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Swiss Insurgents SMASH ATTA RECORDS

CAUTION

Bumpy road, please fasten bra and remove dentures�.

01

Super Swiss

The shot: I captured this shot by leaning as far off the side of the bike as I could to get the camera right in front of him from an interesting angle. The challenge is always to do it in a safely and just as importantly without interfering in the race in any way. Being up close and personal with the action has its downside, shooting from the back of a bike means you go where the bikes go and it’s not always smooth sailing. .The Spec: 1/200s @ f10 ISO100 flash fired Nikon D610 Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens SB910 flash Lightroom levels More info: www.dryland.co.za

Cycling

Story: Sean Badenhorst Photographs: Zoon Cronje


Swiss

marathon specialists, Urs Huber (Team Bulls) and Ariane Kleinhans (Team RE:CM) shattered the men and women’s course records respectively when they claimed dominant victories at the 2014 Fairview Attakwas Extreme mountain bike marathon near Oudtshoorn, South Africa on Saturday.

02

German precision The shot: I was surprised by the early tempo set by the Bulls making no bones about their intentions to pull the race apart from the gun. In this shot German Karl Platt is leaving the rest of the field in his dust setting his team mate Urs Huber up for the eventual win. We had to make sure we were never passed by the lead group otherwise we would really battle to see the front of the race again. Capturing the sharp end of the race is a real challenge, you don’t have time to set up shots and each shot is a “hope and pray’ your eye was fast enough and your settings accurate. The Spec: 1/160s @ f6.3 ISO 200 no flash Nikon D610 Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 zoom lens Lightroom levels More info: www.xtremedia.co.za

www.zooncronje.com / Nikon 2

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Huber,

a 28-year-old former Swiss national champion, clocked a time of 04 hours 47 minutes 46 seconds, almost nine minutes faster than the previous record of 04:56:29 set in 2013 by compatriot, Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing). It was Huber’s first attempt at the 121km event, which includes a demanding 2 900 metres of vertical ascent.

Sauserthe current marathon World Champion, was runner up on Saturday in a time of 04:54:33, also eclipsing his previous best time, but still well behind the rampant

Huber, who rose to global prominence when he finished runner-up in the 2013 ABSA Cape Epic stage race with German teammate, Karl Platt.

Platt finished third on Saturday in a time of 04:55:16, with Czech Republic’s Frantisek Rabon (Specialized Racing) securing fourth in his first race as a mountain bike pro following a decade-long career as a road cycling pro. Erik Kleinhans (Team RE:CM) was the first South African finisher in fifth place.

03 Lights camera action The shot: Cloudy conditions makes for challenging shooting especially if you have very limited opportunities to stage static shots. The low light means you need to keep your camera super stable and ideally you need to blast the subject with flash to make the colours pop and in this case I was lucky enough to get it right with Erik Kleinhans on his way to 5th overall and first South African The Spec: 1/200 @ f7.1 ISO 100 flash fired Nikon D610 Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens SB910 flash Lightroom levels and vignette More info: ww w.zooncronje.com

www.zooncronje.com / Nikon 4

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05

Snapping Sauser

The shot: I shot this one off the moving bike reaching down as low as I could to give the shot a different perspective. The challenge with this type of shot is always to move your camera with the motion of the rider so the image is as crisp as possible especially in bad light like this one. The flash helped with shooting into the sun that even behind the clouds impacts your image significantly. The Spec: 1/200s @ f10 ISO 100 flash fired Nikon D610 Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 lens SB910 flash Lightroom vignette More info: www.atta.co.za

www.zooncronje.com / Nikon 6

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“I

must say I was surprised to win by such a big margin. Being the first race of the year I didn’t know what my condition was like and I’m still in training, so I didn’t peak especially for this race,” said Huber.

“This Attakwas race was a very good allround test. The first half was very rough and technical. I couldn’t ride up some of the climbs. Not many of us could. The second half was more rolling, but still long and tough,” added Huber. Huber took the lead by riding away from defending champion, Sauser, with 70 kilometres remaining

while climbing through the Attakwaskloof Pass, a rugged, scenic 300-year-old ox-wagon pass through the Outeniqua Mountains.

