Some days start out in an ordinary fashion. And some days, the ordinary moment changes in an instant when an email or phone call comes through. Which is why a photographer always needs to have gear ready and batteries charged, right?
And that’s exactly what happened on a summer day in July when Clint Thayer of Focal Flame Photography was contacted by Josh Liberles, editor of Cyclocross Magazine, with an assignment to cover junior cycling phenom Logan Owen, 16 years old, from Bremertown, WA.
Winner of an unprecedented six national cyclocross titles, Owen was in Wisconsin for the Tour of America’s Dairyland road cycling series, racing in the pro/1/2 category with the Hagens Berman cycling team from Washington State.
“Logan Owen made a splash early on - he took second place in the first National Championship he ever competed in. That was also the first 'cross RACE he'd ever done, so pretty impressive stuff,” wrote Liberles. “So I became aware of him, as well as some of the other really talented Junior and Masters racer just over the past few years, I'd say.”
It would be impossible not to take notice of Owen, considering that he started racing BMX…at age 4. A multi-talented athlete, he holds multiple National Championship titles in not just cyclocross, but also BMX and outdoor and indoor inline skating. He's been invited to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for both road cycling and inline skating.
Thayer had a chance to catch up with Owen at the Greenbush Road Race to shoot some off-bike portraits as well as pre-race coverage. “We had arranged the shoot in advance, and as I pulled up to the team I said, ‘Coach, how long do I have with him?’ The coach barked out, ‘Fifteen minutes, tops.’”
With a shy smile and red hair styled into a slight spike, Owen warmed to the camera. “It was so much fun to work with him,” said Thayer. “He’s just beginning to grab the attention of the press, and it was a real honor to be among the first photographers to profile him.”
Liberles, author of the article, echoed Thayer’s sentiments. When asked what drew him to Owen’s story, Liberles wrote, “…his self awareness and his approach. He's also just a cool kid, and he has tons of potential; it was a treat to get to know him and his family.”
With cyclocross season just around the corner and the sport becoming seriously big in the Midwest, the locals in Madison are looking forward to welcoming Owen back for Nationals, which will be hosted in Madison, WI on January 4-8, 2012.
Cyclocross Magazine can’t wait, either. “Nationals is always a big focus for our publication,” wrote Liberles. “We combine online coverage before, during and after [the races] with really cool comprehensive looks at the event in our print magazine. We've celebrated each and every winner, from the 9 to 10-year-old Juniors, to Elites, to 70+ year-old Masters, with a profile for the past 4 editions of Nationals. This year we may shake things up a bit, but you can count on our Nats coverage being something you won't want to miss!”
And be sure to follow Focal Flame Photography for some sweet coverage of the local races this season. But bring your cowbell. And prepare to get muddy.
- Post authored by Focal Flame Photography writer Robyn M. Perrin