Is southern California the perfect place to ride your bike? Yes, according to racer and photographer Jordan Clark Haggard. His intimate photographic journal The Blue and Red documents a life of riding and racing to a backdrop of beautiful landscapes, unfinished roads, crashes and punctures. From the epic to the mundane, all of cycling life is captured through the lens.
Give us a brief account of your cycling background. I suppose the story of how I fell in love with cycling is pretty typical. I began riding as a kid and spent a lot of time charging up and down the dirt trails around my house. In high school I saved up enough money to buy a full suspension mountain bike and rode it every day. Then when at college I signed up to the triathlon team and it happened that I was pretty good at it. After graduation I started racing crits and on the road, and though it has its high and low points, bike racing has on the whole been a great experience. At the moment I race Cat 2 on the road. I have bounced from team to team over the years. This season I’ve landed with the Riders One team, which is focused on cycling and sustainability.
What’s been your greatest achievement on a bike? I can’t really point to one specific thing or event, but cycling has really shaped my life, and without it I’d be a completely different person. That as I whole is maybe my greatest achievement.
California looks like the perfect place to be riding a bike. Is it as good as it looks? Yes! California has a pretty big cycling scene, and you can ride all year round, racing every weekend during the season. And in the off season cyclocross is getting really popular and very competitive.
Where’s your favourite place to ride? I grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley, in a small agricultural based community called Visalia. It has some of the best roads to ride in the world. For two months out of the year the weather is perfect – in spring and early summer the the weather is mild and the winter rain makes the foothills explode with wild flowers. There is a route up Yokel Valley Road that takes you to the top of a range called Blue Ridge. It is about seventy miles round trip from my parents door to the top. I have been on rides where once in the valley I did not see another soul for fifty miles. Definitely my favorite ride.
Power meter, heart rate, or perceived effort? I use a Garmin 500, but do not have a power meter. Heart rate and cadence is about all the information I can handle.
How did The Blue and Red come about? I was experiencing all these amazing places on rides and found that words were not a sufficient way to express the things I had seen. I started taking photos in a manner that would allow the viewer to ride along with me.
Do you ever ride just so you can take photos? Or is it always ride first, photos second? Sometimes when it is raining or the weather is especially adverse I get on the bike thinking, “well at least I will get some great images out of this suffering.”
Do you follow the racing in Europe, or is it more about the domestic scene for you? I get excited when I am flipping through the channels and a race is on, but my interest in professional racing stops there.
What’s next for the Blue and Red? I have started selling limited editions prints of images taken from The Blue and Red (see the website for more details). I would like to grow that, and also to have an exhibition of my work.