This weekend, I had the opportunity to ride in the Competitive Cyclist team car on the sixth and final stage of the 550 mile (885 km) Tour of Utah. I've always wondered what it would be like to be in a team car so I jumped at the opportunity. It was a 76.7 mile (123.5 km) stage with 6800 feet of climbing (2000 m), beginning and ending in Park City, Utah. I was warned by the PR folks and other cycling photographers that being in a car probably wouldn't be the best for photos, and they were right. On the other hand, I've never had such an intimate, inside look at roadracing before - not to mention getting to experience the chaos of the support convoy. In the car with me were team owner and driver, Jason Kriel; and team mechanic, Richard Knutson. Being inside the race was great for understanding the logisitics, etiquette and strategy involved in roadracing. I got to listen to the official race play-by-play from the Comm car, radio discussion between the two Competitive Cyclist team cars; and conversation between Jason, Richard and the racers as they gave them water and food. I also got to experience some really fast and fun driving.
Heads-up for the photographers reading this - as I was told, the team car really wasn't the best place for photos. Shooting roadracing is hard enough but trying to shoot through a windshield in a (fast) moving car adds a whole new set of challenges. Plus, you're almost always behind the riders so almost all of the photos end up being of butts. I took plenty of out-of-focus, shaky and terribly composed photos (of butts) and had to adjust my sharpness standards a bit for this assignment. But I went with an open mind, planning to shoot the team car experience rather than great racing photos and I'm more than happy with the gallery I'm sharing with you here. It's a different perspective than most race photos but I think it's a pretty cool one. I hope you enjoy the photos.
If you want to know more about my camera gear and what it was like taking pictures from the team car, keep your eyes open for a photography-specific article about my team car experience on PhotographyREVIEW.com. It was a real challenge to get good photos from the car and I definitely learned a few things I can share with other aspiring cycling photographers.