I Suck at Trials (me not them)

Fifty-one thousand, two hundred!!


No, no…not him. It’s me just nerding out on some photo talk. Anytime I can mix in 2 wheels with photography I’m in heaven. I loved getting back behind the lens and in front of the action. Even in the rain, as it did this past weekend during a very important event that saw the best North American riders travel compete for an FIM Trials competition, and the CMA National Championships in Ioco, BC. Having the opportunity to watch the number 1 plate, Pat Smage from the USA, and our very own homegrown riders was indeed a treat and a very real reminder that I suck on the trials bike.

I made a conscious decision to not take photos close to the start line so I could be away from the masses. Instead I hiked deep into the woods to find the magic, the eye-candy – the lush, green, mossy rocks and massive tree-trunks – that BC rain forests are known for. I was rewarded with sublime colours, unequivocal quietness and unreal action as riders either scampered easily over boulders or, sampled dirt. The light was even but very sombre. I didn’t want to use flash so I could move easily in and out of sections and, relied instead on my D5. It’s a powerful camera and much like a rider with his motorcycle you have to know your equipment and, what it can and can’t do. Today I pushed it shooting in constant hard rain, and with high ISO’s.

The riders completed three loops and as fatigue set in the course became slicker as rain fell harder. Real giant bunny rabbits. That’s what trials riders remind me of hopping from one area to another. And, then there are splatters. Rabbits don’t do these (well, not on purpose) and it baffles my mind how suspension and gonads can work together to climb a vertical wall. Way cool.

Thanks to Christie Williams Richards, Steve Farcy and a host of other fine people from the CPTA for making this event happen. It takes a lot of planning, and time to put together a successful two day event. Getting off a mostly dry season I believe many riders were humbled at the sight of greasy rocks and roots. Made for an excellent challenge and show.

The photo of Wojo falling was taken at 51, 200 ISO. I know my equipment and I didn’t hesitate shooting at an ISO this high.



Beta Day Revelstoke

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Beta Motorcycles Canada has been calling BC and Alberta home for the past few weeks as Canadian distributor Stephen Howland took the 2017 line-up for demo days across select riding areas. First stop was in beautiful Revelstoke, BC. Travelling across the country the bikes needed to be prepped and ready to hit singletrack that you and I would ride in a heartbeat.

Speaking to media and other VIP Stephen Howland gives the low-down on the 2017 line-up.
Speaking to media and other VIP Stephen Howland gives the low-down on the 2017 line-up.
Early morning and working hard prepping bikes for some serious use.
Early morning and working hard prepping bikes for some serious use.
Beta Canada travelling in style across the country.
Beta Canada travelling in style across the country.
The Canadian Beta Factory Team - Foord, Marin, Howland, King
The Canadian Beta Factory Team – Foord, Marin, Howland, King
Revelstoke knows how to eat. The BEST mobile burritos ever. Yum.
This food truck may not look pretty but The Taco Club, hands-down, have the BEST mobile burritos ever. Yum.
The RR390 a favourite among the riders - fast, sleek, responsive.
The RR390 a favourite among the riders – fast, sleek, responsive.
Beta controls are intuitive and easy to use and read.
Beta controls are intuitive and easy to use and read.
My steed for the weekend helping me get around the trails with a 40lb backpack of camera gear. With a light front end it, and smooth power delivery it was easy to put the front wheel where I wanted it...and that was usually up and over the mega roots and rocks.
My steed for the weekend helping me get around the trails with a 40lb backpack full of camera gear. With a light front end and smooth power delivery it was easy to put the front wheel where I wanted it…and that was usually up and over the mega roots and rocks.
Bob Clarke of Mountain Motorcycles having fun riding high and styling it with his open face trials helmet.
Bob Clarke of Mountain Motorcycles having fun riding high and styling it with his open face trials helmet.
Steve Foord finishing off a stellar 2016 race year abroad a Beta.
Steve Foord finishing off a stellar 2016 race year abroad a Beta.
The Revy Riders Dirt Bike Club created trails abundant in views, rock, trees, and roots. Awesome-sauce.
Negotiating a steep, punchy loosey-goosey downhill with ease. The Revy Riders Dirt Bike Club created trails abundant in views, rock, trees, and roots. Awesome-sauce.

