I suppose I did dangle a bit of a carrot before about what I did yesterday, not out of any sense of mischief or suspense, but genuinely because I wasn't sure if I could advertise what I was doing because of any publishing or copyright issues. Thankfully none of my concerns were warranted and the good people at What Mountain Bike and Joolze the photographer have no problems about me telling the story.
As you are all aware I do a weekly Blog for the Bike Radar website. That happened purely by luck after a chance encounter on Facebook with MTB Journo Steve Worland, who without wishing to embarrass him has always been my favourite MTB writer. It's probably best if I don't say for how long for both of our ego's. Suffice it to say Purple anodised MTB accessories were all the rage at the time along with 1" travel elastomer suspension forks!
Anyway, on the back of the Bike Radar Blog, Matt Skinner the editor felt my story was worth a feature in the Magazine itself and sent Joolze Dymond (cycling photoist extradordinaire) over to my place to do a photoshoot to accompany the article.
I was totally unsure what to expect on a photoshoot as I've never done one before, and to be honest the weather wasn't that great, rain, bitingly cold wind and muddy ground so I was a bit er, nervous is the wrong word, but you know...
Joolze bowled up at my house mid day as promised and after a quick cuppa and a chat about what she wanted for the shoot off we went. Basically she wanted high ground, a great landscape to frame it, be it a city or scenery. I chucked my Marin in my motor and we drove round to the back of the Waseley Hills as I had an idea to use the Malverns and the Worcestershire Countryside as a backdrop. We got the kit out of our cars, (Joolze carries more kit than I did when I was the Army) and we started our walk round the back of the Hills to where I thought would be a good place for the piccies.
It was at this point I discovered how Joolze likes to work. While wandering up the Bridleway I mentioned a Trig Point at the very top of the Waseleys, just in passing like you do, and she then decided to go up there instead, a bit out of the way from where we first said we'd go, but hey ho crack on, Joolze is the professional! A change of direction and a bit of a slog and we were there.
Like I said, I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe a few pics of me pedalling along the bridleway, maybe the odd pic of me standing by my Marin, take about 10 minutes and we'd be back in time for tea and medals.
What I wasn't expecting was Joolze to produce out of her Tardis like kit bag sets of lights, wirless technology and stuff like that and proceed to start photographing me more times than I ever been photographed before, even at my wedding! Perhaps I should have cottoned on a bit quicker when she told me on our little trek to the top that the pro MTBs she photo's get sick of her saying "can you do that again?"
So, loads of head and shoulder shots of me leaning on the Trig Point, then Joolze says she wants me to pedal up and down a bit, so then the curse of the Chapman strikes and I discover that I have punctured my back wheel during the walk up to the top. So proceed to change it and Joolze snaps away at me changing the inner tube. As Joolze said, you never know what the magazines want!
Then a wander over to an "interesting looking tree" to stand by and be photographed and then the wind then decided to step up and become a howling gale! I think at this point it might be worth mentioning that it's not a matter of point and shoot like us holiday snap folks do, oh no, not a bit of it. Light to be measured, lights to be set up and the shot needs to be framed. Then take the photo and just one more time please!
I think by then Joolze was starting to feel the effects of the cold, rain and wind, I know I was! So we bimbled back the way we had come to do some pedalling shots in a copse along the ridge, at least it was out of the wind! Shot was set up, then I did the pedal through thing, again and again and again.
Time to go home now, and as sod's law dictates just as we were nearly down to the bridleway, the sun came out, so Joolze says "stand there, let's not waste the light!" And few thousand more pics were snapped.
Back to the car, and again the curse of Chapman hit. I'd loaded my bike and kit into the boot and was doing a 3 point turn when I heard an almighty grinding noise, oh shit, I haven't forgotten to put my front wheel in the boot have I? I jumped out of the car expecting to see a mangled front wheel. But no, it was a mangled helmet, I'd only driven over my bloody lid! One of the things they hammer home to you in the Army is that when you are ready to drive off location, do a last minute sweep for kit. I always do that. Usually. But for what ever reason I didn't yesterday and my lid paid the price of my stupidity. At least my Muvi helmet cam had pinged off and was ok.
Back home, and Joolze wanted some pics of me and my bikes in my garage, so by then I guessed what would happen, cars shifted back on the drive, lights out on stands. Lighting brollys the whole shebang. I did see the net curtains of suburbia twitching. At least the neighbours will have something to gossip about!
All in all a fantastic 2 and a half hours out which I enjoyed tremendously. Thanks to Matt Skinner at What Mountain Bike for giving me a chance to have a very small look at a piece of his world and finally thanks to Joolze whose patience, professionalism and enthusiasm was obviously needed to get through a shoot with a rank amateur like me.Ta Joolze!
Onto usual stuff. I am still feeling like crap, tired and achey still. No pedal today. Bugger.