The Peloton
August 21, 2008 12:42 PM   Subscribe

The Peloton. A gallery of professional bike racers taken just moments after they crossed the line after a brutal long stage of 2006's Giro d'Italia. After a hundred miles of racing, the rider dumps their bike on a team soigner and enters a makeshift tent for a quick photo among the finish line chaos. The photos showcase the pain and suffering well, but some photos also capture a bike racer's most damaging feeling: doubt.
posted by mathowie (49 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Those faces convince me to continue to drive, not pedal. Sorry environment.
posted by Cranberry at 12:51 PM on August 21, 2008

Those are the faces of massive endorphin rush. Sign me up.
posted by mullingitover at 12:52 PM on August 21, 2008

The look on Andy Schleck's face is amazing. It's unlike all the others, and not just because he's not old enough to have gotten weathered yet. It's because he might still be in the race in his brain, but he's also completely crushing the opposition in that race in his brain.
posted by ardgedee at 12:55 PM on August 21, 2008

Wonderful photos. I like the one of Florent Brard the best.
posted by everichon at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2008

Weird-lookin' buggers, ain't they.
posted by echo target at 1:01 PM on August 21, 2008

Amazing photographs - what a great, and difficult moment to capture.
posted by Drexen at 1:01 PM on August 21, 2008

Also: the photo of Hinault in the doubt link is a keeper.
posted by everichon at 1:01 PM on August 21, 2008

I love the dirt patterns. Like tribal masks.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:06 PM on August 21, 2008

I'm cultivating a similar thousand-mile (sorry, thousand-klick) stare when I bike-commute to and from work. Wish me luck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:06 PM on August 21, 2008

They're all winners!! Really dirty winners.
posted by Koko at 1:07 PM on August 21, 2008

That's a heart-rate monitor, Greg Nog.
posted by everichon at 1:09 PM on August 21, 2008

It's a heart rate monitor.
posted by Brittanie at 1:10 PM on August 21, 2008

Complete amazing portraits. But man, those guys look fucked up. Where was this race again? Paris-Dakar? It looks like they had to bike around the clock for days, killing their dinner with their bare hands. While fighting off hyenas and/or Tina Turner.

Also, yeah, I hope I don't look quite like that when I get into work after biking. 13km is along way!
posted by GuyZero at 1:11 PM on August 21, 2008

Michael Boogerd and Robbie McKewen both have that glorious endorphin high shining in their eyes-- half exhausted, half ecstatic. And I love any picture of Big Magnus Backstedt.

Thanks for this post, mathowie. I'm taking the day off tomorrow and going for a 50 mile ride.
posted by Heretic at 1:12 PM on August 21, 2008

Critical Mess?
posted by blue_beetle at 1:12 PM on August 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wonderful photos. Thanks for this!
posted by sveskemus at 1:15 PM on August 21, 2008

So, so, so good. Not just because it's bike racing, or because #1 posted it and I want to suck up, but wow. Great work. There is tired (Cavendish) and then there in mental (Boogerd). This guy should shoot Paris-Roubiax.
posted by fixedgear at 1:25 PM on August 21, 2008

Well, it's spelled right in the URL, anyway.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:26 PM on August 21, 2008

I'd be happy if I never saw a serious cyclist again. After seeing Olympians cycling at 4 to 5 times my speed for about 10-20 times the distance I feel about as big as I did as a teenager walking out of the cinema with 5 girls after seeing St. Elmo's Fire. Carl Sagan can't make me feel smaller.

On the plus side the only bag of urine I have on my person is my very own bladder.

Great photos.
posted by srboisvert at 1:29 PM on August 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Brazilian soccer player Wolfdog.
posted by netbros at 1:30 PM on August 21, 2008

Awesome photos. I wish I could take portraits like that. The Andy Schleck one looks like he's thinking "Well, how did I get here?" Great photos that really tell the tale of how grueling the sport really is.
posted by Eekacat at 1:32 PM on August 21, 2008

Oh, and to me the doubt photo is more "Get me back on my fucking bike so I can catch these motherfuckers." At least anyone that knows anything about Hinault would think that.
posted by Eekacat at 1:35 PM on August 21, 2008

I want to see the look on this rider's face after the race.

but some photos also capture a bike racer's most damaging feeling: doubt embarrassment.
posted by clearly at 1:40 PM on August 21, 2008

Thanks mathowie, those are some awesome shots. The Andy Schleck one is the best... that guy just looks like a pro cyclist (ie, effortlessly cool). His brother too, actually. I think it was the 2006 Giro, though. Neither Schleck nor Cavendish were pro in 2005.

Oh, and it's peloton, not peleton.

