A photo has the capacity to tell a story in a way that no other medium can. It often captures a moment in its entirety unlike film, which can be restricted by its resolution and frame rate. The photo allows the viewer to become engaged in not only a visual image, but allows them to explore the surroundings and develop an understanding of the “moment.” The moment includes things such as the atmosphere of the crowd, the passion and drive seen in a racer’s eyes, or the sign of crushing defeat shown in the faces of those who tried so hard and failed. These are the untold stories. They are the stories that were not deemed significant enough to make it into the videos of filmmakers or the pages of writers. This is Ontario, this is us, this is our story.
A moment is difficult to be captured through writing or film simply because of the method it is conveyed. Film often loses moments because of its progressive and continuous nature. As long as the video keeps playing, each moment will be passed and forgotten. Each new frame will be introduced over the last, eclipsing moments and making them things of the past. Writing functions in a similar way. As the reader decodes the words on the page, they develop a for ever changing perception of the message being conveyed. The message is developed much like a snowball as it rolls, the reader picking up more information as they scroll down the page. This “moment” is never really true since it is not fully developed until each and every word on the page is read and understood. But what happens if the reader misses a word, skips a sentence, or forgets what they read? Can they just go back and read what they had missed? Would that damage the message, and alter the essential natural development of the true moment?
So what does a photo do differently that neither film nor words can do? A photo has the ability to capture true moments since it exposes our mind to a single image where time is not a factor. Only in a photo can time stand still along with the burden of its accompanying mood, tone, emotion, and atmosphere. The viewer can look at the still image and take the time to develop their unique interpretation of the “moment.” Each viewer will have an original analysis of the photo depending on whether they know the people in the image, were in the image, live in the same country the photo was taken, and the list could go on. All the factors compile to develop the viewer’s intricate perception of the image, which will inevitably define their opinion of what the “moment” is for that photo. Each interpretation for each image will be unique and different for each individual, which is what makes a photo compilation an effective way of displaying a year’s moments.
This blog is a combination of 64 photos which capture the moments from the 2011 DH season in Ontario. The photos are in order from most recent to oldest, to provide the illusion of a "walk through time" starting today. My intent with choosing these pictures was not necessarily to fill the page with jaw dropping photos, but rather to tell the story of this season through a simple yet descriptive medium. I picked a number of pictures, each different from one another, that will hopefully keep the moments of riding and racing in Ontario throughout 2011 alive for you.
1. Craig Thompson roosting up sand on a steep bank.
2. Nick and Tom from EastSide Cycle followed by Greg Karges at Dagmar.
3. The EastSide Cycles guys and their toonie race setup at Dagmar.
4. Kevin Norris shredding the 2012 Norco Aurum 1 at the 4th annual Turkey Sesh.
5. Tyler Skrinek on Rails. He will beat you down the hill any day, but would rather not race.
6. Marc Landry The man behind the lens for most of the pictures you see here.
7. Spectators, riders, friends, family, describes the Ontario DH scene in a nutshell.
8. Riding with friends, and perfect timing for the shot, what more could you ask for?
9. Despite some of the changes over the years, Blue Mountain has been critical to keeping DH racing and riding alive in Ontario.
10. Jon Acker showing us how its done in North Bay.
11. Sid... Wins by 3 seconds on a 50 second course... The image speaks for itself.
12. Chair balancing ends with Steve Gauci on the ground. A good sense of humor goes a long way at the end of the day.
13. Grant Nichol at Provincial Champs.
14. Goats Path, fast and loose. Rain can destroy even the fastest riders' race run on a clay-based hill.
15. I wonder if anyone stopped to have one.
16. Sid after his DH win at the East Coast Open.
17. Rob Fraser fast and focused, hopping through the bowling alley.
18. The top three women from the East Coast Open DH race.
19. It takes a lot of hard work to plan and organize a successful race season. Without this group of people, we wouldn't have had such a great season. Huge thanks goes out to all of them.
20. Kids race at the East Coast Open. Look to these kids for the up and coming racers!
21. This race got the weekend's loudest response from the crowd. Brad and Matt Zdriluk, both elite racers, both brothers, and competing head to head early on in the elimination-style Dual Slalom Competition. Younger brother Brad wins this one and continues on to defeat Mike Hermanovsky in the Finals.
