The finale at UCI 2019: U23 hors d’oeuvres followed by the elite women and men

As we headed into the final weekend a single day of sunshine was sandwiched between two days of heavy rain. First came the rain and the men’s U23 race. We headed out to Cattal and got some action (it was only a short walk from the railway station) before the cyclists reached Harrogate.  Then we headed back into Harrogate on the train to see them take the last circuits of the town.

There was enough time to for me to walk to the start-finish straight on West Park and then get round to watch them come up Parliament Street for the last time.

The races all entered the Harrogate circuit on Ripon Road and that’s where we went on Saturday for the women’s elite event. We were blessed with some lovely sunshine. This dapper gentleman was enjoying the circuit on his vintage bicycle before the riders arrived. It was Annemieke van Vleuten who came in well ahead of the chasing peloton. They never caught her.

The last day had torrential rain that forced the route through the Yorkshire Dales to be shortened. We stood in the downpours on the Ripon Road hill where they came on to the circuit. You can imagine from the pictures what the conditions were like – I’m glad my camera and lenses are weather-sealed!

We dried out in a pub with a craft beer and some warm food whilst watching the race unfold on the big screen. It was a fitting end to a great week.

Off to a flyer at the UCI Road World Championships 2019: Individual Time Trial Elite Men

So there I was just behind the barrier with a great view of the cyclists who were about to come – one by one – hurtling down the main street in Northallerton at the UCI’s 2019 Road World Championships Time Trial. Yes you have it, a nature photographer (a landscape photographer) about to attempt to get some shots of cyclists belting past at 40-50 km/hr!

I’d decided I would love to pan along with them as they went past to get some background blur. I discovered that a quick burst of the shutter (at 11 frames a second) to get one or two shots worked well – rather as it does for pictures of sugarbirds – but when they were cornering towards you that was really tricky as they went out of focus.

Anyway I was really pleased with the results my Olympus gave me. I was helped by the fact that the cyclists came along at regular intervals, not like the road races we went to in the rest of the week. Here are eleven of the participants in no particular order. The Australian rider Rohan Dennis went on to win it.