Evan Culbert Qualifies for Triathlon Worlds
This photo story documents Evan Culbert’s race at the 2017 New Orleans Draft-Legal World Qualifier. Evan Culbert, a decorated triathlete on the Mizzou Triathlon Club Race Team, traveled to New Orleans with the team for a chance to qualify for Draft-Legal Triathlon Worlds which will take place in the Netherlands in summer 2017. Most amateur races do not allow drafting so this is was one of Evan’s few opportunities to show off his bike handling skills.
The morning of the race had a rocky start. Due to dangerous water conditions caused by wind, the swim portion of the triathlon was canceled and replaced with a run, turning the race into a duathlon consisting of a 5k run, 20k bike, and a 2.5k run. Swimming is Culbert’s strongest discipline, so this change put him at a disadvantage relative to some of the other athletes.
Despite the change in race course, Culbert had a strong race. He finished the first run in 11th place, did well on the bike and was able to get into a solid group of cyclists finishing the bike in 12th place. They all worked together drafting off one another to have a fast bike split. He then ran his way to 8th place overall in the 2.5k concluding run. His top ten finish qualified him for the World Championship.
The sun rises over the transition area of the New Orleans Draft-Legal Triathlon World Qualifier. Due to dangerous water conditions the triathlon was changed to a duathlon.
Evan Culbert, member of the Mizzou Triathlon Club Race Team, takes a sip of water before the start of his race.
A fading body marking tattoo.
Evan Culbert works with other athletes on the draft-legal bike portion of the duathlon, attempting to catch the lead pack ahead of them.
Evan Culbert sprints into the finishing chute, concluding his race and placing 8th overall, qualifying him for triathlon worlds.
Teammates Evan Culbert and Colin Gibson discuss their races after finishing.
Over the course of the race which took place over two days, with the triathlon (turned duathlon) on Saturday and the duathlon on Sunday, I took over 1,400 pictures. From those I narrowed it down to about 150 that I liked. I had a hard time choosing just 5-7 pictures, I love how the album is with all 150, but obviously that is too many pictures.
I thought I did well capturing action shots given the situation. Especially when the athletes are biking, they could be moving at over 30mph and when they’re riding in groups it can be hard to see when your athlete is coming by. I got as close to the race course as I could and took as many pictures as I could while they were coming by and hoped for the best.
There is much room for improvement with this project. If I could go back again, and if I had more experience/practice with the camera settings, I would try to change the shutter speed to see if I could show the motion of the bicycles. I also would’ve liked to have been at the race venue when it was announced that it would be a duathlon rather than a triathlon. It would’ve been cool if I could have captured Evan’s reaction to that, but I wasn’t at the race location at that time.
I’m happy with my lede photo, but I’m not sure if my closer really does the trick. It’s a photo from after the race is complete and Evan is talking about the race with a teammate so in that sense it’s a closer, but if I could go back I would maybe try to get a picture that incorporated the finisher medals as my closer.
To “finish” this project, I would interview Evan and collect audio. I could ask him to recount what was happening in each picture, how his body was feeling, where is head was at emotionally, what his strategy was, etc. I think that the audio of him explaining his experience along with the photos would create a nice finished project.