Jetblack 24hr: Awaba

Jetblack’s Annual 24hr XC race was held at Awaba this year. It was a change from the usual tracks that hold the longer races as for us it meant all the shots would be under the canopy of the trees. Awaba doesn’t have much if any open areas.

Jetblack Twenty Four Hour XC race at Awaba, 2017

Although the weekend started out warm and sunny once the race got underway the clouds moved in bringing with them a few showers. Luckily despite an initial blast from a well aimed storm the rest of the race remained relatively dry. The rain was actually great as it brought the dust level down and provided better traction for the riders and they kept knocking out the laps.

As night fell the 6+6 category retired from the track leaving only the dedicated night riders out on track. For us it meant things slowed a bit on track but it also gave us time to work on our lighting and fine it to get the most out of our shots.

After a couple of hours kip we got up in time to catch the 6+6 riders as they headed back out on to the track. Gil headed out to the northern end of the track while I walked the western side.

24hr races are demanding for the riders but also for us. But in so saying they do provide us with some great photographic opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to shoot.

If you want to see the complete gallery of photos they can be viewed here on our website. If you raced be sure and download your free images courtesy of Bacci Fresh and Jetblack Products.

If you have an event that you would like covered swing on over to Outer Image and touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs

 

Base in Bright’s B24

The Thule B24 mountain bike race in the Victorian Alps around Bright

Once again the Thule B24 has rolled around put on by Base in Bright down at the beautiful little Victorian town of Bright. Tucked in the Victorian Alps, Bright is a bikers paradise with trails running everywhere to suit all levels of skill and all types of biking. An unfortunate clash of dates meant I was down there this year while Gil went off to cover the Highland Fling.

The threat of rain unfortunately kept the numbers lower than expected but, considering the forecast, the turnout was great and certainly not the small race it was when it kicked off 4 years ago. The weekend started out at the Bright Brewery with a track stand contest and a few beers.

Saturday lunch saw the race get underway from the grand marquee. First out were the solo racers, followed 15 mins later by the esprit d’ corps category. A few shots along the river then I headed out to the new section of track called Tombstone. By all reports this super-flowy section went down a treat and everyone who came down were all smiles. Basically though, all the track was new as the course had been reversed this year to accommodated taking in Tombstone.

Early Sunday morning around 1am, I had just about dozed off in the back of my car when the sky lit up and the heavens opened with a bang as a thunderstorm rolled in. I felt pity for those still slogging it through the night. Some pretty torrential rain fell over night but by morning it had eased back a bit in intensity though was still consistent. The rain fell through the Sunday at times becoming increasing again. I was rather helpless as first my lenses started to mist and then I saw moisture forming inside the camera itself. Not much to do but keep shooting anyway.

By the end of the race those who were was still out on track were plastered with mud but still everyone who came in couldn’t wipe the smile off their face after such a great event. I have long wanted to shoot a few portraits after a muddy race like that and I got more than my fair share of mud-encrusted faces after the race finished up

Sam Moffitt took the win with his first 24hr victory and Courtney Henry took the win in the female solo category with her 3rd ever mtb race.

Head over to the full gallery to check out all that was captured over the weekend.

If you have an event that you would like covered touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs. Here is some of the ways we can help your event grow.

Jetblack 12hr: Mowbray Farm

The final laps into the night

The final laps into the night

The final mountain bike race for the 2016 Rocky Trail Entertainment XC season was the Jetblack 12 hour. This year it was held at Mowbray farm MTB track near Picton in the southwest of Sydney. It was a couple of years since we previously shot an XC race there. Though the course was basically the same, weather over the last month or so had altered the terrain around it.

The main change in the features around the course was the missing lake. Heavy rainfall of the previous weeks managed to wash away a dam, draining the lake in the middle of the course. The rain had left the track over-saturated. More rain overnight also added to the puddles, making some sections of the track more like water crossings. Although the previous night had been another wet one, the new day dawned windy but otherwise the weather was great.

