Category: California 2008

November 2, 2008

Bay Area Super Prestige #2: Candlestick

BASP Candlestick-21

I hoped for mud and no rain and the weather obliged. This is only my second cyclocross event and my first time processing with Lightroom. Please forgive the grossness of my processing as I figure out what these extra sliders do.

I've been meaning to do more 'cross as you can rattle off a hundreds of practice shots an hour against a variety of backdrops In this case, SF Bay, Hunter's Point, and Candlestick Park. I also want to race cross, but only after I can find $$$ for a cross bike. I restricted my shots a bit in order to try and play with my flash/ambient balance. Once you choose which direction the sun has to come from in your shot, you find yourself parking your butt in one spot for a couple of laps until the sun disappears again.

Today again reminded me that the Canon 580EX II is a piece of trash -- I had to reseat it dozens of times and toggle the power switch to keep it from jumping out of high-speed sync and ETTL. All of this after Canon repaired it.

BASP #2 Candlestick Photo Gallery

September 30, 2008

[Update: Found] Help Find Shelley Olds' Stolen Bike!

Yay! Police found the bike abandoned by the thief. Speculation is that the track bike was a bit too much.

September 28, 2008



Christine Thorburn -- two-time Olympian, 2004 US TT champion, Palo Alto doctor -- bade farewell to the sport at the World Championships in Varese, Italy. I had the pleasure of seeing her put the pain on the field at the Giro di SF and SF Twilight races as she prepared for her farewell on the international stage.

It unfortunately had to end with an injury to her hand after she was forced into the barriers, but as the CycleTo video interview makes clear, she appears ready for retirement.

September 17, 2008

SF Twilight Links

SF Twilight20080913_4691

Stephanie's writeups on RoadbikeReview:

September 14, 2008

SF Twilight: Men's Race

SF Twilight20080912_4332-1

The men's race was too chaotic for me to even begin to narrate, so here's a jumble of photos that you can attempt to sort out. There was a whole lotta Team Successful Living and Time Pro duking it out, breaks going away and quickly reeled in, and then Daniel Ramsey off the front in a two-man break with two laps to go. All of us who saw Ramsey trounce the field at Sea Otter had a feeling it was game over at this point.

Adam Switters took a gentle ride into the hay bales right in front of me -- turn 2 was a bit messy. He crashed too close for the lens I was using, so all I can offer is this:

Switters takes a dive into the hay bales

... Switters was soon back in the mix:

Switters bridges SF Twilight20080912_4355-1

I've been studying Mark Johnson's reels for some time now, so the over-the-shoulder, 16mm wide-angle shots were me starting to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Mark had some great photos from the Interbike crit, so I've been practicing in anticipation of shooting it this year. Mark used two flashes: one to light the rider (possibly snooted) and the other to light the ground. I stuck with one flash, but set it to 70mm zoom to spotlight the rider in the center and create some interesting flash-shadow artifacts.

SF Twilight20080912_4459 SF Twilight20080912_4348-1 SF Twilight20080912_4470 SF Twilight20080912_4366-1 SF Twilight20080912_4445-1 SF Twilight20080912_4377-1 SF Twilight20080912_4426-1 SF Twilight20080912_4412-1

SF Twilight20080912_4482

SF Twilight: Women's Race

Not feelin' like prose tonight, so lets recap in photos.

Vanderkitten SF Twilight20080913_4633

Race starts as the sun starts to set.

Vanderkitten SF Twilight20080912_4369 SF Twilight20080912_4352

Kat Carroll goes with a break and jumps free.

Kat Carroll Breaks Free

Kat Carroll collects a lot of laps while Christine Thorburn, Shelley Olds, Laura Van Gilder, and Chrissy Ruiter chase.

Kat Carroll SF Twilight20080912_4278-1 Shelley Olds SF Twilight20080912_4263-1

SF Twilight20080912_4293-1 Vanderkitten SF Twilight20080912_4286-1

Kat Carroll is reeled in and soon the whole field comes back together.

Kat Caught SF Twilight20080912_4303-1

Somehow Shelley Olds still finds the legs to follow the attacks on the uphill before the finish and take the sprint.

Shelley Olds Wins SF Twilight

And my flash fails to recycle fast enough, so you'll have to make do with these better lit shots.

Shelley Olds SF Twilight20080912_4323-1 Shelley Olds SF Twilight20080912_4263 Shelley Olds SF Twilight20080912_4508

September 11, 2008

Heiden and Testa at the Bike Outfitter, Los Altos

fasterstrongerbetter.jpgEric Heiden and Max Testa will be at the Bike Outfitter in Los Altos on Saturday, September 13th, to sign their new book, Faster, Stronger, Better. Levi Leipheimer doesn't seem to be able to speak two sentences without mentioning Max Testa, so it may be worth stopping by to find out their training techniques.

September 1, 2008

Giro di San Francisco 2008 Photos



Brooke Miller, national champion twice over. Christine Thorburn, 2-time Olympian training for her farewell ride at World's. And many more. It was a great field at the Giro di San Francisco today. It's been too long since I've shot a race, so it was a great course and great field to shake off the rust.

