Category: California 2009

July 13, 2009

Gallery: San Rafael Twilight

SRT Sunset - (c) Ken Conley
Bahati BW - (c) Ken Conley SRT Church - (c) Ken ConleyCoryn Rivera Wins - (c) Ken Conley San Rafael Twilight - (c) Ken Conley

Click here for more San Rafael Twilight 2009 Photos

16-year-old Coryn Rivera brings her winning ways from SoCal up to NorCal.

Rahsaan Bahati finally gets beat on NorCal soil by TT1's Ken Hanson, with the likes of Ben Jacques-Mayne, Jackson Stewart, Chad Gerlach, Bernard van Ulden, Fast Freddie, and Daniel Ramsey in the field.

Good times and many photographs

Update: Podium Insight's Race Report and Photos

July 12, 2009

Video: Strobing the field

Thien took this video of me shooting at the San Rafael Twilight Crit tonight. It's pretty cool to see the stroboscopic effect of my flash freezing the riders as they zoom past. I'd love to show you the photos that came as a result, but they're garbage, unlike Thien's cool video, shot with nothing more than an iPhone 3GS.

The basics of how I shoot a corner like this is I target one or two riders in the lead pack, usually riders I know. I then shotgun the rest, just to see if I get any freebies. I usually don't, but you sometimes you get an idea for a future shot when you take out the garbage.

July 1, 2009

Kids Race

Kids Race - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

June 28, 2009

Photos: Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Mens Race

Rahsaan Bahati Corners - (c) Ken Conley
Rahsaan Bahati Three-peats - (c) Ken Conley

Click here for more Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Men Photos

The mens' race at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix was loaded with expectation for Rahsaan Bahati. He's the winner of the two previous Manhattan Beach races and US crit national champion, and yet he had to suffer the humiliation of being relegated to the Rock Racing amateur squad in order to meet UCI regulations on age limits.

But the Rock Racing roster had plenty of turmoil this year and Bahati had his pro status returned to him once more. If that wasn't enough motivation, he had a stacked squad this year in the likes of U23 national crit champ Justin Williams, recently resigned Ivan Dominguez, Freddie Rodriguez and more.

Cal Giant did their best to stick it to Rock Racing with attacks from Patrick Briggs and James Mattis. Ouch had a strong squad with the likes of Rory Sutherland, Floyd Landis, and John Murphy, but they faded under the pressure of the Rock Racing armada.

There's little you can do in the face of so much expectation for one little race. Fast Freddie gave Bahati another leadout, this time avoiding crash, and the rest was three-peat.

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Men Gallery

Photos: Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Womens Race

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 - Women - (c) Ken Conley
Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 - Women - (c) Ken Conley

Click here for more Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Womens Race Photos

Proman's Coryn Rivera rocked the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. She's pretty much been tearing up the SoCal circuit. All the more astonishing is that she is 16 years of age, which means that she is out kicking the fields on junior gearing. Who knows what she'll do with some taller gears to turn.

The size of the field was pretty small this year and, as a result, the women were admonished/threatened before the race by one of the officials. They were told to bring a bigger field next time, lest their event be replaced by another mens' geezer division. I'm not sure where the wisdom lies in chastising the riders that actually chose to show up in spite of the gross disparity of purses ($15k vs $2k) or the fact that the MBGP lost its NRC status.

This isn't really a gallery of the pro women's race as I was on assignment for this one, and thus conserved my the cycles of my flash for riders of a particular team. It was stressful enough attempting to pick out two riders in a peloton and then get good framing on them.

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Womens Race Gallery

June 27, 2009

Nevada City: Tales of Champions

Shelley Olds Solo - (c) Ken Conley Lance Armstrong Group - (c) Ken Conley

Ben Jacques-Maynes and Shelley Olds both wrote up race reports and their great performances, with Ben providing the appropriate car analogy to compare Lance vs. Levi, and Shelley showing how one team had a plan that unfolded perfectly.

As a bonus, there's Podium Insight's Interview with Ben Jacques-Maynes at the American Velodrome Classic

Photos: American Velodrome Challenge Day 1

American Velodrome Challenge - (c) Ken Conley
American Velodrome Challenge - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click here for more American Velodrome Challenge 2009 Day 1 Photos

Cari Higgins gets a big photo for winning the Keirin and racing mega-tough in the Points race. Laura McCaughey and Higgins started accelerating heading into the final lap. McCaughey drifted up the lane, Higgins let out a yell and hit the deck. The officials decided to restart the race with five more laps. With a new rear wheel and a side of track rash, Higgins not only restarts, but also leads out the final sprint for her teammate Shelley Olds (above). See the blood that on the right knee? See the ripped arm warmer? See the mismatched rear wheels?

