In 2019, I had the privilege of photographing the Absa Cape Epic. While the brief involved everything from branding, décor to mechanics and more, the actual racing is definitely the most exciting part. With eight days of gruelling mountain bike (MTB) racing through and around the Cape, it’s not for the faint of heart. I love capturing this race; there’s an addictive thrill to it! Creating a plan, then rushing out onto route in hopes that your mapping is correct, and that the teams don’t completely outrun your spots, all while testing your fitness and skill with a camera.
What’s my plan?
In Cape Town, getting a shot with great scenery isn’t difficult, but you don’t just want dirt roads and mountains – you want single track, you want the riders’ focus and you want WOW. However, it’s a game of hit and miss; you can have a great plan, hike kilometres to get there, and then the sun doesn’t come over the ridge, it’s raining, or you’re not actually on the route (yes, I was 100m off route, so I sprinted as fast as I could all in hopes of capturing epic images). For the most part, my strategy is to have a few planned spots on the route, pack plenty of snacks and liquids, find a single track where possible, and try not to over-commit to the hike as walking 40 minutes in, means walking 1 hour out.
What’s in my gear bag?
I shot these images on a Sony A9 and A7 III with Sony 70-200mm f/2.8, Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 and Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lenses. The A9 has the best speed focus, especially with the 70-200mm lens attached, while the A7 III performs well with wide shots and everything else unless you need more than 20 fps, in which case the A9 is best.
While each of these images has a story to it, I hope that you’ll just enjoy the visual grandness that is the Absa Cape Epic.