I never thought that I’d find comradeship in cycling: Nor did I ever think that I’d lose the love of photography by spending time with photographers.
But here I am, perched in the window, on a bench of the dining table, looking over the top of my Macbook, past a jumble of breakfast dishes and gazing at my track-bike, smiling. And, alternatively, flicking through sparse and infrequent folders in iPhoto - moping at the lack of activity.
Two or three times a week I ride at the Velodrome which is 2km from home. It is normally a 05:30 start: a banana and a bidon of water upon waking, and then carry Frankie to the car and off we go. Sometimes it’s an enduro session; sometimes skills training; and sometimes I go with the aim of 3 hideous lactic burns in an hour. But here, in a very singular coliseum, I find comrades. I am foolish and lack self-moderation (in almost all situations), so yesterday after a warm-up which descended into a farce of who can ride the fastest… I found myself lying on the floor on the infield and lost in full belly laughs at our idiocy. As I pick myself up and shoulder the bike, ready to leave, I hear over my shoulder: “don’t forget to rest up Clive!” Later this weekend, friends found at the velodrome will pop over for lunch.
It is in cycling that I have found laughter, friendship, coaching, carousing, … and comradeship. I never saw it coming.
Yet, when it was suggested that I attend Photoclub I had every expectation of finding friendship and motivation, yet the instead I retracted into my shell and have decided to not go back. It is in the company of accomplished photographers that I have lost the will. I *know* that I take plain, twee, naff, ‘vernacular’ photographs. But when sat amongst people of genuine talent and desire to shoot unique and moving scenes, I quiver and waver. I am not a strong enough photographer to be faced with other photographers and still remain standing. Also, I respect the pain-cave on the track, and anyone who attends and rides at any speed which sees them knocking on the door of Messrs Pain, Exhaustion, and 170bpm is a legend to me. Yet I am perhaps self-reflective when I am reviled by the same efforts at a viewfinder.
I used to find such joy and solace in cycling alone, and sharing my photography with friends and family. Now I take no pleasure in blood on the floor from a heart on my sleeve that’s bleeding. But instead actual happiness is found in being collapsed on the floor, sleeves soaked from sweat and my heart maniacally beating.