“I didn’t attack Christoph, I just rode my own pace and I noticed he couldn’t stay with me. I thought that with the tough last 60km I should wait for him, but then I realised we were both riding alone. And so were the others behind him all riding alone. The wind wasn’t so strong, so I decided to give it a full go from there and it paid off. This is definitely one of the best wins of my career.”

04

Comeback kid The shot: Francois Theron retired from professional mountain biking a while ago and has since been working on putting on events with Advendurance. Seeing him ride just outside the top10 with such a classy field was impressive. One of the few static shot opportunities The Spec: 1/200s @ f7.1 ISO 100 flash fired Nikon D610 Nikkor 1424mm f2.8 SB910 flash Lightroom vignette More info: www.nikon.co.za

www.zooncronje.com / Nikon 8

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urrent Swiss marathon champion, Ariane C Kleinhans (Team RE:CM), who lives in South Africa, captured her fourth successive Attakwas

Extreme title in 05:40:38, slicing almost two minutes off her previous best mark of 05:41:29. She placed 22nd overall in the 1000-plus strong field.

South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota) outsprinted Ischen Stopforth (Sasol Racing) after almost six hours of racing to claim second place in her first attempt at the event. Stopforth became the first woman to finish eight editions of the race.

06 It’s a sign The shot: Coming out of the infamous Attakwas climb into Bonniedale I noticed a sign on a particularly gnarly technical section that summed up the route: “CAUTION Bumpy road, please fasten bra and remove dentures”. I wanted to capture the sheer scale of this monster and decided a wide shot would help showing off the size of the obstacle. I had to light the sign using flash and getting the rider as close as possible to crisp The Spec: 1/200s @ f14 ISO 100 flash fired Nikon D610 Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 SB910 More info: www.zcmc.co.za

www.zooncronje.com / Nikon 10

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08

Back in the deep end

The shot: Working his way back to the top Kevin Evans was not too far off the pace and seemingly well on his way back to form after a horrid year of recurring medical issues. I waded into the river to surround the shot with water and make visually more interesting. The low angle places some of the focus on the bike cutting through the water rather than the rider. The Spec: 1/200 s @ f11 ISO 100 flash fired Nikon D610 Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 SB910 Lightroom vignette More info: www.zooncronje.com

www.zooncronje.com / Nikon 12

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13


“I

’m very pleased to win again. It was a good winning margin, but it’s never an easy race this. I was hoping for a fast time and I pushed it really hard in the final 50km, a lot of the time there I was on my own,” said Kleinhans.

“Early on it was just Robyn (De Groot) and I in the lead and in a rough section I got away from her because she is not so good in the technical stuff. Then I tore a tyre sidewall and managed to nurse it to the first tech zone where I got another wheel. I managed to catch Robyn again before the King of the Mountain at about 55km and then I just focussed on staying smooth and trouble-free to the finish,” added Kleinhans.

Of the celebrities that tackled the event as part of their preparation for the ABSA Cape Epic in March, former Springbok rugby players, Joel Stransky (06:46:33) and Stefan Terblanche (6:46:37) finished in 130th and 133rd respectively; while TV and radio presenter, Lizel van der Westhuizen (09:49:18) was 726th and actress, Hlubi Mboya (10:05:10) was 758th.

07

“Volle kanonne”

The shot: Part of the job is telling the story of the race up front. Leading up to the base of the climb I could see the German Karl Platt from team Bulls starting to stretch the field out and made the call to go halfway up to the climb and wait for the action to come to us. Even on a motorbike is is real tough staying ahead of these guys going “volle kanonne” as they call it and to get a stable shot is impossible. This turned out to be the telling move of the day with Platt finishing third with team mate Urs Huber taking the win ahead of last year’s champ Christoph Sauser. The Spec: 1/500s @ f5.6 ISO 200 no flash Nikon D610 Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 zoom lens Lightroom levels More info: www.dryland.co.za

www.zooncronje.com / Nikon 14

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Watch the video

https://vimeo.com/84592407 2014-Fairview-Attakwas-Extreme-MTB

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Swiss insurgents | 2014 Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB