We noticed a couple of comments in the Val di Fassa EWS preview wondering what Dave and Matthew bring along to shoot EWS, and for some photographer bike checks so we decided to roll the two things in one post.
On top of being able to shoot in what are at times miserable conditions, often while jetlagged, on minimal sleep, then staying up to edit and upload photos all night for several days on end, photographers on the circuit are all incredibly strong riders as well.
With Dave and Matthew, there are two big differences - camera setups and bikes. Dave shoots Nikon, and Matthew shoots Sony. Dave's bike is a Yeti SB150 Truq and Matthew is on a Trek Slash.
Both guys prefer to try to keep their bags as light as possible and weather conditions play a huge roll in how heavy the bags get. They have to carry everything needed for a day of riding and shooting including water and food.
Inside: Nikon D750 with 24-70 2.8 mounted, 15mm fisheye (collecting dust as it only gets used sparingly) ** Not shown is the Nikon 300 f4 (an awesome lens that is tack sharp and smaller/lighter than a 24-70 so super versatile)
Other items in the bag include Pro Bars, sunscreen, Band-Aids, Euros for cappuccino, ice cream, and beer between stages, a lens wiper and blower, spare batteries, and UCI photo badge and rainbow pass - because if they ever leave the pack, they would be forgotten. **Not shown are the rain cover and mesh bug mask (only for Fort William).
Dave's Medium SB150 tips the scale at 30.5 pounds. His rear shock is a Fox Float X2 with 165 psi, 2 volume reducers, LSC 14/HSC14, LSR 15/HSR 17 (from closed.)
Dave prefers a stiffer fork and a softer back end with a bit heavier compression and slower rebound, especially on steep terrain and when carrying quite a bit of weight on his back. He finds it quite similar to the setup I would run when racing or riding high-speed rough trails or bike parks/DH type tracks. For more mellow trails he will adjust the compression and rebound to be 1-2 clicks lighter on the rear shock and take a few psi out of the fork.
The ENVE wheels have been super reliable and Dave loves that you don't have to use rim tape. He's had no issues mounting Maxxis 2.5 tires by hand and also can remove them without tire levers, even with the stiffer Double down casings. He says, "Maxxis tires for life and the MaxGrip compound is simply unbeatable." This is his first time riding the Assegai and he loves it claiming there's almost too much traction out back at times.
SRAM does all drivetrain and braking duties for both photographers with XO Eagle groupsets and Code Brakes. SRAM's tech support at races is second to none at the races so should they run into any issues or break something, they're quickly taken care of and back to shooting.
Inside: Sony A7III, Sony 70-200 2.8 G Master, Zeiss Batis 18 2.8, Zeiss Batis 25 2, Rocket Air ProBar Meal Bar, ProBar Siracha Peanut Butter, electrolyte tabs, electrical tape, quick link, brake pads, batteries, Co2 head, zip tie, tape, towel, lens coat rain cover. If the weather looks iffy, he'll bring rain gear as well.
Matthew rides a 19.5 inch Trek Slash. He runs a 35mm Deity Copperhead stem and Deity Carbon Mowhawk bars. The drivetrain is all SRAM XO, with a 32 tooth chainring up front. The RockShox Lyrik has 3 tokens, with 82 psi. The RockShox Super Delux is at 183 psi.
Tires are Bontrager SE5 with a 2.4 front and 2.6 rear, 23 psi front and 25 rear. The code brakes have 200mm rotors. Matt says, "I honestly don't fuss about bike set up, I just kinda run it and hope everything comes out ok on the other end."
And there you have it. That's how some of the magic happens on an EWS race weekend.