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MTB: The Athletic Enduro Squad

Am I going the right way?

Am I going the right way?

Elsewhere in the world there are bike events happening that will overshadow the weekend. Prolly has already started covering the precious North American Handmade Bicycle Show. It is Thursday night and there are already track bikes and fatbikes (new track bikes?) up on his site in all their shiny glory. However, we spent the evening talking about a different kind of bicycle. 

The Athletic Enduro Squad will be taking to the Oregon woods this summer. Julie and Abby did a fair amount of racing last year. Just enough to really get a hankerin' for more. Which I guess is what any good appetizer will do for you. Especially if you chase it with something cold and it happens to be on a beautiful summer day, which is where all the cold drink are at the moment. 

This past summer I busted ass out to the Oregon Enduro Series to catch one of the stages. Turns out if you forget your cycling shoes it becomes increasingly hard to ride your bike down mountain bike trails - be they groomed or not. So, after depositing shoes onto the feet of my beautiful wife, I hiked up the trail to creep around in the woods and see what this "Enduro" stuff was all about. 

If you have ever been to Sandy Ridge you'll know what I'm talking about. But if you haven't, you need to go there now. Just watch out for hikers with guns and tasers (sheesh. Take it easy out there people.)

I walked up the road, then cut in and hiked onto the course. Being that I have no idea about these Enduro races, how they start, what the time gap is between riders, who's going to be "on the front." I was a little nervous, not wanting to be in the way, or distracting to anyone that would be barreling through the forest on their way to a fierce Enduro win. Basically I was afraid of *Adam Craig, I'm not too proud to admit that. 

After perching myself near the trail, camera at the ready, for about 25 minutes I decided that no one was actually coming. Which of course is the exact moment that I heard a bike rattling through the underbrush towards me. And then it was gone. "Hot damn these fuckers move fast!" That was the only thing that I could think as someone went whizzing by on the trail. 

It was at this point that I tested out a few special camera moves on the riders of this trail.  

SPECIAL SECTION: ENDURO TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY 101 

1. Burst Mode Squad: Just blast your flash in the face of any rider that comes down the trail. This works best if you simply pop out of the bushes the moment they fling by. BONUS: if you have your own ghillie suit that you can use to hide yourself from watchful eyes. If not, just cover yourself in whatever point oak, sumac, ivy that happens to be nearby and lie in wait. 

Panicked Pan in action.

Panicked Pan in action.

2. The Panicked Pan: (See Above) This is when you stand next to the trail, starkly outlined against the beautiful moss growing on the trees there. Wear a brightly colored Poler t-shirt if you can. I'm always a fan of a sky blue. It matches my eyes. The trick to the panicked pan lies within your ability to turn with your subject. They may be motoring by, but you're doing nothing buy being ready. Here they come! There they go! (try not to miss them, pan with them you can do it!) BONUS: position yourself neatly next to a tree, so when they make that tight carve and you whip your body around with them you can blast your camera (and the side of your face) into oblivion. 

3. Doting Husband: Easy Tiger. She is going to be ok, no matter how many photos you snap of her in the parking lot getting her Ibis Mojo 650b HDR ready. We know that she can beat you down the mountain, no matter what you say. BONUS: This one is actually about me and I never said I could beat her. 

4 The #Humbled Instagramer: Don't even bother taking your new Canon T5i into the woods for this one. You've got an iPhone, now use it! Do not be shy about your adulation for this sport that you discovered a couple weeks ago when Adam Craig tweeted it. You're here now and that is what is important. #650b #SickJumps #ProStyle #DAMNsonYouFast #NomNomNom BONUS: Make sure that you post the same photo twice, but with a different filter the second time. Maybe the yellow one for the arty effect? 

#Natureismetal

#Natureismetal

5. NatureisMetal: John Watson, aka Prolly invented this one. Well, he might not have, but I am giving him credit for it. This one is the easiest to do in these settings. Get deep. Take pictures of exposed roots, of tree moss with the sunlight flowing through behind it. Waterfalls work too. Especially on close up. Nature is the most metal after all. 

Bummer Summer.

Bummer Summer.

I waited and I waited for Julie and Abby to come shredding past me. Hoping that I had some sort of whits about me to know which one was which. As I stood looking through the trees I saw someone walking - off trail - towards me and who could it be but my lovely wife, her rear tire flat as can be. She was still within the throes of the race and seemed neither surprised nor delighted to see me there in the woods. She calmly (sort of) repaired it as best she could and limped onward towards the end of the stage. 

Such is the way of the Enduro. Expect to see more of this as the spring/summer progresses. Abby and Julie have put together an aggressive ride plan, so we shall see how it all shapes up. Knowing these two it will at the very least be fun.

*thanks Adam for the ride back down the hill. It was romantical to say the least. 

Kyle and Adam share a post race moment in the sun.

Kyle and Adam share a post race moment in the sun.

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