Most years when I go to this event, this is my fourth time, I try and photograph the racing. You have to do that, it is a race, but that is all I do. I just walk around and around the circuit taking photos of people racing their bikes. I suspect this year won’t be any different, except my audience of who is looking at them. I am taking photos of it this year for you and this blog. Normally, I am taking photos for the riders.
After yesterdays post I had a few asking me what a crit was? A crit is short for criterium and is a race that is done on a short circuit, where the riders do laps. Usually on streets. They can range in distance from one to around three kilometres. I have seen some that are five kilometres or longer, but they are usually considered something else. A crit will start and finish in the same place. In the above image, the women are preparing to start and are lined up at the line. This is also where they finish.
Sometimes crits can be done in really nice spots and you can get some nice shots. Though, I find that the organisers never think what will make great publicity shots and what would be a great for photographs. The often have the finish with the sun behind them, so crap shots there. Take the image above, how good would it be to get the Ferris wheel with the riders coming towards me?
This crit is a big deal in Australian racing and happens every year. Crits are only done in summer, the weather is too unpredictable in winter, and can make racing them dangerous. A lot of clubs will cancel crit racing if it is raining, wet roads just means too many crashes. I have heard it said that crits are the most dangerous type of racing in cycling, more people come off. As they are racing on roads, that means lots of skin being removed and it wrecks their kits (what they race in). Crits are also very fast. A lot of riders get spat out the back when the speed picks up. So crashes and speed, that makes it a great spectator sport.
Behind the riders you can see some guys sitting with almost white shirts. They are, from the right, Matt Keenan, Scott McGrory and Phil Liggett. If you ever follow cycling on television then you will know the British voice of Phil Liggett. He is known internationally as the voice of cycling. We know his voice when we hear it. He comes here every year to commentate the bay crits and is also a very nice person.
The one thing that most crits have is dangerous corners. This circuit at Geelong is called a hotdog circuit. Named because it looks like one. There are two straights, and either end are some very tight corners. People gather on the corners because that is where most crashes happen. It is where all the photographers go, me included, but it is also where you get some of the best photos.
They race for around 45 minutes, or one hour, then they get so many laps after that. Usually 45 minutes then 3 laps. It is unusual in that respect, most racing, you have no idea how long it will take, but that isn’t so with this. So the riders know how long they have and work out what they have to do in that time.
I love photographing criterium racing and is by far my favourite type of racing to take photos of. It is exciting and so fast. I am going to do a post on how to photograph a crit, or how I do it, but I need more time than is available right now. I am thinking I might do that on Friday when it is all over. That is if you would like me to. I can also take about accreditation and stuff as well. Let me now.