A huge shout-out to Stephen Howland for the day, the bikes, and the food. There’s a reason Beta bikes are sitting on the top step of the podium around the world. If you get a chance test ride one and you won’t be disappointed. Check with Beta Canada for the nearest demo day near you.


Cecile Gambin Photography ready for the 2013 Ontario Off-Road Season

Offroad Ontario Algonquin Trail Ride
Taking five at the Algonquin 2 day ride
Homage to Ice 2012
Whether at the races for fun or for competition it’s always great to be riding with buddies.

The 2013 Ontario Off-road riding season is soon upon us and personally I cannot wait! An opportunity to share good times with friends, ride a new trail and become one with the bike. I am also looking forward to riding the trails with my camera gear in tow searching for those perfect action shots. I have many plans this summer and,  hopefully, some good news to share in a few weeks. In the meantime, Cecile Gambin Photography will be out in full force this season at most of the off road and cycling events throughout our great province. So, don’t forget to ham it up when you see my lens and say ‘hello’!

Codrington Photo Report

For quick access to the Codrington photo gallery please click here. Please note that I have at least 2-3 pictures of each rider so scroll down or give me a shout and I’ll help you out.

Just north of the 401 at exit 509 lies a small community called Codrington.  I had never been there before and all I knew was that it was close to the Northumberland Forest. ‘Fair enough’ I thought to myself, ‘there’s has got to be some excellent riding with some fun hills thrown in.’ I arrived at the farm around 7:30 just in time to get the last bit of sweet sunlight. I had planned on being there earlier but the Tim Hortons at Port Hope took over 15 minutes to prep my toasted sesame seed bagel with regular cream cheese.

I grabbed my camera and began recording the last Off Road Ontario XC race of the year. It was a beautiful morning and the sun was fighting hard to burn off the mist left over from the cool night. It was strangely quiet as campers lay dormant and only a handful of people were busying themselves with morning chores. At the base of the campsite stood a drumlin majestic in its own solitaire way – uniquely Canadian and typical of this area. I was captivated by the beauty of the farm and its surrounding fields decorated in fading yellows, delicate whites, and crimson flowers. A wonderful course layed out by the TNT crew and a perfect place to end the XC season.

I would also like to take this time and say thank you to the riders for allowing me to take your pictures and to the race organisers and volunteers for pointing me in the right direction. Photography for me is an art and I love spending my time in the woods looking for that perfect shot. Thank you also to my supporters – your comments and enthusiasm towards my work does not go unnoticed and it is a strong driving force – one that I often reflect upon when sitting in the woods getting regularly eaten by black flies, deer flies and mosquitoes. And than there’s the poison ivy…but that’s another story. See you all at the enduros or on the local trails and don’t forget to style it when you see my camera.


Off Road Ontario’s KTM 2012 XC series was sizzling hot. Great races, great people and tons of fun.
Run-bikes eagerly waiting for their owners to take them out for an early morning spin.
Races aren’t always hectic and noisy. In this picture mom spends some quiet time with her son.
TNT and OO member Bill Watson explaining the arrows.
And the races have started with the pee wee and junior riders going first.
Minimalism. You either like it or you don’t. I enjoyed the simplicity of the fields showing their late summer colours and textures.
When I walked through these fields I was dwarfed by the flora. From a distance I could only see the young racers helmets as they flew through the tall grass.
The morning racers are off and battling for ‘holeshot’ bragging rights.
Number 1 plate holder for the 2013 season Ted Dirstein showing us how it’s done on ‘Hones Hump’.
The course was described as fair but tough just like ‘Judge Judy’. This rider got rocked in a greasy technical section of the course.
Riding tip: quite often the best line if the one closest to the tree and off to the outside of the trail. Choosing the correct line is essential to keeping smooth and conserving precious energy.

Third place finisher Mike Vanden Hoeven pilots his Suzuki around the deep ruts and slippery rocks.
Bill Watson sharing with us the reason he spends time organising events – because riding is a lifestyle and it’s something he loves to do! A HUGE thank you to all race organisers, OO crew and the many volunteers for making the 2012 season a success.
Flying high with Machine Racing Yamaha rider Zach Lewis who had a horrible start and worked his way into 2nd place.
Yamaha rider Wojo taking the win and with it the number 1 plate for the 2013 season. Congrats!
Number one plate holders for the upcoming 2013 season. Kudos to all racers and to countless volunteers that make racing possible.







