Thursday, 22 November 2012

Your Barista Needs You

Charlie (White T-Shirt), On Hand To Help At Claire Lomas's London Marathon Walk 
Charlie Massey, eventing's very own Barista, AKA "Charlie The Coffee Man" must go through trainers (sneakers) like my daughter goes through nappies. Charlie is a passionate runner and fundraiser, and throughout 2012 has been raising funds for Spinal Research by running Marathons and all manner of crazy challenges to attract sponsorship. With Marathons in London & the US, and about 2000 miles in between, his fundraising efforts are still ongoing. The man that serves us coffee at events is also a friend and big supporter of Claire Lomas, assisting during her monumental Robotic London Marathon Walk, and is helping with her plans to cycle from Paris to London.

On the 6th December Charlie will be running the Ridgeway, an ancient bridleway in the heart of eventing country in the UK, that stretches from Malborough in Wiltshire all the way through to the Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire.  This challenge will take place over four days (6th - 9th Dec) and is no walk in park, especially at this time of year, with some steep hills to climb. On the plus side the route does include some of the great hillside chalk horses Wiltshire is so famous for, and a few great pubs, I can highly recommend!

Charlie is looking for a few volunteers at the various checkpoints ("Aid Stations"), to be ready with much needed refreshment, so if you do have an hour to spare on any of these days and are in the general area please come out and support Charlie as he continues his fundraising efforts for this poignant and worthy cause.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Many Faces Of Cross Country

Happy & Relaxed On Cross Country
As any eventing fanatic can tell you cross country is the phase that stirs the endorphins, gets the adrenaline pumping, and brings out all sorts of emotions depending on how your cross country ride goes. Searching through my photos recently for a winter project, I came across a number of photos of riders with the full range of  facial expressions captured, many of which you expect but several of which are quite surprising, and sometimes unintentionally comical.

Pippa Funnel - Expressive Rider
I've alway found Pippa Funnel one of the best to watch on cross country, not only because of her experience, but she is also a very expressive rider, which illustrates the talent needed to tackle some of these courses. At the other end of scale watch Andrew Nicholson or Andrew Hoy, and they barely use any of the 52 muscles in their face out on cross country, they're just fixed and focused from start box to finish line. In between you'll find a full compliment of emotional displays from frustration to elation.

Still photos capture a mere fraction in time of these emotions, but allow you to study those in more detail and I always find are more dramatic, more so than watching video (eg. watch the sequence of William Fox-Pitt at the 2011 European Championships) This can often leave you thinking "I wonder how that felt?" or "I wonder what was going through their mind at that point"

Here are a few photos to illustrate my point (I'll leave you to think up your own captions):