Wildwood Enduro

By Ryan Wiegman

Hero dirt? Flat out trails? Fourty mile race day? Check, check and check – the Wildwood Enduro has it all. Tucked away from the majority of California’s population, the Mendocino coast is home to some pretty sweet trails. Gathered in the backwoods, drawn by the word “Enduro,” about 300 racers took part in the California Enduro Series event last weekend.

Avoiding banana slugs, climbing just over 6,500 feet and battling mosquitos are just a few of the challenges that faced the competitors on race day. After many hours in the saddle, Ryan Gardner took the top step in the pro men’s category, with Janea Perry Battling to the top of the podium in the pro women’s category. With little more than a half hour of racing for the fastest racers, the day lasted from around 9:30 until the late afternoon with riders arriving back to their cars exhausted, but happy to have survived the course.

As a spectator, the course looked fast and fun and walking the trail made me want to get on my bike all day. Maybe next year I’ll have to race it instead of shoot photos.

It takes a lot of dedication to leave the bike and home and instead focus on capturing the moments made by riders pushing themselves towards glory. We asked Ryan a few questions about what it’s like being outside the tape looking in.

What is your load out for an event like this?
My typical gear includes a Canon 7d Mark II, which I love for its high frame rate, and low light performance. As far as lenses go I actually shot the whole enduro on a 50mm 1.8, but as far as dream gear goes I’d love to have some more lens variety.

How much does your pack weigh?
For Wildwood I was using my Mindshift Rotation 180 trail 16L backpack, which is great for a camera with one extra lens. I think my race day weight was just over 10 pounds with assorted snacks, camera gear and extra tools. The pack is great for taking my camera on rides and provides easy access to the camera while on my bike without having to take off the backpack.

What unique challenges does shooting enduro events present to a photographer compared to other events?
Enduro events are tricky because the riders are all over the place at different times in different orders. I spent a bunch of time at Wildwood Enduro planning routes to capture specific riders at different stages.

Do you have a dream camera set up?
Psshh. Do I have a dream camera set up? You bet I do! A Canon 1dx Mark II with assorted lenses would be a great workhorse for any job I could throw at it. Another camera that I’ve been drooling over more and more lately is the Sony Alfa A9.

Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers looking to improve their photos?
Shoot as much as you can. Find other photographer’s work that you like, and try to shoot like them. The more time you spend behind the camera, the more your own style and technique will start to develop.

If you could spend a day shooting with anyone, who would it be?
As far as photographers go I’ve always really looked up to Dave Trumpore and Paris Gore. I would also love to shoot with riders like Danny MacAskill, Brandon Semenuk, or Cam McCaul.

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