Welcome to round four of our Laka series, ‘Behind the Ride’. Join us as we enter the minds of impressive cycle photographers, whilst they share the personal stories behind their thought-provoking photos.
Our photographer today is Joolze Dymond. Having shot professionally for nearly 20 years, her journey into photography started around the same time she discovered the sport of cycling.
"The whole process intrigued me, capturing images that told stories and then watching those ‘stories’ emerge in the emission in front of me. I started off shooting events, mainly off-road, I loved the fact I could plan my shots to place the rider in the landscape, again telling a story, capturing the emotion and the energy of the rider but placing them in a context."
Joolze's inspiration arises from her passion for the sport in all its forms; looking to show both the hard and unforgiving side, as well as the rewards.
The iconic Tourmalet of the Tour de France was always on Joolze’s hit list. However, when she finally reached the top of the climb, the visibility was down to a few feet. Ready to do whatever it takes for that perfect shot, she took a risk and headed to the other side of the mountains.
"You can’t go back against the race direction. Once committed that’s it, but thankfully our prayers were answered. Visibility that side of the climb was 100%. It was game on. Vincenzo Nibali in yellow, chasing the break. That’ll do."
"The 3 Peaks CX Race is a bonkers scramble for 600 riders over the iconic Yorkshire peaks of Pen-Y-Gent, Whernside and Ingleborough on rigid cyclocross bikes. 38 miles and 5000 ft of climbing. I was petrified climbing up the steep slopes of Whernside and I was in walking boots, not the dancing slippers most cyclists wear! This shot encapsulates the event, a number of riders locked in battle with each other and themselves played out in this immense playground, the effort ingrained in their faces."
Event photography is the skilful art of spending days on a moto, usually covering roads covered before, looking for shots that aren’t the same tired spots. It's especially difficult in Northern France where there is very little to place a ride in context…
"It was getting too dark to shoot any more so I made the decision to leave. And just as we sped off I saw the windmill, in the village. It was too late to drop in behind the riders, but the shot worked perfectly regardless. The group, shepherded through a quintessential French village by one of the many moto outriders. One of my favourite shots of the whole trip from London down to Cannes."
"Following a punctured car tire outside the city, a failed garage visit and a quick bus ride, I dashed to find my spot for the final climb of Strade Bianche. I got there just in the nick of time to bag a good spot and get the money shot of the day; Zdeněk Štybar at the top of the climb moments before he launched his attack to take the win. It was an image and a race that I won’t forget in a hurry!"
"This image from the Bluegrass Enduro Series has to be the best view I have ever had in Scotland. Shot from Glen Nevis, it’s just spectacular. Shame it was so terrifying getting there - two chair lifts and a traipse into the snowline. Not ideal when laden with heavy camera gear! On the walk back, they’d closed the first chair lift, leaving a good mile walk in more snow to the second chairlift. It’s all glamour this job!"
"A mixed emotions of a trip where I found real hostility from the race media manager towards female photographers, he was a real misogynist and not what I was expecting from the enlightened USA. It was shocking. I didn’t let it upset me, I had a job to do and you sort of get used to being regarded as an oddity in a male domain. This image is from the finish of stage two. It finished just outside Palm Springs, a cruel 4 mile long ascent with an average gradient of 10%, the temperature was around 42ºC. It was so hot on the ground, I could barely stand still, with the heat searing through my shoes, when the time came to kneel for the sprint, well you just couldn’t without your skin blistering. As riders struggled to the finishing line, officials had to catch them to stop them falling to the ground. It was brutal."
Milan San Remo can be a fickle race. The longest one day event on the World Tour Calendar and brutal in many ways.
"You can be cruising along in 20 degrees plus and suddenly you’re climbing into cold, stinging rain. There’s no respite. The temperature plummets. For some it becomes too much. This portrait captures that moment a rider climbs into the car at the feed station. He’s broken. A thousand yard stare, a solitary tear on his cheek. Raw emotion at its best."
"Again for Tour of Britain, there’s a fair amount of planning going on in your head constantly at the as the day unfolds. I knew the race went twice up Caerphilly mountain before it headed to the finish. I wanted to capture the action as riders and spectators merged. Including this shot of SKY rider, Luke Rowe’s brother running alongside riders dressed as a wrestler, with the spectators crowding the edges of the road."
"I’ve been fortunate to use my skills to help capture all the emotion and energy behind the scenes for many events. James Golding is one rider I’ve shot for a number of years. He’s a two time cancer survivor, driven to raise funds and make a difference to many folk along the way. Back in 2015 he decided he wanted a crack at the 7 day cycling record. It didn’t quite go to plan. This image is taken the day after he finally decided it was over. I love the story this image tells. The heartbreak, the reflection, a glimpse into his world. He wasn’t beaten. A couple of years later he went on to attempt the record again, this time he achieved his goal and now holds the World Record for the amount of miles covered in 7 days."
For her next big project, Joolze will be heading to the States to document James, as he prepares for the Race Across the West. A taster for next year when he intends to take on the Race Across America itself.
You can keep up to date with Joolze and follow her adventures on Instagram here.