Giro di San Francisco 2008 Photos

July 1, 2008

MBGP Summaries

As you can tell from the previous posts, I was down at Manhattan Beach Grand Prix with the Roadbikereview crew. Rather than waste my fingers typing about what went on there, you should read Lyne's coverage of the event. I will add one funny moment: I was setting up to photograph the finish of the Men's Cat 2 race when a Rock Racing rider comes through, arms raised in victory. While I'm busy thinking, "WTF? Isn't there another lap?" the rider gets this panicked look on his face, realizes his mistake, and punches the accelerator again.

FYI: if you haven't been checking out Lyne's Podium In Sight blog, you've been missing out on the real North American scene, i.e. not just the touristy stuff when the international teams drop by.

MBGP Final Crash Sequence

Fast Freddie Crash by  Cleaveran O. Law

Photo by Cleaveran O. Law

Jelly Belly's Nic Sanderson took the notorious final turn a bit hot and ended up taking out Fast Freddie. In didn't interfere with his leadout for Rahsaan Bahati, who jumped onto Brad Huff's wheel and sprinted for the win. Despite a full flip over the handlebars, Freddie didn't look any worse for the wear when he showed up at the finish line to congratulate teammate Rahsaan Bahati. Cleaveran Law was there to snap the photos while everyone else was off shooting the tame finish line.

Crash Photo Sequence, via Marco Off the Front

June 29, 2008

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix photos

Brooke Miller - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Rahsaan Bahati Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Rahsaan Bahati - (c) Ken Conley Amber Rais - (c) Ken Conley

Apologies for the brief post. We flew into LAX at 9am this morning, had fun at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, took some so-so photos, and flew back at 6pm. Photo upload is now in progress and on autopilot. I'm off to bed.

June 27, 2008

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix this weekend

I'll be daytripping to Manhattan Beach Grand Prix this weekend to checkout the hard-charging 1.4-mile circuit action. Podium In Sight has a preview.

April 8, 2008

Boggs III (part 2)

Mad Cat - (c) Ken ConleyMad Cat - (c) Ken Conley
Photos by Ken Conley

The rest of the Boggs III photos are up: the set is now a whopping 300+ photos. These are more sedate compared to my crimes against zoom. If you're Internet connection can handle the load, check 'em out. I would pare down the set, but I wanted to give people a fair shot at seeing a personal photo.

April 7, 2008

Congrats Lauren!

Lauren - (c) Ken Conley
Lauren, not at Santa Cruz

Cat 3 ripping up the pro crit:

Winning a pro race, in a solo break no less. Dang.

Boggs III (part 1)

Zoom Fun - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Mad Cat - (c) Ken Conley Breakaway Bikes - (c) Ken Conley

Zoom Fun - (c) Ken Conley Zoom Fun - (c) Ken Conley Zoom Fun - (c) Ken Conley

Boggs III Photo Gallery

Boggs III is an 8-hour MTB endurance affair up on Cobb Mountain, north of Calistoga. It takes place in a pine-needly forest that reminds me a lot of being back on the east coast.

It was my first time mountain biking in probably five years and my first time riding a full suspension, so needless to say I had a blast -- even with 20 pounds of camera gear on my back. Boggs III is a fun ideal of a MTB event: a bunch of people camping in the middle of a forest with live music, dogs running around, and kegs of New Belgium.

I took hundreds of photos of standard portraits, but as I and the riders got more tired, I started throwing in some ridonkulous slow-shutter-zoom shots that you see featured above. Fun, though you waste about half your reel. I'll have about another hundred photos to upload tonight from my wide-angle lens. Nothing as fun as you see above; mostly a bunch of panning shots.

Unfortunately I just found out that my friend Carl who lent me the bike was seriously injured, so I hope that his recovery goes well. He's the nicest person I met at the Tour of California and the type who has no trouble or hesitation stepping into whatever role is needed, so it sucks to see him injured while taking photos and video to help promote the race.

Boggs III Photo Gallery

March 30, 2008

Ronde van Brisbeen Circuit Race 2008

Freddie Rodriguez - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Men's Cat 3 - (c) Ken Conley Men's Cat 3 - (c) Ken Conley

BMC Break - (c) Ken Conley BMC Break - (c) Ken Conley

yes, I blew the finish shot and tried to hide it with bad creative photoshopping...

Ronde van Brisbeen 2008 Circuit Race Photos

Stage 2 of Ronde van Brisbeen is a 1.7-mile circuit race in the Brisbane Highlands. This year's event was brutal with its smack-you-in-the-face headwind on the climb to the finish. Gusts were strong enough to knock over the hay bales used in the turns.

BMC led an attack on nearly every lap up this climb with Cal Giant covering, which quickly shelled most of the pack. Surprise entry Freddie Rodriguez looked fairly comfortable in the lead group, having just finished off a burrito 15 minutes before race time. BMC sprung a two-man break with Nathan Miller and Brent Bookwalter that quickly gained a minute lead. A Cal Giant rider tried to bridge but the windy conditions were too much. Fast Freddie tried to pull it back, but he eventually found himself accompanied by only two riders: one of them from BMC.