MotoGymKhana debuts in Canada

On July 15, 2012 Honda Canada kicked off an exciting new motorcycle venue jumping on board what the Europeans and Japanese have already figured out – that MotoGymKhana is both a fun and competitive skill based event. Welcome MGK to Canada. Let’s ‘Rock the Red’.

For the uninitiated MGK is described by Wikipedia as an event consisting of speed pattern racing where the rider follows a new course ‘layout’, reacting by driving the bike into turns, braking, and accelerating in a closed loop. The goal is simply to complete the course in the fastest time with the fewest errors.

Driving the bike hard into the next turn and looking well ahead to the next pylon.

Honda Canada recognised the skill needed to pilot a motorcycle through an MGK layout. Together with Honda’s ‘Rock the Red’ program and spiffy new CBR 250R’s and 125R’s, head Instructor Yoshi Nakatani and partner Vicki Gray began teaching eager students how to successfully compete in today’s event by giving them the necessary skills and practice time before the competition.

The instructors are passionate about motorcycling and between them have quite an impressive CV. Yoshi is recognised by JAGE (Japan Moto-Gymkhana Association) and has the distinct honour to introduce this sport to Canada and the USA while Vicki has ripped it up on the road racing scene having competed at the World Cup level. She is also the person behind one of the most complete international motorycle online magazines for the ladies ‘Motoress‘. Pretty cool, huh?

Keep your ears and eyes open as MGK is just debuting and I am certain more training and competitive events will follow. For more information regarding MGK please visit my previous blog titled MGK on a CBF1000: http://www.cecilegambin.com/wp/page/3/.

Learning to manoeuver the bike using short radius turns at slow speeds. Balance, skill and a good dose of confidence is key in staying upright – all made easy through the expert advice of former World Cup road racer Vicki Gray.
Head instructor Yoshi Nakatani following a student rider while working on short bursts of speed followed by tight turns.
Spills happen occasionally but at least they’re at slow speeds.
Waiting for Godot and taking a break from the weekends relentless 30C heat and humid weather.
Yoshi…hamming it up with the Honda Ladies.
After 3 weeks without rain Mother Nature decided it was time to let loose. The trainees walk the course with Yoshi and Vicki. Riders only get to see the layout once before the competition begins. The hard part is not the bike but remembering where to go.
Hard rain couldn’t keep spectators and competitors away from the main event.
The start gate. The electronic time keeping system had to be shut down due to thunder and lightening. No worries though as umbrella girls became flag droppers and Honda personel became timekeepers with their BlackBerry’s. Let the games begin.
Matt McBride entertaining the crowds and showing them how it’s done.


Allison Grummet throwing down the hammer (on wet roads none the less) and ripping up the track!
This photo was taken from Honda Canada’s associate event in May. I like the colours and the strong leading lines in the picture. The flag is raised because the rider is receiving a time penalty for dabbing his foot while negiotiating ‘The Keyhole’ section of the course.


SCORRA Ladies Training Day 2012

On the learning flats, taking a short break and watching dark skies ahead.

Judging from the amount of comments received and smiles seen I would say that the 2012 Ladies Training Day was a success. This marks my third year, along with Allision Grummet, Jaime Kowitz, and Tammie Wilson as instructors teaching an all-women offroad clinic. Also joining us was Megan Grummet – Allisons younger sister. The clinic was held on private property north west of Barrie and although the skies threatened to open up and rear its ugly head it never did.

At the sound of the car horn the riders meeting began (more or less) at 9:30 am. Greeting the instructors were about 30 women ready to learn and ride which frankly amazed us because of the torrential downpour the day before and the bleak cool overcast day ahead of us. I told them the rain was a blessing in disguise because the ability to control the bike in slippery conditionis would become of paramount importance. Plus, the soft ground would be quite ideal should an occasional, or accidental, dismount occur. This, essentially, would be a perfect day for learning. Todd had been working hard all week shaping the long grass into figure 8’s, and several long open straight-aways for us to practice on. He even created a large area and combed the grass for hidden rocks. Clearly, this is a man wanting more women on bikes. Super cool! So, we were not going to disappoint him by not wanting to ride and get dirty.

