As a sports photographer, I dream of being able to capture an incredible performance by a gifted athlete. Today I witnessed such an event at the Red Kite #2 Women's Pro/1/2/3 Criterium race by Mary Maroon of Academy Racing. I alway try to get a few candid shots before a race and I was able to snap this pre-race moment. Little did I know that this was the start of something very special.
Once the race started, Mary attacked on the first lap and Jeanette Haggas of Threshold Sports p/b Leadout Endurance Coaching joined her on the break.
It was very clear that Mary was all business as the gap between the break and the rest of the field grew larger and larger. By lap four the pace was just to much for Jeanette and she lost contact.
Lap after lap, the gap continued to grow. Soon the buzz around the race course was: Can Mary Maroon lap the field?
A one minute gap grows to a minute thirty.
Mary keeps digging hard and with a few laps to go she has the back of the field in sight. The gap is only twenty seconds.
I knew this was a historic moment and ran back towards the start-finish line. As the racers made the corner a familiar face was out front. Mary had caught and passed the field on the back side of the race course.
A couple laps later victory was at hand.
Two years ago, the same Mary Maroon invited me to enter a race photo in the NCNCA photo contest. She is one of the reasons why I am out here shooting bike races. So this day was special in more ways than one. It's funny how things come around full circle. I was able to capture that special race by a gifted athlete, and it was you Mary. Congratulations on an incredible performance. Thank you for inspiring me with your love and passion for bike racing.