They say that a picture paints a thousand words, if so the busy team of ENDURO have created an encyclopaedic collection from around the world. Some shots were opportunistic, some involved hours of preparation and some just have a story behind them. Join us as we highlight our team’s favourite shots of the past year.
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Christoph Bayer’s Highlights
Kamloops, BC, Canada: Mountain biking for me is way more than just sick action, adrenalin and pushing our own limits. It’s also about friendship and a great way to meet new inspiring people. This summer I spent a weekend with Matt Hunter and his good friend Matt Miles. We had a blast of a time, they showed me their favourite trails and we spent way more time riding, instead of taking pictures. This shot was taken at the end of the day, just minutes before we dropped into our last great run. For me, it shows the freedom biking gives me and what a great tool to connect people mountain bikes can be.
Bikerepublic Sölden, Austria: I love to work with such talented people like Gregor. At the spot shown, there was no real landing. There are just rocks with a really small path between. The rest of the group just rolled through the section, trying not to fall down into the bushes. When we arrived, the light was great and the mountains in the background just made it so epic. Gregor told me he could jump this section, I just had to put the camera up, made some adjustment and push the trigger – it was so easy.
Bikerepublic Sölden, Austria: Sometimes it can get boring shooting mountain bikers. It’s always the same mission: compose nice action in a nice environment. It definitely wasn’t boring to shoot with Lois, a 7-year-old who is a true ripper. Riding death grip 90% of the time and hammering down gnarly trails that would cause many to push their bikes. But shooting with kids isn’t easy. You have to keep them motivated and respect their limits. Different to adults, they are not willing to push their bike up 10 times for one shot, so you just have one chance.
Whistler, BC, Canada: Many years ago I dreamed about travelling to Whistler. It’s probably the best bike park in the world but the true treasures are hidden in the woods and you have to put some effort in to get there. This pictures documents for me the wilderness and isolation you feel riding through the woods. There could be a bear around every corner of this amazing trail but we were shouting out loud our happiness and minimising the risk of getting eaten by a hairy monster. BC is definitely the best place I’ve been for mountain biking and I will come back – that’s for sure!
Sunshine Coast, Canada: You know there will be something amazing coming up when you sit in a float plane and fly to your next riding destination. It was a once in a lifetime trip with so many great memories. This moment in the cockpit was just one, it reminds me of the fresh dirt and loamy trails I got to ride just hours later.
Bikerepublic Sölden, Austria: Everybody who says E-Mountainbike aren’t fun should check this picture. The bikes are just amazing! They give us the opportunity to ride further, faster and so much more. For me as a photographer, it’s also great to keep up with all the super fit guys while carrying some heavy photo gear.
Miesbach, Germany: What I really love about my job is the freedom to not just travel, but also to develop my own story ideas for our magazine. In Issue #023 we compared a sixteen-year-old SCOTT Octane with a new one. For sure we had to shoot the pictures with the right style. Foot out, flat out with a damn cool outfit – Flo you are killing it!
Trev Worsey’s Highlights
Tweed Valley, Scotland: While I’m not a fan of using flashes, this shot certainly needed them. The brief was to create a ‘secret society’ of night riders, so it was important to not have the rider lit from the front, just a silhouette. I wanted the rider to be exploding out of the light and this shot took a while to set up. There is a Canon 480EX Speedlight on the floor pointing up at the rider to light the spray and provide a light haze, just behind the lip of the jump and a Canon 600EX strapped to a tree directly behind the rider’s head about 10 m back to provide the rim lighting. We had to repeat the jump until the rider perfectly covered the flash behind to give the silhouette.
Corrie Lairre: Torridon Scotland. To get to this spot you have to work, there are no roads, no lifts, no excuses, it’s a wild and rugged land. This marks the halfway point of a 6-hour loop where every meter is hard earned. This picture always makes me want to get out the ‘big pack’ and go for a proper mountain adventure in the mountains. It also reminds me that when I rode this route I had two broken ribs, so every rock, root and hike-a-bike section is etched painfully on my mind.
Tweed Valley Scotland: This was part of a production shooting bikes under € 2000 and the light was amazing. The brief was to keep it mellow and not too crazy, but realising how fun the bikes were the team were soon getting loose. Thomas Mitchell is a regular huck wizard, and was sending this budget Radon off everything he could find. Did the wheels survive – almost.
South Tyrol: Let’s get it out there, South Tyrol is a ridiculous place! Ridiculous in that it’s simply amazingly beautiful, each and every view looks like a CGI generated landscape. We spent three days cutting about in the hills and I could have burnt up endless CF cards. There were so many shots to choose from, but this is my favourite as it shows Catherine and our guide Stefano charging home after a big day, truly shadowed by the imposing peaks of the Dolomites. Soul food at it’s richest.
Isle of Harris: After a vomit-inducingly rough ferry journey to the Scottish Islands of Harris and Lewis I had no idea what to expect. I did not expect this! On a 4 hour ride, we discovered so many amazing views and some spicy riding too. The soft and muted colours of the land always remind me of a single malt whisky. While this corner certainly has a truly epic backdrop, it’s tight and super exposed. After taking a few shots from above, I took off to meet the riders at the bottom and my heavy riding pack very nearly took me over the edge!