Terrain along the track varies quite a bit. It heads through open fields with some nice views across to the city, crosses and drifts along a small creek that was once the lake and heads off into a young pine forest, meanders a back along the creek then up to the start again. There is about 123m vertical over the course which mostly seems to be crammed into the hill at the end . The wet weather had closed a couple of sections of the track making the course shorter and a couple of sections rather slippery. However, the shorter course just meant faster laps, bringing the riders back in front of our cameras more often.

At 10am a mass start sent mountain bikers racing off into the fields. The harsh light in the open fields below the start line meant shooting there was tricky. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a few clouds came rolling in and softened up the light a bit. Gil set off against the flow and I went with the flow of riders were headed stopping when I came across shots that I liked. By mid afternoon we had both made it probably halfway around the track. We realised the best locations to shoot the sunset would be the fields and dams back near the start so headed back in that direction.

Nightfall saw us both in the fields playing experimenting at using our lights in different ways. Gil lit some of the beautiful old trees in shots and I went to the dams to use the reflections in mine. Chill soon set in around the water’s edge and I headed back up to warm up and await the podiums.

Below are our picks for the race. The full gallery of images that Gil and I captured can be found over on the Outerimage website here

Full results from the race can be found over on the Rocky Trail Entertainment website here

Shimano GP round 4: Mt Stromlo

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The continuing series of this year’s Shimano GP took place over the weekend with round 4 at Canberra.  The day dawned chilly but not frosty like the previous weekend’s Rollercoaster. After a short pre-race briefing the race got off to a start under the cloudy skies of Mt Stromlo Forest Park.

Gil and I started off shooting around the start the Gil drove to the top of the hill and headed out along the skyline track. I started at the bottom as I wanted to shoot among some of the beautiful wattle that was in bloom down there before the sun burnt through the clouds and made the light too harsh. Unfortunately this meant that all up my day was spent walking uphill and shooting riders as they came uphill. As it was the soft cloudy light stuck around for most of the day.  Over the rest of the day we made the most of the soft light shooting in the trees but still trying to mix up the shots as best as we could to get a good variation of shots. There is some great views around the track which makes Stromlo one of our favourites to shoot.

One racer made my day when she brought me up a cup of coffee, Dalene you are a legend!!!! At the end of the day I ended up at Echidna Pass near the start of Rollercoaster. As luck would have it both Gil and I finished up in about the same area which meant I got a lift back down the hill.

You can visit the full gallery and check out the photos here. Remember if you raced over the weekend you can download your images for free thanks to the folks over at Shimano, just send us a message and we shall check you off the list and throw you the password.

To check out the full results swing over to the Rocky Trail website where they have them all listed

 

Back to the Vineyards

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So it was back to the vineyards of James Estate for the first round of the 2015 series of the Shimano GP. The big news is that this year Outer Image is happy to announce that the series images will be supplied free of charge to the competitors for personal use thanks  to the generosity of Shimano and Rocky Trail Entertainment.

The track was quite dusty as you can see in the images below but there was certainly no complaints to be heard from anyone. Normally one of us takes the vineyard and the other takes the single trail at the back but this year we had to change. Due to an abundance of the nasty cats eye burs (nemesis of the bike riders tyres) throughout the vinyards the course was shortened down to around 8.5kms so gil went right and I went left on the single-track. The shorter track had a couple of knock-on effects for Gil and I. It meant that the riders came around more often  and it meant that there was a more constant flow of riders for us both, definitely not a bad thing for two photographers who love being out on track shooting.

It looks set to be a close series again this year. A few familiar faces have changed categories but many have stayed where they are. There was also a whole bunch of new faces which was great to see out there. Hopefully we shall be seeing you all again at the next round at the old favourite Awaba.

If you didn’t receive your password to download your race images drop Gil and I a message and we shall send it through to you. If you want to see all the images you can find them here on our website. You can find all the details for the upcoming races and results over on Rocky Trail’s website and if you like getting your images for free be sure and swing by Shimano Australia’s facebook page and let them know.

