2015 Oregon Enduro Series #2 - Hood River

Welcome to my blog post for the OES Race #2 in Hood River.  It may not be pretty and it may not be polished.  It may not be 'PC' either but you're here so scroll down and enjoy the festivities!  And feel free to use the links below to share this with your friends.  I really didn't set out to make a 'photo essay' of the event but I think you'll like it.

My goal on the shot above was to get Mt. Hood with the bridge and avoid the huge white pilings that are in the way (you can see one sort of hidden by the tree branch on the lower left).   The sunset never really popped Friday night and the sky was cloudless, which didn't help.    This looks like a much better sunrise shoot as the bridge and hillside would get more light but that came way too early the next morning, so here you are.

Shuttle bikes loaded up and ready to go taken with a full-frame body and Canon 15mm fisheye lens.  

Coming off arguably one of the most challenging races just a few weeks earlier in Bend where anything that could have gone wrong did, Devon (pictured above pre-riding stage #1) and his crew rebounded by pulling off one of the smoothest races that I've witnessed in years of attending these.  Results were quick and the podium was early, allowing this dad to drive 3 hours home and attend Father's Day dinner with the family.  Kudos!

Justin Serna is another huge cog in the narrow-wide for the OES along with Todd, Ben and the others. There's nothing these guys would rather do than just show up and race but they spend hours and hours putting it together for everyone else.  That said, they do get to ride a little.  I just saw Justin doing human slalom through the Old Mill District with his plate on still....race is over, dude!

This is from practice on Friday.  I took a few shuttles up with my HT 29er to check some of the trails out.  I arrived in the afternoon and many riders were done for the day so it was a little lonely up there and I had my gear with me so when I came across Austin, Trail Boss and Krunk working on a burp I stopped so I could at least get a shot or 2.

Austin Davis obliged 

Stage #1, Rider #1.  Krunk was looking dialed and serious Saturday morning.

The pre-riders and Krunk were light tests and warmups for capturing Marin Racers Cody Kelley and Kyle Warner.    Kyle was second rider down and I knew I could only shoot 2 stages for the day so the pressure was on.   I was shooting in the trees with bright sunlight mixing in with the shade and I knew if i caught Kyle part in the sun and shade that I'd have a good one.  One down!

In the interest of getting a different angle on the same jump I moved back a little bit to get this angle of Marco Osborne.   I like how he looks like he's blasting off but he's yanking that lip and getting power back to the ground asap. 

I also captured Nate Hills on the same jump before I moved to a different spot to catch Cody who was going off seventh. 

It's always a pleasure to have the world-class athletes to shoot.  Curtis Keene is worldly and has a lot of class....world-class.

Cody Kelley is one of the super-fast Marin guys I've been hired to shoot this year.   He looks a little different without seeing his hair flowing in the wind.  You can be sure it's still back there, he's just going that fast.

As if by some sort of divine intervention, the S-crew of Keene and Ropetalo were given the magic #69

World Cup DH racer Mitch Ropelato wasn't sitting around for anyone.   First one up to the top of stage #2 and he took off almost as soon as he got there.  Mitch took the overall but it was so close maybe staying loose and warm was the difference.

Marco was the next rider into Stage #2's rock garden.  It is one of the more technical sections of the day and it is very easy to get in and out of to shoot, thus all of the shots from here.

Photos and video tend to make steep, techy sections look flat and easy but I think this shot of Cody Kelley coming into the top of the rock garden gives you a little idea of how risky it can be racing through here.   I even worked in pro photographer, Colin Meagher into the composition.  Colin is one of the good guys out there, helping companies build their brands with quality images.  Check out Colin's web site here and his Pinkbike coverage here.

Through the trickiest section of the day and Curtis Keene looks like he just had a massage, relaxed and smiling.

This is how you are supposed to look like, Curtis.  Like 99% of the other racers, local Tyler Horton looks exasperated after that section.  Tyler finished 7th overall.

A little lower on the course Joe Lawwill comes charging through a zig-zaggy part.  I like the spectator I caught through the trees standing up the hill there.

Matt Erbentraut (Marin Bikes) negotiates the hard right after the rock garden on stage #2.

The other little drop at the log was strobed up by another photographer so I just grabbed this one of John Frey....and part of that photographer's arm.  I guess I could photoshop him out....nah.

...and Josh Kahn, swinging a little too far to the his right.  That guy there takes CRAPHotos.

Jon Buckell (Incycle) has been a great supporter of the OES series, coming up from LA for almost every race. 

Kirt Voreis came into the same section hot but got thrown off of his line by the ever-changing set of rocks here.  You can see the airborne boulder he just dislodged from the ground.  It sent him shoulder first into the tree pictured here on the far left.  Kirt stopped for a second, tried to adjust his crooked glasses and took off to get one of the fastest times of that stage.

Then it was the Pro Women's turn at the rock garden.  Rebekah Rottenberg enters the gauntlet.

Kelli Emmett has been on this section ofd trail before and probably has her lines pretty well set in her head.  2nd place overall.

Liz Miller is another dedicated racer from the LA area.  She even took a plane home Sunday night to get to work on Monday!  That's my buddy Trent Hightower on the left taking photos.  He takes some amazing kiteboarding/windsurfing shots.  Check out his web site here.

Brian Butler

Expert Men's winner Brian Butler starts his sprint at the start of stage #2 while myself and another spectator duck in the bushes.

Speaking of fast, check put Duncan Nason, the junior racer that has the best amateur time on stage #2 and took home a Bell helmet for his efforts!

After Saturday's stages results were posted a lot of people hit the river for a swim.  I was feeling some sort of sinus thing coming on so I went to sleep it off.

Sunday had more stages than Saturday (4 compared to 3)  but was is so difficult to get around to all of the spots to catch the pros we had to pick our spots.  Spot #1 was the ladder drop, which has a sign warning riders of danger ahead.

Here's a slideshow of some of my favorite shots from this area

If I had to pick a favorite from here this one of Dillon Santos in a perfect tuck would be high on the list.

This one of Jeremiah Newman is fantastic also.

AndrĂ©ane Lanthier Nadeau only won her first official enduro race against talent like Kelli Emmett, no biggie.  All weekend people were asking, 'who is this girl from Rocky Mointain?'  Now everyone knows!  If you don't, here's her athlete page.

After the drop on stage #5 I had to skip stage #6 and go right to the bottom of the last stage, #7 to catch as many racers as possible.  Just up the trail some of the last pros were already on course so I was lucky to catch Mitch Ropelato through the tiny gap in these trees.  I kinda like it.

For Cody I had to go a little more 'conventional' and not shoot through gaps as I had to make sure I got something

Kyle, too.  I actually like the next frame better but that little green branch over his head is right across Kyle's face...it is a big challenge of shooting through things, the dynamic ebb and flow of 3 dimensional objects.

Curtis Keene grimacing!!  Last stage, last small climb and it is on the road and into the expo area where the finish is.

Marco sucking wind just before the finish.

Yuro, telling that dumb-ass 'hair past a freckle' joke again.  He did the Vital MTB coverage.  Check it out here.

Here is a carousel of Podium photos, not all of them...but a few.    Ropelato's kiss refusal by Nicole was priceless.  Congratulations to the racers and crew for a great racing weekend!!  8 weeks until Bachelor!!!

Please share!!!!

If you'd like to check out a gallery of images and possibly purchase one to help support me being out there I'm all for it!  Here's a link:  http://www.mikealbright.com/Galleries/Cycling/Mountain-Bike-MTB/2015-Mountain-Bike-Photos/2015-Oregon-Enduro-2-Hood/

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