2014 SpookyCross: Ghoulishly Challenging

scared the bejesus out of me, but the racers seemed unconcerned

The annual Spookycross race has, over the years, become the most popular CX race in Southern California. Maybe it has always been that way. The theme, the ever-popular costumed race, the twilight and night-time events, combine to give it an extra dose of festivity. Add to that this year was a course that I had never been to - a hillside above Irvine Lake. The hillside included some plateau areas for those familiarly torturous turns. The run-up was there, the barriers also, and sand. A lot of sand. Seas of sand. And pea gravel - which is almost as bad as sand. Tight turns quickly became chewed up and had riders sliding out each lap. A long (well long in cyclocross terms) and slow climb, was naturally paired with an equally long, and fast descent. Spooks and apparitions materialized out of the dark, floated close to the passing riders. The setting sun case ever lengthening shadows across skulls and gravestones. Children waved flags and cheered on their mothers, fathers, and hoped that they would finish before the night, the creeping darkness closed in.

mind the gap

men's 'C' racers snake their way downhill



Amanda Nauman races along the top of the course

a spook drifting across her path, Nauman races to another victory on the bell lap

the guys from Fullerton Bikes certainly like to hop the barriers

a Spy rider drifts along the edge of this sea of sand


If you have tuned in here for this Spookycross post, you have probably looked at race posts here before. You may have noticed that I favor photos with deep shadowing. I like the contrast between light and dark, the drama, and the mood that contrast evokes. As you can guess, Spookycross bridging the hours between afternoon and night, presents an especially good opportunity to capture moments with that effect. If you jump to the Flickr album of 151 select photos from this years race, you will notice plenty of photos similar to that of the fourth photo above - the Tru Cycling racer eyeing his way through a turn. I know the deep shadows are not to everyone's taste; if you like your photos all lit-up there are plenty of those around, and I am sure you know were to find them. Not that there is anything wrong with that.