AMB 100 Marathon

AMB 100, Mt. Stromlo 2015

Under a hot Canberra sun last weekend the AMB 100 took place at Mount Stromlo Forest Park. Things got underway with the 31 ‘100 milers’ leaving the gate at an early 5am.  A few hours later after a lovely sunrise the rest of the pack got to hit the trail as well in their chosen length of 100kms, 66kms or 33kms.

The day warmed quickly with temperatures up into the high 30’s (for some reason it always feels a good 5C hotter at Mt Stromlo). Red faces on some of the competitors showed that the heat was taking its toll on some, others however just seemed to shrug it off.

Gil took his camera and headed out to the back of the track, an area that is not often used for races (at least with Rocky Trail’s series). I stayed on the front-side and covered a new section of downhill with twists and turns with a few little drops thrown in for good measure.

It was a long day on the mountain but as so often is the case with the Rocky Trail series it was a great day on the mountain.

Full results can be found on Rocky Trail Entertainment’s website here

All the race images can be found in their galleries here

 

 

Its Dark when you Solo

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Its been a week now since the 2014 Australian Solo 24hr Nationals were run and won in partnership with Rocky Trail Entertainments JetBlack 24 at Mt Annan trails in Sydney. Winners Jason English and Tory Thomas winning both the national titles and the right to wear the Yellow and Gold for a a year as the national champions in the discipline. One of the staggering numbers from this event is the number of laps achieved by Jason with 36laps of a 9.8km loop and female winner Tory not far behind with 33 a feat which would have put her about 5th overall against all the men.

What also impressed us, besides the new trail work at Mt Annan, was the number of people wanting to come out and test themselves mate against mate and on the course. Numbers for the event were 400 strong with over 100 of those riders riding solo. For the photographers of Outer Image this is one of the ideal events for a variety of shooting conditions. Not only do we get to see the riders over and over again on the looping track but we get to see them throughout a variety of light conditions from full bright sun, evening sunset to complete darkness only to reverse this order again the next day. A photographers dream.

During the event we see many stages of riders energy levels. Now after talking to quite a few post race and via emails its nice to know our presence of music, words of encouragement and “wow I didn’t see you” wake-up calls were helpful.  But on a more serious note, we are always impressed with how happy the riders remain even when exhausted, covered in a thick layer of sunscreen and dust pushing through the pain barriers. It puts our job at hand in perspective as we tire and sometimes struggle with the gear we carry to find new and interesting photo perspectives.  It drives us to continue to find and capture images that will inspire others and allow riders to have a memento of their efforts.

As we settle down for the year we have pretty much finished this year’s events and will be just working on personal projects and preparing ideas for next year. We would love to hear from the #rockytrailracers on anything.  We are always looking for new ways to improve our skills and bring you some of the best mtb photography out there in Australia. What better way to do that then hear directly from those that matter, you.  So if you every want to chat we are always eager to here what you have to say maybe over a cold drink or out on the trails while riding (hopefully there is more time for a bit of that now the year is done) or even just send us a message through here or facebook.

Have a great break and if we don’t see you until next year when the Rocky Trail event series kicks off again with the AMB 100 in Stromlo, Canberra then enjoy that summer sunshine, you have experienced enough darkness during the JetBlack 24hr.

Rider images can be viewed here by searching your race number.

Cheers Gil and Richard.

Rocky Trailers, we thank you.

Rocky Trailers

Rocky Trailers

Faster and faster we go, another year another series done but with all the memories experienced and captured in this years Rocky Trail Entertainment Shimano MTB GP we can hardly wait until 2015.  Its been quite an experience getting to know every twist and turn of this series and the faces that appear out of the dust, mud spattered and grinning ear to ear.  We have seen some funny moments, some crashes and some low-sugar survival mode zombies but a lap later that zombie is gone replaced with the determined, powering “Rocky-Trailer” we have come to know by so many names.

Martin, Juliane, Graham, Charlie, Max, Peter, Nigel, Chris, Paris, James, Callum, Andrew, Kirby, Ed, Eliza, Jamie, Wendy, Sara, Laura, Michael, Kevin, Spencer, Grantley, Jo, Jackson, Michal, Ondrej……. the list is endless.