Taking into consideration the wet trails I readjusted the days lesson plans to include lots of braking and throttle work. Back to the basics – fundamentals skills – without them we do not advance, nor look very graceful. Allison and Megan took the beginner group while Jamie, Tammie and myself tackled the intermediate and advance class. We divided the ladies into three groups of 4-5 people, taught the skills and practiced each drill for about 20 or so minutes. After which, the groups rotated in a clockwise direction thus allowing each group to have a different instructor teaching a different skill. Morning skills for all groups consisted of braking, clutch, body position, throttle control, and gearing with each skill becoming progressively harder as the experience of the rider necessitated.

Lunch was cooked by SCORRA members Don Moore and his assistant chef, and consisted of hamburgers, sausages, fresh condiments, watermelon, fruit and cookies (I know Vanessa liked the cookies because her and I were scarfing them down at the end of the day). We also had a few draw prizes after lunch. As previously posted a few ‘blogs’ back I had created an ‘Ontario Women’ series of posters that would allow me to donate profits to help increase the number of women offroad riders. The sales from the Jamie and Melanie posters permitted me to buy a gift certificate from Mission Cycle and congratulations are extended to Kim Carrigan – the recipient of the gift certificate.

After lunch, we gave the ladies a choice of either heading out to a guided trail ride, stopping along the way for instruction as needed. Or, to stay behind and learn more advanced skills and continue to practice. To my amazement again more women stayed behind and were keen on learning advanced skills such as wheelies, stoppies, and jumping.

The day ended around 4pm. Lots were tired but still had the energy for plenty of smiles. Which made us, the instructors, and Jen very happy. By the way best line of the day…I asked Todd if he had ever had this many women riding his MX track and he said ‘no’ with a smile. I am pretty sure I can safely say that the guys love seeing women ride!!

Thanks to Jen Cole for organising this wonderful event, the crew at SCORRA (Brad Obee, Don Moore, Chris Zanelli and many others), Todd and Angela, Mission Cycle and the instructors. It was a beautiful day, spent on an amazing piece of property with a ‘badass’ vista of Barrie’s escarpment, and the sweet sound of buzzing bikes and laughing people.

To see the entire album of photos please visit my gallery at: http://order.cecilegambin.com/riders. It was great meeting everyone and hopefully we will see you on the trails or at next years clinic.

Playing tag while working on balance and clutch skills.
On the figure 8 track and learning quickly.Down the straights learning how to go over logs. This straight was instrumental teaching the ladies how to wheelie and getting the front tire over larger obstacles.
Thanks to Don and Master BBQ Chef for the excellent lunch.

Chillaxin' over the lunch break.

Angela and friend looking on. Nice helmets 🙂
Our youngest and super duper rider, Vanessa, showing us how it is done on the downhills.
By the end of the day my group did not want to learn how to do stoppies they just wanted to hit the MX track. Super cool!

Toronto Supercross 2012

Villopoto on his way to another main event win.


This past weekend I was invited to the only International stop of the AMA Supercross series at the Rogers Centre, Toronto. The kicker…the action was so close to me I could feel the vibrations from those highly tuned thumpers.

Apart from enjoying Supercross and drooling over these high-end bikes I marevelled at the mad-skills the riders possessed. If you look smooth you are fast. I remember that from my competitive downhill mountain biking days and these guys looked super smooth as they blipped their throttle to clear an insanely high storey jump.

Kyle Regal getting stuffed into the pads by Nico Izzi


My man, Chad Reed was out with injuries previously sustained but my other man – the ‘experienced’ (in other words ‘wise’) Kevin Windham was right on target and podiumed at the main event.  The Toronto race fielded a smaller than usual top contenders as Stweart and Dungey were also out with injuries. But, the action was far from short. Supercross kinda reminds me of indoor soccer where the action is fast and furious as compared to playing outdoors on a bigger surface.

Weimer looking smooth.

The best part of watching supercross live vs TV is the atmosphere. Love the sound of the bikes, the energy of the crowds, the opening show and being litterally able to feel and smell the pyro show.  And, of course, watching Nash the Slash perform our national anthem ‘O Canada’. Epic.