Tweed Valley Scotland: “Can you just do that again?”, these were the words that I could not say. This was a test shot for a future project and I only had one go to get the image. After hiking for an hour to the top of Lee Pen my rider had cycled to the top of the Flat White trail on the other side of the valley. It was – 5oC and my hands just would not work. After lots of torch-waving between hills, the rider set off, I opened the shutter on bulb, and kept it open for 3 minutes while the rider left a light trace on the hill. The wind was blowing hard so I was super pleased to see this pop off the sensor. The lights of Innerleithen warmed up the fog, and the distant town of Selkirk burnt itself onto the horizon.
Glentress, Scotland. Taking this last-minute picture of Whyte Enduro Team rider Martyn Brookes taught me two important lessons. The first lesson is to never get locked into one spot, the corner before this one is the legendary ‘bar drag’ corner of Glentress, so popular that photographers have worn out a patch in the grass and it really should have an agent by now. Watching Martyn hit the turn it looked super cool but just so overused, but – his exit on the following turn looked rad, and ended up being the more dynamic shot pictured here. The second lesson is how far camera sensors have come, it was so dark in the fallen light that I had to ride the ISO like crazy, shooting one stop under, 12800 and still usable, even with a slight crop… crazy!
Lorraine Truong’s Back Garden, Switzerland. No, there’s no action here or epic jumping, but this image is one of my favourites of the year. If you don’t know Lorraine’s story you should read it here, as she is one of the bravest riders in our sport. Talking so openly about her brain injury was very tough for Lorraine, eating into her precious energy, but even though she was exhausted she still could not resist firing one of her playful crazy faces for the camera. Good memories.
Robin Schmitt’s Highlights
Musara, Spain: Do you remember the times when cyclists smoked cigarettes at the start line, plundered bars and just didn’t give a shit? Those times when people loved roadies for the challenges they won and never used words like nutrition, watts and doping? Personally, I hate smoking and I don’t want to praise the good old times, but I just want to emphasise the fact that cycling is (and should be) about so much more than pure performance and podiums, coffee and leather accessories. With GRAN FONDO Cycling Magazine we’ve just started to push out stories that will be based on friendship, fun, excitement and are the voice of a new generation of cyclists. If you’re NOT into road, I’m sure this will change your mind.
Feldberg, Germany: They say to find yourself you first have to get lost. Where else can you do this than on a gravel road through the black forest with the mist hanging low? What I love about this picture is the perspective. Just recently I started taking photos while riding, allowing me to give the spectator this unique feeling of being part of the gruppetto and being in the middle of the action. Well, let’s say riding. Gravel riding also teaches you that it’s not all about action. Further, this picture shows that it’s not all about action. The Votec Gravel Fondo was one of my personal highlights as it mixes styles, disciplines and emphasises on the experience with your crew and not on the skill level or the bike you ride. Where will this road lead us? I don’t know, but let’s find out. The horizon and the future we are riding into looks bright!
Ross Bell’s Highlights
Instagram : @Rossbellphoto
Trans Rezia, Italy. When shooting a blind enduro race it’s not just blind for the racers but the media too! After springing out the back of the tiny Suzuki jeep with minutes to scramble up the trail before the racers dropped in, I was panicking at my indecision to find a spot when I found the open doorway of an old mountain shack… I felt like a hermit lurking in the shadows as the racers passed obliviously to the fact they were being watched!
Fort William SES. After stopping to sample the dirt riding into this stage I was feeling a little sore and sorry for myself, unable to find an angle I liked I soon popped out of the woods into the finish line. ‘Shit’ I muttered to myself at the thought of not getting any images from this stage, turning around to gaze back up the track I noticed the contrast of light between the dark pine tree plantation and ‘bright’ Scottish sunlight, bingo! It took a few riders to get the exposure and angle right but by the time the elites rolled through I was stoked.
Glen Feshie, Cairngorms, Scotland. November in the Scottish highlands is perhaps not the ideal time of year to venture deep into the hills, but it’s always worth enduring the cold and wet as it’s those rides that are always the most rewarding! The flood damage of the previous winters had wiped out the bridges meaning the only way across (and to get the shot!) was to get your feet wet!
Finale Ligure EWS, Italy. Getting an original shot at an EWS is harder and harder with the media growing larger race by race and usually moving around in a pack. Dropped at the top of the stage we ripped down until a mass gathering assembled at these rocks, everyone else went front on – which was a mint shot too! – but I’ve been pushing myself to get out my own bad habit of shooting front on with the 70-200 all the time. Wide angle, backlit dust, Finale gnar, and Mark Scott en route to a 5th place finish, not a bad combination!
Noah Haxel’s Highlight
Stuttgart, Germany. 2016 has been one hell of a year for me. I went to places I’ve never been to and saw things I’ve never seen before – but there is nothing quite like coming home, enjoying some downtime and shredding your local trails. And this is exactly what this shot embodies for me. I simply love the dynamic, the colours and the action with this shot.
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