For us its not about who is the fittest, who had the fastest lap or who beat who we will leave that up to the athletes.  It is all about being there in the dust, in the scorching sun supplying the local Culicidae with a fresh supply of blood just so we can say yes we saw that, we got it and now you can relive that moment too. We love photographing these amazing locations with the unique terrain and lighting conditions on offer from the sunny vineyards of James Estate, the dark forests of Ourimbah and Awaba to the relentless rocks of Stromlo.  Every round we push ourselves to find new images on tracks that are truly etched into your riding-psyche not settling on the first corner, first jump or closest rock, we hope we have achieved that for you.

What we didn’t plan on was the friendships we made along the way, between ourselves and with everyone we have had the time to stop and talk to while working the angles, looking for the right moment and after all the racing is done.  We want to thank you all who make our job easier and have a little fun out on the course for our benefit.    Its people like Nigel Jefferys and his wonderful ability to pull a wheelie, “Very entertaining Nigel :)”  Peter Selkrig being one of our “time to move to new location” counters with his fluro-kit.  “Thanks Peter we look forward to 2015 colours.”  Eliza Kwan and her energizer-bunny style and smile, “Thanks Eliza we cannot help but smile back.”

 

If you raced at this years series a big congratulations and thank you for your support, we would love to hear any feedback of any kind on what you feel would make 2015 even better yet.  If you have not raced a Rocky Trail event and are reading this and checking out the images we can promise you will not be disappointed in becoming a Rocky-Trail rider.  Come on down the trails are just right…. rocky.

Cheers Gil and Richard.

Thule B24 in Bright, Victoria

Highlights from the Thule B24

Thule B24!!! What a test of endurance. How many laps of a 17km trail through the mountains can you knock over in 24hrs?

On Thursday Gil and I traveled down to Victoria to cover the Thule B24 mountain bike race, a 24hr endurance race taking place in the mountains around Bright. The trip down was an adventure in itself as we were detoured due to bushfires then another due to a nasty crash which together put us about 6 hours of course (always good to take the scenic route though). We arrived in Bright midday on Friday and quickly set to walking the track and finding our locations.  Bright is a mountain bikers paradise with mountains all around and trails weaving up and through the forest everywhere. It certainly was not hard to pick our location, the problem was more what locations would we not have time for.

A new category was added called the Esprit De Corps and was very successful at bringing back social riding. Your team needed to complete a certain amount of laps over the course of 24 hours but you had the option of all riding as a group. So if you were in a team of 6 and you do a lap with all team riders it actually counts as 6 laps. I think you will see this format coming up more in the future of team racing.

The race kicked off at 12 on Saturday. It was quite a long weekend but well worth it. Probably not as long for us as it was for the riders though. We shot well into the night and were up again and into it before dawn. In the last couple of hours things became rather hectic again as all the riders crammed in the last few laps. The smiles which had faded in the early hours of the morning were back too with some riders even going past me giggling Delirious or just very happy I wasn’t quite sure which)

All in all a great weekend away. I think we are both hoping to return to Bright soon.

Oh and just in case you were wondering, the winner of the solo category was Shane Roberts who completed 22 laps or around 374kms.

You can find all the images from the Thule B24 online and available for purchase here

You can find more information about the race on their website here

Shimano MTB GP 4 – Mount Annan

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  Round 4 in Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Shimano GP went down at Mount Annan and as usual Outer Image was there to cover it. This time however, with Gil away chasing the pelaton in  of the Tour de France, we called up fellow photographer Mikulas Jaros to help out. Mikulas did a great job covering the stages of the course nearest the starting area.

Running through The Australian Botanic Garden at Mt Annan is a course of sweeping berms and long grass. It doesn’t often head through the trees like many of the other courses in the series and as such offers some nice views out across the surrounds. The weather turned on one of its finest winter days for the event keeping the skies nice and blue from start to finish. Rocky Trail, as is normal at their events, did a great job of organising and keeping everything running smoothly.

Detailed results from the race can be found online here

Below is a small sample of the shots taken on the day. Many more can be found in the galleries here. All images can be purchased for personal use or licensed as needed.