Happy New Year


A doll? No...you want a bike for Christmas. Next year you make sure to put that at the top of your list.
A doll? No…you want a bike for Christmas. Next year make sure to put that at the top of your list.

With the year rapidly coming to a close my thoughts turn to how much fun I had this season. Fun riding, fun photographing, fun talking, fun being with friends and fun making lots of new ones. And, as always, fun promoting our sport because we all know riding woods is just too much fun not to share.

CGP would like to thank you for your support. As a reminder, all 2012 photos will be removed from my gallery via my website on Dec. 31, 2012. By purchasing photos it has covered my costs for travel to events, and allowed me to keep my equipment in good working order (dust, rain and photographic equipment don’t mix well). I look forward to attending most trail rides and races next year and will post photos as they become available.

© Cecile Gambin Photography© Cecile Gambin PhotographyThank you also to Offroad-Ontario, the KTM Trail series, the CMRC Trans Canada, Substance Projects, Sasquatch Vintage Racing, the CMX, and to all the countless volunteers for a superb year.

Finally, I am hoping that my next post in the New Year will have some fantastic news. But, for the moment I must keep my mouth closed. In the meantime, please have a safe and happy holiday season. See you out on the trails with either my camera, my bike or both.


Calabogie Boogie Photo Report

Note: There are a few photos available from Saturday’s ride as I was limited to where I could stand due to weather. I have started an album and posted one picture only. If you are interested please email me details of your bike (plate number etc.) and I will see what I have.

Have you ever had a race, or a day, when you realise you should have just stayed in bed? Well that’s how I felt Saturday night as I was driving back home from the 2012 edition of BMA’s Calabogie Boogie trail ride. I stopped at the local Tim Hortons in Perth, picked up my BLT toasted on white with no sauce, and contemplated the day and my lack of photos. I sat in my still wet clothes inside my car for a good half hour, closed my eyes and tried to clear my mind. I called home, explained the day and my husband David told me to book a room and go back to the Boogie tomorrow. Bless his heart.

This event was important for me to shoot for several reasons. First, to document the ride and hopefully nail some shots so riders could have a few sweet pictures of themselves riding a classic event in difficult terrain and show their friends and family what they do when they ride off-road. Second, ‘Romaniac’ team mates Rome Haloftis, Barry Armstrong, Paul Phillip and Mike Pflug managed to talk pro Red Bull/Comsol Bell Racing enduro athlete Chris Birch from New Zealand to come to Canada and ride our trails. How cool is that? A world class enduro rider hitting our homegrown trails!

I arrived Friday night around 7pm with dark brooding clouds covering the Calabogie Highlands. It was great to meet up with people I had not seen in a while and I chatted up a storm. Nearing mid-night it was time to check into Hotel GMC and as I watched lightening strike across the lake I visualised the type of photo I wanted. Having ridden the Boogie several times in the past I knew how devastatingly difficult yet beautiful the terrain could be and I had envisioned the perfect shot…I just had no idea where in the 170+ km day I needed to go. Thankfully, Dave Wrack gave me some pointers and a map of Saturday’s trail ride.

Enter Saturday. Rain, thunder and more rain before the riders meeting should have given me a clue as to how this day was going to turn out. I headed out well in advance of the riders and checked out a few spots. And the rain continued. I thought about doing some ‘drive by shooting’ where I literally took pictures from the inside of my car but decided that the only place I could do that really did not make for exciting pictures. I realised I could not drive too far into the trail with my 2WD and so opted for hiding underneath a huge maple tree and hoped for the best. Soon enough, the rain got the better of my flash and I made the decision to pack up my gear and leave before I destroyed everything. Artistically I would have prefered to stand out in the open to allow the viewer to see the length, steepness and technicality of the trail but I decided to not risk damaging my camera gear. Electronics and water rarely mix well.

