The race within

This weekend I was given an opportunity to photograph something new.

Walking down the winding gravel driveway, the air was heavy with humidity and coarse dust particles. I followed the crowd and found this particular racer casually sitting on the back of a pickup truck. Dressed in complete racing gear minus headwear he was covered with dried clay spattered clothing, sending a strong signal that morning warm ups had been taken very seriously. I looked around, small canopies were sprinkled throughout the area but the sun was not about to give up its shade so easily, nor did anyone in this group seem to care. Laughing, they reminisced. Their lawn chairs located side by side in a circle around the back of this pickup, were these racers truly competitors?

I ventured closer to the track and proceeded to take a few pictures of the others warming up to get a feel for what I would be trying to capture. This was a new level of intrigue. I watched the crowd begin a journey uphill where just as they paused; the race began. Another migration occurred through “the tunnel” where the remainder of this race would be best observed. There was a rhythm to this movement that was so fluid.
With little effort, I placed myself on the first post and readied myself for what I had been prepping for. My heart pounding, I could felt the certain onset of what would soon be a surge of adrenaline rushing through my veins. As if sensing my anticipation, the bikes began to tear up the track. Each one an animal hungry only for dirt. The camera now fully engaged, my fingers worked to keep up; he was in the lead. The view from within the lens captured me and I held my breath as I watched him go down. Patiently but firmly, he picked up the bike; it would need to be restarted. He coaxed it so effortlessly and movement began again. With only one lap remaining, I found myself letting out a scream that had somehow been buried deep within. He continued to pass the many he had led. All at once, the flag came down.

Where and when had I lost my own race within?

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