Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kinetic Grand Championship 2011

Memorial Day weekend has again came and gone with another spectacular episode of the Kinetic Grand Championship (formerly Kinetic Sculpture Race) in Humboldt County. Thousands of spectators from near and far arrived in Arcata, Eureka, and Ferndale to witness kinetic sculptures of all shapes, sizes, and genres compete in this years race. Despite the high winds on all three days, the weather held up rather nicely for both the racers and the observers. Day one took the riders from the Arcata Plaza, through the Arcata Bottoms, over to the Manilla Dunes, and finally to Halverson Park in Eureka. Day two, the racers braved the cold and windy conditions of Humboldt Bay, many of which struggled successfully in the wavy conditions, while others left their shame behind and received assistance to the takeout point. Once back on the road they pedaled, pushed, and hopped their way to Cannibal Island near Loleta. Day three the racers were originally supposed to cross the mouth of the Eel River, but again due to strong winds and dangerous conditions most took the alternate route into Ferndale where thousands were eagerly waiting their arrival.

Day 1 the weather was glorious as we stood watch along Jackson Ranch Road.

Sculptures with all kinds of functionality made their way past us. This one used an eccentric wheel that was propelled by bouncing on a platform.

Day two was hard for most while others had no qualms. This WASA sculpture cruised along without a hitch in Humboldt Bay.

All kinds of spectators showed up to watch us and the bizarre sculptures.

Despite a bit of drama dealing with registration requirements, the High Schoolers sculpture shoved on.

These flags show just how windy it was out on the bay Sunday.

On Monday, the sculptures and their entourage make thier way down Main Street in downtown Ferndale.

And chances to win a Fat Tire cruiser.

This is one way to beat those high gas prices. Over 40 miles on a unicycle is rather honorable.


This is just a few samples from the race. Many more photographs can be viewed and purchased from this year's race here at jmbarnesphoto.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tour of Unknown Coast 2011

Another successful Tour of the Unknown Coast has came and went with hundreds of riders from all over the nation. An unfortunate hectic semester had tremendous impacts on my ability to train/ride so I opted out of a shorter ride for photographing the hammerheads on the century. At first I was feeling a touch sentimental when all the riders started lining up before 7am last Saturday, but by the time I hit "The Wall" and watched those who had been training suffer, I knew I was having just as much fun enjoying the beautiful day and documenting the masochism in front of me. It was much easier chasing them on the KLR.

It was a sea of green Adventure's Edge jerseys at the starting line for the 2001 TUC.

It was mostly tight packs of riders for the first 10 miles or so coming out of the start and heading into Rio Dell.

The Avenue of the Giants was still dark (as usual) at 8:26 am. I had to bust out the strobe to catch the quickly moving front pack. Unfortunately the flash mount I had on the KLR came off somewhere on the endless hills scaring a rider coming around a blind corner. Luckily Bruce of Ferndale was nice enough to find its owner (me), and my sincere apologies to the rider getting a scare. A free photo for you two if you hunt me down.

#326 from Bellingham, Washington was the speed demon for the day. He broke away from the lead group early on. Here he was starting the climb up Panther Gap solo.

This threesome road strong and consistent all day. Although they never caught the solo lead guy, they would all finish very strong at the end of the day.

Matt Deshazo was also riding strong all day. An unfortunate chain issue at the top of the endless hills determined his higher place finish. "It's unfortunate, but I know how I would have finished," was Matt's response. Very true.

Trying to change up the typical TUC photos (many people hang out all day at The Wall), I headed over the windy, twisting roads of the infamous Endless Hills. I was reminded of how it almost drove me to hysteria last year as it really did seem to be endless.

The sinuous roads climb endlessly away from the still visible coast.

A rider pedals along a ridge where a section of the route can be seen in the background.

Beyond the endless hills the fog rolled in thick as a rider squeezes out his last reserves of energy for the last 5 miles.

Select photographs of the event can be seen here at jmbarnesphoto.com. To purchase photos please visit my events gallery at jmbarnesphoto.com/events.