The rain continued heavily throughout the lunch hour. I had found the lunch stop and took refuge, along with the riders, under the two tents. I decided to change my game plan and chose to take photos for a project I am currently working on. Little did I know that was going to be my style of shooting for Sunday as well. Many riders opted out of riding the afternoon as the cold settled into their bones and chose to end the ride via the K&P Trail heading for the comfort of their hotel room, tent, or trailer. I decided to try one last area before I called it quits in my attempt to salvage my day. Kudos to the BMA pre-riders and volunteers continually upkeeping the trails the day of as high winds and rain knocked over larges branches.

Somewhat sheltered from the rain under the protection of a few trees the riders made their way up a slick rock infested hydro line before disappearing into a low cloud.
Check out the rain setting the stage for what became a long arduous day in the saddle.
Umbrellas were the hot item before the ride.
And more umbrellas.
In queue waiting for sound check and dodging rain drops.
Despite the rain some riders were all smiles. Love the positive attitude!! View these pics on a large monitor and you can see the rain steadily getting harder.
There are truly some hard core riders out there and this guy screams that. Head down, wool sweater…rock and roll old man! (Meant with the upmost respect.)

During the lunch break I took shelter under the two tents, along with the other riders. It was getting crowded and this was honestly the only opportunity for me to take photos in a relatively dry area. I took advantage of it.

Taking refuge in a trailer by the lunch tent. Rain is progressively becoming harder and cool air slowly taking over.
Heading out after a warm lunch sandwich Jeff Denton, Ed Kikauka and um…not sure who the other rider is get ready for the second leg of their journey.
Wringing out the gloves ready to tackle the trails once more.
Rome Haloftis seen emptying a recycled water bottle as a make shift jerry can ’cause he ran out of gas. See the rain in the corner of the photo? Yup, still raining…hard.
Chris Birch riding a slick, rocky technical uphill late in the day. Thanks are also extended to the super kind sweepers for helping me find this trail, and for helping me with my trials bike (carbs gummed up). Thanks a heap!
A boyish grin from a very humble world class athlete.


Chris Birch chillin’ on the days last extreme section. Hurray…the rain stopped by mid-afternoon.

Sunday – blue skies and cool temps greeted the region today. Back at base camp riders were eagerly prepping themselves for another great day in the saddle. Sadly though, the MNR decided to kibosh the killer trails on the north side and along with it the beautiful scenery. And, unfortunately, I mis-read the map and realised that most of the riders were on a trail to my far left thus resulting in me missing the pretty much everybody in the morning. At that point, I decided to change my game plan, again, and just take pictures to satisfy my creative itch.

Despite the foul weather and land issues BMA ran a top-notch event and riders came away happy. As for myself…my misfortunes on Sunday were all of my own doing. Serves me right for always following David and not paying attention to map reading 101. Overall, I may not have been able to get the photos I had envisioned but I am quite happy with the pictures I did take. Kudos are extended again to all the help the BMA crew gave me and for creating a great and unforgetable weekend.

Sunday morning and I betcha that riding gear isn’t dry.
Riding the hydro line on a beautiful Sunday morning. Thanks to all the riders who gave me a wave. Feelin’ the love!
Swinging out the rear end stylin’ it for the camera 🙂
This is my favourite photo of the weekend. Sue and Scott – a wonderful couple deeply involved in bettering the off-road scene finding some quiet time together before hitting the road again.
I asked Chris if he liked our trails and he said ‘yes’ and even loved, and welcomed, the rain yesterday. I guess they don’t get much rain in South Africa which has been his home for the past two years.
Not sure what the guys are looking at but I was checking out the trial tire on the back of the KTM.
Rome and Chris tackling another pink section.
Final stretch of Sunday’s ride. You’re almost there buddy. Thanks to the BMA crew and volunteers for providing a safe and kick-ass event show casing Ontario’s finest trails. It was a hard ride Saturday but in the end it was a great and unforgetable event and one that will only make us stronger physically and mentally.






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.