and broken toes Josh was a complete pro and was super easy to work with. Josh busted out some sick riding moves, and even caught me off guard a few times as he litterally flew over my head. Knowing ahead of time what the photos were going to be used for helped me in directing Josh. Forty-five minutes later, the photoshoot was a wrap and Josh hurried back to the awards ceremony for his podium finish. Not bad day for a guy riding with a few broken toes.
It was a treat to shoot a gifted rider and a bigger treat for me to see my work on this 12×15″ award plaque and promotional poster approved by KTM Canada. Shooting one on one really taps into one’s creativity and I relished at this opportunity. At the end, I was very happy with the shoot and showed my potential photos with confidence.
Mark Sunday, August 26th down on your calendars for a XC race that you won’t want to miss. Bring your family and kids as there will be a host of activities for every age group – think bouncy castles for the wee ones, peewee races and more. My husband will be bringing our two young children and I am excited to show them how family orientated the wonderful world of offroad racing is. Plus, a portion of proceeds will be donated to the Rick Hanson Foundation – another uber cool detail about this event.
I look forward to being the Chicopee official photographer. A huge title and I am honoured to be able to wear it. See you in a few weeks at the races and don’t forget to smile and style it for the camera! Thanks to Ron Golden and his hard working crew for putting this entire event and idea together.
Ok…so I’ve had a few issues with my tags not working. I’m hoping everything is fixed now and that my blogs and pictures are easier to find in the land of the triple W. If you’ve missed the news on the following off-road events or want to check out some pics please see the following and click where it says tells you to:
– To see photo report and get link to Offroad Ontario Burnt River XC 2012 click HERE.
– To see photo report and get link to Honda Canada ‘Rock the Red’ MotoGymKhana 2012 click HERE.
– To see photo report and get link to Algonquin 2 Day Ride2012 click HERE.
– To see photo report and get link to Offroad Ontario RJ’s XC 2012 click HERE.
– To see photo report and get link to SCORRA Ladies Training Day 2012 click HERE.
– To see photo report and get link to CMX & VMX Grand Bend MX 2012 click HERE.
With respect to the Burnt River XC race this past Sunday a few adjectives come to mind to describe Offroad Ontario’s seventh stop: fast, slow, technical, abusive, relentless, tiring, bumpy and rocky.
Riders were treated once again to a very sunny, hot and humid day making the almost 15 km loop exhausting. Add in copius amounts of baby heads and many finished the race with blistered hands and battered bodies.
Thanks to Offroad Ontario and the gang at the Burnt River Offroad Facility for a great event and of course, kudos to all the competitors and their families getting all crispy under the scorching sun, cheering for the riders.
Click HERE to see pictures of both the AM and PM races. Side note: I have not posted all pictures of the PM riders. Please email me with your plate number and I’ll upload the picture for you. Thanks for your understanding and patience.
Offroad Ontario’s cross-country #3 is officially in the bag and it will be remembered either as a nightmare or a dream. For myself and for a select few others it was a dream. But for many, the mud proved relentless and challenging and even created a ‘horror’ show for a few.
The morning began with the mini-class winding their way through trails, MX track and wide open roads with spectacular traction. After the start of the race, I immediately hit the first set of pine trees which eventually lead the riders into RJ’s intricate network of trails. I knew the riders went through this area as I remember that from having raced several times here a few years ago. Where ever I looked I found beauty created by the early morning rain as leaves, needles and forest floor glowed with saturated greens and browns.
No sooner had the mini race finished the morning class took the reigns as two-strokes buzzed and four-strokes thumped their way through the loop. Instead of walking back to the start I decided to continue my trek along the race course and settled upon a beautiful open grassy area. The riders would be tackling a steep, short uphill, bursting onto a field of green, and descend just as quickly and back into the darkness of the trail as they had come up.
Partway through the race the skies opened and rained. First a drizzle and finally a steady downpour leaving heavy droplets. As Ted Dirstein, Masters class, aptly put it ‘I wasn’t sure if someone had thrown some WD-40 on the course it was so slick’. Lucky for me, I was somewhat sheltered underneath a canopy of trees but decided to leave my flash in my camera bag. I knew my D3S would handle some rain but still I covered it under my rain jacket…just in case. My husband would really not be impressed with me ruining yet another camera (Nikon D80, D90 – poor souls they had no chance).
By the end of the morning the rain had stopped and replaced with thick gooey mud. And then, just like that the sun came out just in time for the afternoon race. The mud became tacky and did not shed from the tires easily. A deep groove had already been created in a marshy area of the course by the morning class. This is where I decided to set up for the afternoon race. I certainly did not want to miss any entertainment and action that would be provided in the first two laps of the race.
Some tackled the area with ease…ok…only Josh Long did while the others hit the tree before the mud and paddled their way through the deep rut. Some fell, some got stuck and others swerved left and right in a controlled fashion.
As always it was a pleasure being back at the races and meeting people I had not seen in a while. Thank you to the numerous volunteers, OCMC, RJ’s and Ontario Offroad for a great race. Too see more pictures of all classes please click here.
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