22. Jordan Gignac waiting in the start gate at Camp Fortune DH #5.
23. Shane Joachim followed by Anton Urtan at Camp Fortune.
24. Zach Tatem at the Blue Mountain DH #4 making quick work of the "hospital pass" jump.
25. The Adrenaline racer Towheels team at Blue Mountain DH #4.
26. A train during practice at Kelso DH #3
27. David Klaver had his water wings on for this one at Kelso.
28. Our hills may not be that big, but we use them to build courses where big bikes are at least preferred.
29. Tom Kakamousias floating into the chute at Kelso DH #3.
30. Taylor "swift" Rowlands throws down some style for Marc Landry on the step down at Kelso. Check out the thin trail of dust following directly behind his back tire, so cool!
31. I think a part of the reason we have such a strong riding community in Ontario is because we have such short courses. You'll never have any trouble finding a buddy to hike up the hill with.
32. Josh Toohill with undeniable steeeeeze.
33. Graeme Duff with a strong drive out of the berm at Horseshoe DH #2.
34. Mike Hermanovsky on the bike with Jamie Tice in the background screaming his lungs off.
35. 2010 O-Cup Series Champion Harold Woolnough flying over the step down at Horseshoe.
36. The Silent Norco Race Team pits at Horseshoe.
37. Horseshoe DH #2 was short and sweet with plenty of challenging spots
38. Kyle Lockyer riding through the intimidating "spectator tunnel" surrounding the big step down.
39. Brad Zdriluk is Chuck Norris on wheels, he can turn even when in the air.
40. Kyle Sangers, by the looks on the faces of the spectators he must have just done something crazy.
41. Anton Urtan getting focused at Kelso DH #1.
42. The Masters at Kelso.
43. Steve Gauci pinned going into the infamous Kelso rock drop.
44. Adam Donlan in front of John French through the last rock garden at Kelso DH #1.
45. The Ontario Air Cavalry/Tuf Rack team riding in style.
46. Josh Toohill scrubs at Kelso... Speechless.
47. Exploration is alive in Ontario. I'm not sure where that is but I'd like to try it out!
48. Rob Carmichael railing a corner at Shithouse, one of Ontario's finest riding spots.
49. Kris Evoy showing off his skills and brand new Santa Cruz V10 at Shithouse.
50. April snowfall with Jeremy Anderson riding Lactate Threshold at Big Trees.
51. Jordan Whicher not worrying about the snow, ice, and mud on this pre-season ride.
52. I've noticed a strong correlation between Winter riding and winning. Rob Fraser in this one.
The Soil Tasters
53. It doesn't matter if only 25 feet of your favourite trail is ride able... that's better than nothing in February.
Downhill mountain biking is a sport of unknown and changing variables, which makes perfection while riding virtually impossible. These shots are the handful of keepers from the many crashes, spills, endo's, cases, scorpions, and wash-outs of 2011.
54. Tifenn Vialatte takes a spill at the Tuf Rack Fall Classic at Sir Sam's. She happens to break her humerus in this crash.
55. Mike Oosterveld came into this corner a little too fast. He probably told himself "if you aint first you're last!"
56. I'm not sure who this is, but he is either in some serious pain, or really wanted to know how those plants smell. Notice the seat wedgie in this one.
57. Radney Pritchard going for the accidental nac nac at Horseshoe.
58. I know that Steve Hayes can take some seriously awesome pictures, but I never knew that he mastered the no footed bubba scrub.
59. I wonder what we're having for dinner tonight... I hope its tater tots! Crap, how'd my bike get all the way out there? Check out the hilarious expression on the guy's face in the background.
60. A scorpion in the making at Sir Sam's.
61. Getting ejected after coming up short on a drop... Ouch.
62. This guy gets extra points for break dancing during his crash. 9.5/10
63. Jon Acker tries to bail but his handlebars get in the way.
64. Marc Landry snaps this sequence of Oskar Andersen managing to land safely on his back instead of on his head.
When you reflect on a year and all its occurrences, it's amazing to think that it was only 365 days long. Looking back at the photos from the beginning of the year helps to show us the significance of everything that has happened in this short amount of time. By the end of it, I looked through almost 400 pages of photos on Pinkbike searching for pictures to use in this compilation. I hope everyone is happy with the result, and if not then you can look through the 400 pages yourself and see if you find any others you like
!...Those who complain about what they have at their doorstep have never tried to create something truly great...