In fact not only was the entire evening epic I was very happy with my pictures. I have spent the last year honing my skills and taking pictures of enduro races and trail events and, in my opinion, they have prepared me well. That is, in enduros – it’s one shot baby. Blow it and you’ll never see that rider again unless you can get to the finish line before they do.

We’ll see you all on the trails. Just got word today that the Ganaraska is officially opened two weeks early on April 14. Picking up my KTM 200 this weekend and see you out on the trails and don’t forget to pull a wheelie for me.




Riding Muskoka

Last weekend in October my husband and I had a chance to ride a very exclusive, invitation only, trail in the Muskokas. I cannot reveal it’s location as it’s private property but I will publicly send a huge thank you to the owner, Dave, for inviting us and creating 500 acres of awesomeness.

We may not have mountains in Ontario but we do have steep short hills, mixed hardwood forest and lots of Canadian Shield. Take the picture above, that’s Randy Evans a former pro-motocrosser, riding up a rather steep rock face on the aptly named trail ‘Hells Kitchen’. Ripping it in style Evans grabbed air, touched down, grabbed some more air before taking off.

I was both excited and nervous as I hadn’t ridden a technical trail in over five years. I left my camera behind and told myself my priority is to have fun and ride. And, maybe if I had the time at the end of the day I would grab my camera gear and get some shots.

Of course, as I was riding I fell in love with the terrain both as a photographer and as a rider. The 25 km loop began with single track snaking it way around hardwood trees, up and over short steep power climbs, creek crossings, and fast straight-aways. The terrain an endless variety of topsoil: loamy, hardpacked, softpacked, rock, sand and mud. Dave’s trails had it all. A 25 km loop of fun, fast flowing and technical sections to test even the most established rider.

It took us well over an hour to complete one lap. We stopped at the lookout point perched high up on a hill. To one side a deep lush canopy of green moss covered the trail and on the other a dangerous steep drop-off. It was indeed a beautiful view and I must admit in wanting to stay in one of Dave’s two small cabins on a warm summer night quietly sitting enjoying a birds-eye view of the lake and the surrounding hilly landscape.

I have painted a pretty picture of Dave’s land and it came as a surprise to find how difficult some (ok…many) sections were to ride. Previous rainfall had made many of the hills almost unrideable. They weren’t exceptionally difficult hills but the soft, greasy dirt quickly gummed up the treads creating an ice-rink of dirt, if that makes any sense. Thank you to Jeff, Jim, Dave and a few others for helping me (2x) up and out of those uphills.

Around every corner roots grabbed the front and rear tires and joked around throwing the bike side to side. Endless babyheads hidden deep beneath a layer of wet yellow leaves threatened to take you down. It was a constant battle of balance, clutch and throttle work to stay upright and maintain any type of speed and grace. More than once my feet flew off the pegs, arms and back bent in opposite directions desperately fighting the weight of the bike, and the trail pulling and pushing. It was hard work. And I admit to feeling out of shape.

My day ended up shorter than planned thanks to a broken kick starter (I must have strong legs). I was fortunate enough not to be deep in the woods and close to a hill on open land. But before bum starting the bike I managed to squeeze off a few ‘motoscape’ pictures that I am really happy with. Here’s one of my friend and fellow ‘Dirty Onion’ Shawn Richardson pulling a wheelie comfortably in style. Easily my favourite image of the day is the one of my husband riding towards me with a textured and layered backdrop of naked birch trees. This is one cool shot when viewed on a large HD screen.

After the quick photo session, Shawn, my husband and myself headed back to the car. Most riders were already back and indulging in freshly barbecued sausages, home made chili, baked beans and little chocolate and coconut dessert squares reminiscing about the day, and how hard the trail had become compared to previous trail rides. At the point, I looked at the owner Dave and coyly asked if we could be re-invited as I had an absolute blast and would love another opportunity to rip around the trail but in a faster fashion and with more style (a drier trail would help with that). Plus, I saw so many other photo ops. I really do need to come back.

Thanks to Dave for the invitation and for building and maintaining such a variety of trails. Thank you also to Ted D. for organising an amazing ride. What better way to spend a Sunday than with friends I haven’t seen in a while and new like minded riders enjoying a pristine trail on a cool late October day.