Anway, enjoy the photos. It was an interesting challenge shooting, but not being able to really kneel. Sometimes I like something like that to make me think differently. It was my very first time shooting Madison and I sucked at it. Every prediction I had for where the hand-sling would occur went wrong and I was far too optimistic about being able to shoot it wide.

June 23, 2009

American Velodrome Challenge this weekend at Hellyer


I'll be at the American Velodrome Challenge this weekend, will you? They'll have the winner of the women's race at Nevada City Classic, Shelley Olds, plus the only rider tough enough to hang with Lance and Levi, Ben Jacques-Maynes. Then there's the rider who really showed he isn't scared of Lance by doing this, Roman Kilun.

I'm also flying doing to photograph the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix for some NRC action. We'll see if the recently re-promoted Rahsaan Bahati can continue his streak there. Hopefully Brooke Miller will be there as well to go for another win.

Sorry that things have been so quiet here for the past couple of months, but things are heating up again. I've been meaning to link to other people's cool stuff, like Lyne's Felt-Holowesko-Garmin Moustache Contest, Air Force Cycling Classic and Clarendon Cup.

And there's also this video from Carson Blume of Womens Cycling Mag that shows Shelley Olds lapping riders like nobody's business. And Hernando looks to NVGP, Nevada City, and Dairlyand for inspiration.

New Madone?

Lance Armstrong Group - (c) Ken Conley

Levi Leipheimer Group - (c) Ken Conley

Lance and Levi were both sporting 'stealthy' Trek Madones at the Nevada City Classic. New prototype Trek? Beats me. Click photos to view large.

Update 3: RoadbikeReview points out some of the changes


Black Madone.jpg

Update 2:

Armstrong's bike from training camp (more photos), i.e. the old madone

Bikes - (c) Ken Conley

June 22, 2009

Nevada City Classic 2009: Pro Men (aka Lance Fest)

Lance Armstrong Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Lance Armstrong Post-Race - (c) Ken Conley
Lance Armstrong Attacks - (c) Ken Conley Lance Armstrong Attacks - (c) Ken Conley
Ben Jacques-Maynes - (c) Ken Conley Levi Pre-Race - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click here for more Nevada City 2009 Photos

The Nevada City Classic can add another awesome event to its storied book. I don't know how a tiny little historic town like Nevada City does it, but they had no trouble absorbing the throngs of Lance Armstrong worshippers that transformed the 1.1 mile cycling stadium. I've never heard a crowd at a cycling race as loud as I heard when Armstrong came across the finish line solo and it may be long before I witness something that awesome again. Michael Hernandez compared it to a football stadium -- which is about right, but imagine that on a city street instead. Sorry Tour of California, but I think the little town has you beat for premier California race of 2009.

The circuit is an excellent course that starts the riders going downhill before quickly turning back uphill, winding through the historic district, out over the rolling hills of the surrounding neighborhood, and then plunging back downhill into the historic district. It's a course that will break your legs and puts teams at the disadvantage. Even Astana's big three -- Armstrong, Leipheimer, Horner -- couldn't figure out what to do with Bissell's Ben Jacques-Maynes. They shed the rest of the field and pressed their advantage again and again, but it took a final assault from Mr. Seven-Time to put in a gap. Any day that you go up against two of the best time-trialists in the world and come away second is a victory.

Armstrong is looking in pretty good shape for the Tour de France. He looked 'fat' at the Tour of California, at least in a relative sense, but I didn't get that impression watching him this weekend. I still don't think he stands a chance in hell of winning, but he's in good enough shape that I think the Astana team dynamics with Contador won't be so healthy. As for Horner, he had trouble keeping pace and I wonder if he's healed-up enough from his recent crashes to make the Tour cut.

As for my own preparedness for dealing with LanceFest, I scored poorly. At the end of the womens' race I managed to sprain my quad while standing up (yes, that simple). I went from having the opportunity to shoot from moto to hobbling around on the sidelines. My injured quad meant that I could really only shoot from two points out on the course, but thankfully it's a pretty course. Lesson learned: always stretch, even for taking pictures.

Click here for more Nevada City 2009 Photos

Nevada City Classic 2009: Pro Women

Shelley Olds Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Shelley Olds Solo - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click here for more Nevada City Classic Photos

I followed most of the Women's race from the moto. The fireworks started on the first lap with a group of five getting a gap immediately. Proman had all the cards as they had three of the riders in this group -- Shelley Olds, Helene Drumm, and Rachel Neylan. TIBCO's champ Brooke Miller and mountain biker extraordinaire Katerina Nash seemed to be working together as best they could, but they were put under immediate pressure as Rachel Neylan launched an attack. Miller and Nash put in a lot of effort to bridge it back, but that only setup Shelley Olds' counter-attack.

