Sunday, July 24, 2005

Nike Run Hit Wonder

Photo by Ashton Bitton (my daughter)

Here I am lined up with the "back of the pack" in Portland, Ore., for the Nike Run Hit Wonder.

I ran my first 5-K race today in downtown Portland, Ore. It was more fun (and a whole lot easier) than I thought it would be. My goal was to finish in less than an hour by walking most or all of the race. Instead, I ran/jogged the entire course, because the energy level was so high! My finish time was under 45 minutes. I'm generally no fan of running, but if the race comes back next year, I'll do it again.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

TRIOBA 12-Hour Adventure Race, Snoqualmie Pass, Wash.

Nelson Yu of team Dozer scrambles over a deadfall between checkpoints 14 and 15 during the TRIOBA 12-hour adventure race July 23 at Snoqualmie Pass, Wash.

I spent all day at Snoqualmie Pass, Wash., photographing the TRIOBA 12-hour adventure race. Even though I've only been around adventure racing for one year, I already have many friends in this tight-knit community. When Eric and Karyn Abraham, members of team PureFit/MissingLink, learned I intended to spend Friday night cramped in the back of my Explorer in the Hayak Lodge parking lot, they insisted I return to their home in the Seattle suburbs for a comfortable night in a real bed. How awesome! Early Saturday, we went back to the lodge, which served as the start and finish line for the race. I spent the hour before the start scouting nearby locations and decided access was easy. I skipped the start and instead picked out a spot on the lakeshore to photograph teams carrying their inflatable boats to the water. I got some great shots! Next I drove to a transition area to shoot some mountain biking, but the light wasn't much good. I hiked over half-a-mile in search of open shade, but never found what I was looking for. Hoping for thicker trees higher up, I drove to checkpoint 11/14 (both at the same spot), where I found what I was looking for. The leg from 14 to 15 was on a mountain bike trail in thick woods. The trail was barely passable on foot, let alone on a bike. Racers call this a "hike-a-bike," or a "bikewhack." I made many great pictures where a large pine had fallen across the so-called trail. Athletes had suffered mightliy to get to that point, and to see a 3-foot-tall obstacle in front of them was not pretty. Some teams scrambled right over the tree, but others looked at it and shook their heads, probably questioning their sanity. I felt honored to be there to witness people at what had to be the low point of their race day. They were spent, but they had to give a little more. I am most proud of those photos.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Wicked Gorge Adventure Race, Beacon Rock State Park, Washington

Teams come ashore after completing the kayak section of the Wicked Gorge adventure race. Photo by my brother, David Bitton, who flew in from Colorado Springs to help me cover the event.

Teams that competed in the Wicked Gorge adventure race July 16 were assaulted by stunning Pacific Northwest scenery as they navigated a course in and around Beacon Rock State Park. As the director of photography for the Wicked Adventure Racing series, I was allowed to drive to several points along the course. It's not possible to be everywhere at once, so at the end of the day, some teams get more coverage than others. Athletes experienced more than 3,000 feet of vertical gain from the banks of the Columbia River to Three Points Rock due north of Beacon Rock State Park. My brother, David, a staff photographer at The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs, Colo., came out to help me provide more complete coverage. To see our photos, visit For race results, go to