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.

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