Olds had the advantage on the hilly course and was soon lapping riders left and right. Miller and Nash strained to chase her back, but the tight turns were not friendly to chasers. It took a full lap at motorcycle speeds to bridge the gap between Miller/Nash and Olds, so there was little doubt that the move was decisive.

Brooke Miller and Katerina Nash - (c) Ken Conley Nevada City - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click here for more Nevada City Classic Photos

Transitive Panda

Lance Armstrong, virtual PotW


Roman Kilun, PotW

see Panda of the Week

May 11, 2009

San Francisco Twilight 2009 Cancelled

SF Twilight20080912_4332-1

This sucks, what else is there to say: San Francisco Twilight Criterium canceled for 2009 (via podiuminsight)

May 7, 2009

Tour of California Tearsheets

Road Bike Action Tearsheets

Road Bike Action Tearsheets

Road Bike Action Tearsheets Road Bike Action Tearsheets

Road Bike Action Tearsheets

My Tour of California shots made it into two issues of Road Bike Action. Several of my shots ran in the Tour of California gallery in the June issue (gallery includes photos from both me and Bettini), along with a Table of Contents spread. They also ran a shot of Vanderkitten's Jenn Reither at the Tour of California Women's Crit in the July issue, which also features a special on cycling for women.

April 29, 2009

RoadbikeReview checks out Sea Otter (Part II)

Some more Sea Otter Classic booth videos from RoadbikeReview:

April 27, 2009

Crash landing (Front and Rear Views)

Woo's always contributing to the NCNCA scene like no other, but no one expected him to pony up his shoulder to take this excellent footage -- both front and rear camera -- of this crash at the Wente 4+ Crit. You cross your fingers that poor Woo's gonna make it around... but that rear footage shows that even when you're good you need to be lucky.

Rooly Sunglasses Part II: Rooly Partial Review

Rooly "Partial" Sunglasses rooly partial.jpg

$89, glossy black, silver, glossy blue, matte chrome, interchangeable lenses

In the over-saturated arena of sports performance sunglasses, the Rooly "Partial" easily holds its own against heavy hitters Oakley, Giro, Smith and Rudy Project. They include lightweight "Trinine" frames, interchangeable lenses, shock-resistant Megol rubber nose and temple pads, polycarbonate lenses and 100% UVA and UVB protection.

These glasses are extremely comfortable, fit very securely on the face and don't get in the way of peripheral vision as they protect your eyes. While swapping lenses can get a little tricky, it was no more difficult than swapping out the lenses on a pair of Oakley Flak Jackets or Smith Reactor Max glasses. You can also order additional lenses through their website.

Each pair includes additional yellow lenses for low light conditions and a zippered neoprene case.

April 24, 2009

Rooly Sunglasses Part I: Rooly Proz Review

Liz Hatch - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Guest Blogger: Al Painter, Integrate Fitness

Southern California sunglasses manufacturer Rooly is probably the best kept secret in the eyewear industry. Their products are used by Major League baseball players, professional skiers, golfers and snowboarders as well Olympic track athletes and elite level endurance athletes. And, of course, professional cyclists like Tony Cruz and Taylor Tolleson of BMC as well as Liz Hatch of Vanderkitten, who was showing off her pink frames on the Laguna Seca race course.

Rooly came out to Sea Otter to showcase their wares so took the opportunity to give some of the lenses a spin.

Rooly Proz Sunglassesrooly proz.jpg

$109, glossy black, matte black, matte chrome, interchangeable lenses

First up was the Rooly Proz, which are part of their "Fashion Performance" line. The Proz feature an interchangeable lens system allowing you to adapt the glasses to whatever light conditions necessary. They feature lightweight, polycarbonate Trinine frames. I found changing the polycarbonate lenses to be a breeze -- "husband proof" as my wife called it.

While the lenses provide 100% UVA and UVB protection, they didn't seem to fit the same way after the initial swap. They also tended to sit higher on the nose and didn't seem as snug a fit. However they didn't fall off, slide or jiggle with activity, so don't let fit issues be a deal breaker that gets in the way of owning a high quality pair of eyewear. You can also try the larger Prospect frame.

Each pair also includes additional yellow lenses for low light conditions and zippered neoprene case.

