I was put on this planet to shoot weird sports, plain and simple.
Sure, the Olympics was a good experience, made a few frames I liked, saw some cool friends and was in attendance for part of sports history.
But aside from some happy hockey hooligans, Vancouver was a bit lacking in the fun and surreal.
Thank all that is good for San Francisco, home of the 10th annual BYOBW (Bring Your Own Big Wheel) race.
The Big Wheel race used to be held each Easter on legendary Lombard Street. Now it’s tucked away in a quiet but wonderfully winding and steep road near McKinley Square.
I showed up two hours before start time. Things looked a little bleak. First off, I found ROCK STAR! parking. In San Francisco. Where was everyone?
After getting the rundown from one of the event organizers, he assured me that people would show up, even with the crappy wet weather.
The Dude was right.
I felt a little high while shooting – and even editing – these images. I LOVE LOVE layers in weird sports scenes. Both before the races and during them, I had all I could handle. My last-second, Kamikaze drive down from PDX was so worth it.
The organizers were more than a little pissed that an ESPN TV crew showed up. They want to keep this fun race from blowing up with national exposure.
Hate to break it to you, guys: You can’t bottle up this goodness. BYOBW is such pure gold, it will only get bigger and badder.
Honestly, I figured I’d make a few quiet frames before the race and that would be that. A YouTube video from the last race really did not do this event justice. Every heat I witnessed in person was hysterical, the action epic.
After spending sometimes days trying to make a single frame I truly liked in Vancouver, I laughed at the bountiful goods this Easter Sunday.
To be honest, I lost track of time a little bit. And of the number of racers. There was one photographic gold rush right after the other. Then, the wave was over. All the racers hiked up the hill like conquering heroes, proudly hoisting their kiddie bikes above their heads towards adoring fans.
I looked at my phone: Only 30 minutes had passed. They would do at least two more heats.
As much as I love all sports, these weird sports give me purpose. Access is awesome, subject matter superb. There was a small handful of photographers there, smiling as much as I was. It was a far cry from the hundreds of photographers making identical images in Vancouver. Every moment felt as unique and original as every costumed racer I saw.
It’s official: I now love Easter.
** To see the outtakes, please click here.