The S&M Family: A Portrait Story
In the spirit of the holidays and familial closeness, we share with you a special photo set that we've been holding onto for a while. The photographer is Patrick Means, a core part of our close-knit S&M family, and media partner for the Kona Adventure Team. The photos were taken at the 2017 Cyclocross Crusade finale at Barton Park, which is a special race—many nail-biting finishes have played out in that gravel pit, particularly over the iconic, steep run-up that leads to the last finish line of a whole season's worth of Crusade battles. Patrick chose to capture the moments that play out on the far side of the course, a little farther away from the common spectating hotspots. Read some of his own words here, and enjoy the images...
"Team S&M is my people. We ‘do it the hard way’ not by choice but by necessity, and the argument could be made that it’s the only path worth taking. Perhaps the compelling thing about 'the hard way’ is not fearing failure. Having "less" predicated expectations but "more" belief in what is possible.
While I would have loved to be out there, racing with the team, it was wildly fun to watch and take photos. My background as a racer certainly informs the artist in me. I seek out the interesting parts of the course, maybe not the fun, or even rad looking stuff, but the decision making parts, what could define a race. Who’s driving the pace on the pavement backside of the course, who’s out front taking risks? Who’s lighting the after-burners on the long gravel road section? Who’s stumbling into the bottom of the backside run-up? Who’s stumbling into the bottom of the backside run-up, again and again? Is the chase group working together or perhaps are just a couple guys doing most of the work?
Racing cyclocross could be considered an artistic work. The brush strokes our tires make while zooming around a ‘cross course, a different expression for each and every racer. Each lap is different from the last, each racer their own artist. Each expression of the race is as unique as one’s own fingerprint.
The approach varies, too. Much like a photographer’s unique view of the world, or in rock climbing, how a short climber achieves the top of the wall in a totally different style than a tall one. Each approach is completely different, none are right or wrong, but, perhaps, “Just so.” People talk about certain lines, and how you ride different features in a certain way. With your pals after the race, drinking “diet cokes”, and laughing about the dumb brush strokes they made, whilst speaking in - sometimes - hushed voices about the poetry they created to perfectly fit the moment.
Maybe, just maybe, the most beautiful thing about cyclocross as an art, is it’s near - no - absolute requirement for collaboration. Each racer practicing their art, their highest potential on the day being spurred on by the presence of the other racers; to push the boundaries, to take a risk. To quote Julie Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, “A wing and a prayer is routine operating procedure.”
I hope you enjoy the photos."