April 19, 2009

Sea Otter Classic 2009 Gallery: Men's Circuit Race

Andy Jacques-Maynes - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Levi Leipheimer - (c) Ken Conley
Daniel Holloway - (c) Ken Conley
Bissell - (c) Ken Conley


It was the Bissell and Levi show, with a dash of Colavita. Bissell, because they owned the race, Colavita, because they tried but were outmanned, and Levi, because he's Levi. With the Tour de Georgia gone, Levi's schedule was freed up to drop on be Sea Otter for some laps around the course -- SRAM's sponsorship seemed to help entice him to come (as well as convince him, Lance, and Horner to go to Gila).

Bissell and Colavita made the first major break of six, which got a huge gap on the field. The two Felt U23 riders and Garmin's Holloway tried to contain it, but the break was too big. Apparently Bissell didn't like the makeup of that break, which contained two Colavita riders, so they were soon helping Levi chase it down. You knew that Levi was starting to hit it when the peloton came down the Corkscrew in fragments, slowly regrouping to prepare for another dose the next lap.

Bissell made two riders the next break, as did another Colavita rider, but with the odds 2:1 in Bissell favor, they were ready to let this one play out. Alex Howes of the Felt U23 team tried to bridge the gap, but it was far too much for a solo effort -- unless, perhaps, you're Levi Leipheimer, but Levi didn't seem terribly interested in towing a large group of riders up to the break.

Click to see more Men's Pro Circuit Race Gallery Click here for more photos from the Sea Otter 2009 Men's Pro Circuit Race

April 11, 2009

Copperopolis 2009

Ben Jacques-Maynes - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Copperopolis - (c) Ken ConleyPhoto by Ken Conley
Ben Jacques-Maynes - (c) Ken Conley Ben Jacques-Maynes - (c) Ken Conley
Levi Leipheimer - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Ben Jacques-Maynes loved the break today and it paid off. After an earlier two-man break helped whittle the field, BJM attacked with Scott Nydam at the end of the penultimate lap and stayed away until the end. On the final turn up the hill to the finish he was able to look back, see that Nydam lost his wheel, and coast to victory. Levi Leipheimer was part of the chase group but was unable to repeat his victory from two years back -- he noted with amusement on Twitter

Rachel Heal of Colavita took the women's race in a sprint with Touchstone's Olivia Dillon. I got to Copperopolis and missed most of that race, so don't have much to add in the way of details.

officially DQ'd for crossing yellow line somewhere:)! What an amateur! Hard race though, 5hr 270w av

My gallery for this year is a bit smaller. I was mostly motivated to go to Copperopolis to procrastinate on doing my taxes, but I was only willing to procrastinate so much...

Click for more Copperopolis 2009 Photos

April 5, 2009

Santa Cruz Crit 2009

First lap

Santa Cruz Crit-8

Today was a testing day for me. I hadn't used my camera or flash since getting them back earlier this week from the repair shop, so I wanted to make sure everything in order. My conclusion was that I was in worse working order than the equipment.

My time was limited today so I mostly focused on the Womens 1/2/3 race and left before the Men's Pro race was over. TIBCO really came to play in the women's race, constantly sending riders off the front. Kat Carroll spent quite a bit of time off the front before Alison Starnes took her place and rode solo all the way to the line. Katheryn Curi Mattis nearly single-handedly spoiled their day, bridging up to Carroll and still having enough left in the tank to nearly bring back Starnes.

From what I saw of the men's race, it looked like Daniel Holloway was lighting it on fire.

Click for more Santa Cruz 2009 photos

March 8, 2009

Menlo Park Grand Prix 2009

Menlo Park Grand Prix

Holloway Wins-12

Menlo Park Grand Prix-16

Click to see more Menlo Park Grand Prix 2009 Photos

Brooke Miller, Daniel Holloway, case closed.

March 3, 2009

Olds + Holloway to Worlds

Ride the World Cups 20081017_7386 +Shelley Olds 20080920_4891

Ride the World Cups 20081017_7413

Congrats to Shelley Olds and Daniel Holloway, who both got selected for the 2009 UCI Track Worlds in Poland. World Class Bay Area Action.

February 1, 2009

Sportvelo Training Camp

Sportvelo Camp

My yearly tune-up is the local Sportvelo training camp. Dan Smith had a great program this year with Christine Thorburn and Katheryn Curi Mattis joining the rides and giving talks. I stopped by on Saturday to shoot the climb up Highway 9 from the SAG vehicle. When the ToC rolls around everything has to be automatic, from shooting to processing, as there just aren't enough brain cells alive by the end otherwise, so to all of you thinking of shooting the ToC: get fit!

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