I used this race to practice for the Tour de Georgia. You can probably tell from the gallery what shots I was practicing. I don't like going for the special effects shots too much, but they're fun in small doses.


Ronde van Brisbeen 2008 Circuit Race Photos

March 23, 2008

Copperopolis 2008

Copperopolis - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Women's Finish - (c) Ken Conley Copperopolis - (c) Ken Conley

Copperopolis 2008 Photos

Scene: sitting on a hill overlooking the finish, a bike is laying still in the grass. "Popssssssssssshhhhhhhhhh..." One of its tires gives up -- it bore its rider to the finish, but Copperopolis took its toll.

I went out to Copperopolis this year, billed as the Paris-Roubaix of California. Intead of pave, there are roads that were never properly paved, cattle grates, and water bottles dislodged by the bumpy descent. The course itself features beautiful climbs up canyons, a lake, farm lands, vineyards, and rolling green hills. As a photographer, I couldn't be more thrilled that I wasn't riding, especially after I saw so many riders carrying their broken bikes.

Several winners were disqualified for crossing the yellow line at the finish, making it the most decisive part of the course. The yellow line started in the final 100m to the finish and was a bit like putting a driving test at the end of a brutally difficult day.

Pro 1 - (c) Ken Conley

Taylor Tolleson - (c) Ken ConleyThe Pro Men's race was a BMC vs. Cal Giant slugfest. BMC brought Taylor Tolleson, Mike Sayers, Jackson Stewart, Jonathan Garcia, and Scott Nydam among others. Cal Giant brought their armada of 14 riders. Tolleson and Sayers were among the four BMC riders and four Cal Giant riders in the lead break of eleven that started the final lap. I left before the actual finish, but I hear that Tolleson won.

Copperopolis 2008 Photos

March 15, 2008

Gough and Peterson Memorial Ride

Memorial Site - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

On a day that was both beautiful and sad, thousands of riders showed up to pay their respects to Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough. Riders moved in a slow procession down Foothill to Stevens Canyon, with the Sheriff's department pitching in road closures and a rolling barricade.

Memorial Ride Photos

Beat the Clock 03/08 Photos

Beat the Clock 3.15.2008 - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Photos from today's Beat the Clock TT are going up. A little bit of rain on the roads didn't keep riders from coming to test themselves against the clock.

Beat the Clock 03/08 Photo Gallery

January 24, 2008

Meet Phil and drink wine in Los Gatos (for $25)

It looks like there's no end to cycling celebrity fundraisers you can make the rounds on to gear up for the Tour of California. In addition to the Prologue Challenge and Breakaway From Cancer w/ Hincapie, you can also see Phil Liggett speak at Testarossa Vineyards in Los Gatos.

Phil Liggett - "The Voice of Cycling" will be live and on stage at Testarossa Vineyards in Los Gatos, California, Wednesday night, February 13th at 6pm. Phil has been broadcasting top professional cycling races including the Tour de France and the Olympic games since the late 1970s. He has become a household fixture on televisions in at least five continents. His voice, passion and enthusiasm for cycling is unmistakable.

Come meet Phil and enjoy many interesting stories from his years covering the professional peloton. Hosting Phil will be the Bay Area's own Bruce Hildenbrand. Bruce has been a cycling journalist in print, video and radio for nearly 25 years. Come and learn the true inside stories from professional cycling that you won't hear on TV or in print.

100% of the proceeds of this event will go to the Junior Track Cycling Development Program at San Jose's Hellyer Park Velodrome. To learn more about Junior Track Cycling in Northern California go to:

Doors open at Testarossa Vineyards 19th Century winery at 6pm. Light appetizers, wine, beer, and soft drinks will be served before Phil and Bruce come on stage at 7pm. A silent auction benefiting Junior Track Cycling of rare and priceless cycling memorabilia, many donated by Cupertino Bike Shop, as well as limited edition autographed bottles of rare wines will also be available to bid on before the show starts at 7pm.

The first 50 event tickets purchased will get front section VIP priority seating, so get your tickets today.

Event Tickets

Breakaway From Cancer + George Hincapie Ride, Palo Alto, Feb 10

Hincapie to the startBreakaway From Cancer is hosting a 25-mile charity ride with George Hincapie on February 10th. The ride starts at the Stanford Blood Center in Palo Alto and will continue along the Portola Loop. They've amassed some nice fundraising Incentives for those who participate:

  • All fundraisers who raise $400 will receive a Breakaway from Cancer jersey autographed by George Hincapie.
  • All fundraisers who raise $750 will receive access to a special Meet and Greet with George Hincapie before the ride on Sunday, February 10, 2008.
  • The first 10 fundraisers who raise $1,500 will have the opportunity to start in 1st wave and ride with George Hincapie and will receive 2 VIP Hospitality passes for a Bay Area stop of the Amgen Tour of California.
  • The individual who raises the most money will receive a Giant Road Bike and opportunity to ride in the motorcade on one stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Event Details