Anyway, the photography reminds me a bit of Dennis Rouvre* (Flash site). He travelled around France and visited rugby union matches, taking photos of the players' faces immediately after the game ended. It's a similar kind of thing... brutally honest, nothing glossed over or airbrushed out.

*Click enter, work, Broken Faces.
posted by afx237vi at 1:45 PM on August 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

bike enough and you too can look like Lyle Lovitt. These guys are manlier than I could ever hope to be.
posted by boo_radley at 1:50 PM on August 21, 2008

These are great photos. It doesn't look like people live behind those eyes.

On a tangent, the first comment in the doubt link reads:
Pick yourself a training route that goes up and over the local mountain range. There's nothing to doubt if you've got to get back over that thing before sun down.
That sentiment is one of the most important things I've ever learned in trying to make things happen for myself, but I've never seen it so succinctly put.
posted by invitapriore at 1:51 PM on August 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oops, fixed the spelling and year on the post. Check out the photographer's other galleries from other races, it's all top-notch stuff.
posted by mathowie at 2:01 PM on August 21, 2008

awesome pictures. annoying website. i HATE scrolling sideways.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:12 PM on August 21, 2008

Great photos, annoying web site.
posted by grouse at 2:12 PM on August 21, 2008

Ye gods, those rugby photos are crazy.

What I'm taking from this thread is that athletics make you crazy.
posted by nevercalm at 2:12 PM on August 21, 2008

Never mind, he did shoot at Paris-Roubaix.
posted by fixedgear at 2:15 PM on August 21, 2008

Pedro Horrillo FTW! He looks like he just got done fighting off an anaconda in a swamp.
posted by Mr_Zero at 2:21 PM on August 21, 2008

That "Doubt" link photograph at first glance looks like Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is grabbing the guy (didn't know that was Hinault).
posted by Nick Verstayne at 2:21 PM on August 21, 2008

I know it's not an online gallery or free to view, but for any cyclist out there, THIS is the picture book to get, which covers the legendary brutal one-day race of Paris Roubaix.

Paris Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell

They also have a sample section in PDF format, found here (pdf).

Even my non-cycling wife was stunned by the pictures, especially the after-race ones in the famous velodrome. It's coffee table-worthy.
posted by fijiwriter at 2:21 PM on August 21, 2008

Seconding what fijiwriter says. I got that book for my birthday earlier this year and it's stunning.
posted by afx237vi at 2:27 PM on August 21, 2008

I too bought that book (and a giant one of classic Tour de France pics) and it also sits on our coffee table. Everyone (including non-cyclists) is stunned by the photos of Paris-Roubaix.
posted by mathowie at 2:44 PM on August 21, 2008

Odd site design. But great, compelling photos!

My wife will be stoked to see Robbie's up first! A small consolation for his otherwise disappointing Tour this year?
posted by RockyChrysler at 3:41 PM on August 21, 2008


Also, am I the only person reminded of this?
posted by cog_nate at 3:41 PM on August 21, 2008

These are great. If you had told me that this was a long lost Richard Avedon series, I would have believed it.
posted by paddysat at 4:30 PM on August 21, 2008

Also, am I the only person reminded of this?

"This is the dark side of the reality of war. ... People don't want to know the Marlboro Man has PTSD."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:30 PM on August 21, 2008

Great! Coincidentally, this is the first thing I saw on the web after I finished a 104 mile ride today.

I looked pretty bad before I got hydrated , but not ROLF ALDAG bad. Yikes.
posted by JeffL at 4:34 PM on August 21, 2008

What a great bunch of portraits. I'd love to have a series of posters of them. Or better yet (like I could afford them) actual prints.

posted by cccorlew at 5:03 PM on August 21, 2008

They remind me a lot of picture of jockeys from the Depression Era like Red Pollard.
posted by Tulipdog at 5:11 PM on August 21, 2008

Isn't Robbie wearing le Tours green jersey in that picture? But a cool collection nevertheless.
posted by Megami at 7:07 PM on August 21, 2008

Great images! I shot something last month where I was trying to go for the same emotions/ exhaustion and later I thought maybe I'd be the first to do it as a project. Alas, like everything in photography, I was far from the first.
posted by photoslob at 11:24 PM on August 21, 2008

Some of those chaps need to think a bit more about sunscreen.
posted by biffa at 2:00 AM on August 22, 2008

What's that strap around Magnus Backstedt's chest? Is it connected to something?

It's a shock collar. Connected via remote transmitter to the coach, who presses the button when you start slacking off!
posted by a3matrix at 5:59 AM on August 22, 2008

Wow. This is great stuff. Good find Matt.
posted by caddis at 4:50 PM on August 22, 2008

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