Monument Valley RAAM Photo

22
Feb
2012

This photo from last year’s Race Across America is one of my favorite cycling photos ever.  Not only did I have to share it with all of you, I wanted to let you know more about the photographer, location, and rider pictured in it as well.  In addition to all of that, I’m also going to give you a few details on the incredible “Cycling Landscape” Photo Contest we’ve got coming very soon.

Dex Tooke in Monument Valley RAAM 2011 – Photo by Dan Joder

Photo Details:

Date: June 17, 2011

Camera: Nikon D90, f/11, 1/125, ISO200, 70-300 Nikkor zoom at 100mm

Description of photo by Dan Joder:

This is a classic image of RAAM–the solo rider climbing a long grade in the spectacular Monument Valley.  Although there was almost no traffic in the area, there were two or three cars on the road in the far distance as Dex approached my lens–I had hoped to have a completely clear highway to emphasize the feeling of emptiness and space.  The clone tool in Photoshop took care of the motor vehicle problem and turned the image into what I felt and saw when I was there.  I also experimented with various versions of this image from B&W to different special effects as Dex was, at one time, considering the image for the cover of his book.

Dan Joder

Although Dan has spent the past 25 years of his life as a Cat 3 (and presently a Masters) bike racer, he doesn’t consider his photography to be focused on cycling.  Generally his photos are of nature, landscapes, and streets.  But when he crewed for his friend, Dex Tooke, in the 2011 Race Across America (RAAM) that all changed.

During last year’s RAAM, Dan’s official job was taking a shift as one of the “Navigators” in the follow van, but whenever his hands were free, he was shooting photos of Dex and the scenery around him.
Going coast to coast at 15mph is a great way to see the country!  If you don’t know much about RAAM though, rest assured, it is most certainly the Mt. Everest of competitive ultra cycling.  For these riders, the competition is much more an internal, psychological affair than a battle against one another.  All, from the fastest to the slowest, deal with fatigue, saddle sores, hallucinations, sleep deprivation, wind, hail, heat, traffic, crew conflicts, navigation errors, mechanical issues and more in their 3000-mile crossing of America.
If you get a chance to crew for a RAAM rider–DO IT! 
– Dan Joder

Dex Tooke:

Last year, Dex Tooke was on his second attempt to tame the Beast that is RAAM.  You could say he had some “unfinished business” (his slogan and the likely title of his upcoming book) because, in 2010, he was forced to withdraw just 180 miles short of the finish line in Annapolis.  In 2011, he was successful, crossing the finish less than three hours before the time cut-off.  By doing so, he became just the sixth rider over 60 years of age to complete the event.  To put this in even greater perspective, ten times more people have climbed Mt. Everest than have successfully finished RAAM as a solo racer.

Cycling Landscape Photo Contest

We’re not going to unleash too many details right now, but if I were you I would go locate the greatest photo you’ve ever seen (or taken) that includes a cyclist and an amazing landscape backdrop.  We’ll be back to give you more details for this contest on Friday.
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