We seek each other out, and before you know it theres’s a gang. The composition isn’t always the same, cast members rotate and come and go, but drawn together by similar ability on the bike, schedules that overlap, a shared outlook, we head out on to the road as a tight knit mini-peloton. Throughout the year we take it in turns to lead the charge, do the lions share at the front, to be first cresting each hill.
I ask a fellow competitor for the time, and panic at his reply. “Ten past three? Are you sure about that?”
“Yeah, look at my watch. See? Ah no, sorry. It’s twenty to two. I can’t read the display properly.” Thank Christ for that. I’m due to start at two fifty-four!
“I first did the Catford CC Hill Climb last year, and finished 18th with a time of 2.14.7. I didn’t think I had a hope of getting close to that this year. As September came round, I was feeling sluggish, and a few pounds heavier. I had to prove to myself that I could still get up hills quickly. So I did some training. Just going to the Surrey Hills, and finding every steep climb I could to go up and down. Then up again.
The Seasons of an Amateur Racing Cyclist: Winter is determination against the elements; pounding out the miles with visions of glory under sunnier skies flashing through the mind; mudguards; opting for the full english at the café stop. Spring is filled with the buzz of enthusiasm for the new found racing season; the lengthening days, racing one week in short sleeves, the next under a deluge of freezing rain; the emergence of peak condition.
Until recently, the term ‘marginal gains’, as employed by Team Sky, had become something of a standing joke. After flopping at the 2010 Tour even they admitted the fundamentals need to be right first before you brag about how your busses feature fancy lighting systems in order to soothe the riders’ mood.
How quickly we forget. Less than a fortnight ago everyone was asking ‘What went wrong?’. Cavendish, a dead cert, a shoe-in, the red hot favourite, had somehow managed to finish 29th in the Olympic road race. While the non-cycling British public groaned and scratched their heads and accused the GB team of ‘just not trying hard enough’, cycling fans just shrugged their shoulders. That’s just bike racing. You lose more often than you win.
After studying cinema and growing up in the world of ballet dancing, photographer Emily Maye was inspired to turn her lens on bike racing after playing fantasy cycling during the Tour de France. From the Tour of California to the Spring Classics in Europe, she has shot the preparations, the excitement, the action, and the aftermaths with a distinctive eye for tone and emotion.