Terra Nova Enduro 2011

The final round of the Enduro series was held in the beautiful Halton region with cool temperatures, sunny skies and a hint of rain. Well…maybe not a hint but more like a short downpour. Kudos again to all the participants and to all the volunteers (HORRA) who have put on another successful enduro.

I had my work cut out for me today and definetily made the right choice of using my car instead of my KTM to get around to the different areas. I needed my full gear (2 tripods, flashes, lenses etc.) as the light went from sunny to cloudy and back to sunny to full on rain.

This poor fellow decided to take a drink but lukily saved his bike and he was able to lift it back upright and continue along merrily…although a wee bit wet and cold now.

My left foot took a similiar drink as water came over the top of my boot while I was setting up my tripods in the river. I had wanted to bring them a bit closer to the riders but the current was fairly strong in the middle (and deep). Plus I really didn’t want anybody knocking them over. SB-800’s do not like water. No spark plugs to change here … just a lot of electronics. So I had to do with the ambient light and whatever light I could get from my flashes.

This was definetly my hardest shoot to date. Trying to rig up the flashes to not bounce off the water, keeping them from a safe distance, putting plastic bags over them to keep them dry, and forever changing their output levels (light kept shifting constantly) made for a very busy and hectic afternoon. I learned a lot from this experience. Not only did I learn from a technical viewpoint but I also learned to ALWAYS carry a spare set of socks! Luckily my Bogs kept me feet warm.

Throughout the year I have been taking pictures of both mountain biking and off-road riding enduro events and have loved every minute of it. I have enjoyed the hikes, scouting for locations (unfortunately, usually last minute), seeing racers in action and trying my best to create an artistically appealing picture that make the riders look good. The best part though was the socialising. I love to talk and meet people!

Reflecting on the year though I have to be honest and say that taking pictures of an event that uses a 100+km route is not easy. Trying to scout for locations, finding them, hiking in, setting up the equipment (flashes, tripods, wireless triggers), driving to the next spot while tyring to nail a few good shots and showcase as many riders as possible is not an easy feat. A lot of time (and gas) is spent trying to find those special areas. I usually try and get to 2-3 different spots and try to get as many people as possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible and to those ‘unsung’ heros that did not find a picture of themselves I apologise. I try my best to get everyone.

Shooting in a closed circuit is much easier and perhaps I’ll dabble into that next year at Hare Scrambles. But, I would also love to race a few of them again. Now if only I could get a job that would allow me time to race and take pictures…now that would be ideal.

 See you at the races next year. And remember all my pictures are for sale. Check out my Flickr page for the pictures and price list of Terra Nova 2011: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecilegambin/sets/72157627787251545/. Please join me on Facebook under Cecile Gambin Photography to keep tabs on what I’m doing with my photography, what event I’ll be at next and to see and learn about my fine art photographs.


The Great Pine Enduro

All pictures for The Great Pine are up on my Flickr site. Click here. You’ll also find pictures from The Corduroy Enduro 2011 there as well but in a different album.

Find your picture, email me the number or at least the key time if you remember it. And even a description of your bike would help if the plate is not easily identifiable. Prints or high quality digital downloads are available for purchase.

All pictures will be corrected for colour, and watermarked removed. Please excuse the rather large water mark but this is to prevent people from lifting my pictures. This is currently my only source of income and I only wish to cover my expenses (gas and camera equipment). You all know I love photography and off-road riding. Thank you.

The quickest and easiest way to receive a picture is through a digital download. Prints will take up to a 1-1.5 weeks (pro lab + Canada Post).

The price List is shown below (payment can be made via PayPal using my email which I will give you when you contact me):

Downloads & Prints Print& Media  Cost ** Shipping & Handling
Download all your images (High Res. 3200 x 2300) $45.00 n/a
Download 1 image (3200 x 2100) $15.00 n/a
4×6 * $8.00 $5.00
5×7 * $10.00
8×10 * $15.00
8×12 * $20.00 $8.00
10×15 * $30.00 $10.00


Kudos to all participants for a ride well done and to OCMC and all of its volunteers for putting on a great event.