Chris: OK Lyne, thanks for taking the time for this interview. I know you are not used to be the subject so I won’t make this too difficult.
Lyne Lamoureux: thanks Chris. I don’t think I’m that interesting but always willing to talk, always!
C: So, tell me about your childhood.
LL: ha haha.
C: I love that one.
I have used it twice tonight.
LL: it made me laugh each time.
C: Seriously, you do some really amazing work behind the lens. How long have you been a professional photographer and how did you get into this line of work?
LL: wow well first thank you for those kind words. How did I get into this? well how much time do you have?
C: I have about 5 minutes.
LL: ha ha ha.
C: or as long as you need.
LL: okay let’s get the first one out of the way. I guess I’ve been doing cycling media, for lack of a better description, for about 5 years now. I started off writing andthen added photography to it because for me it’s all about storytelling. The pics and words go together which I why I consider myself a sportswriter/photographer or even maybe a storyteller.
LL: As to the how? well I guess I’ll have to admit this. I met Cathy Mehl through an online cycling board (egads!) years ago where I was participating as a fan. She was working for Daily Peloton at that point. As a fan, I was not happy or satisfied with the coverage out there, I felt it was too focused on only certain teams or riders, there are over 100 riders in a race why are all the photos & stories about only a few? and then what about the women? So Cathy encouraged me to try my hand at it, I contacted DP, got media creds and went on from there.
C: OK, you told me that you were not that interesting.
LL: told ya
C: Clearly not true.
So you started off with journalism and added photography afterwards. For some reason I assumed it was the opposite.
Probably because I am dumbass.
LL: Well, I took photography classes years ago but that was with film. And I didn’t have the good (expensive) gear when I started with cycling media. Not a dumbass at all, it’s hard for me to remember which came first, age you know?
C: Indeed. Each morning I wake up and try and figure out if it was the chicken or egg. Today seems like chicken, tomorrow not so sure…
So you started off as a fan of cycling first. I was going to ask if cycling is the only sport you cover. It appears to be so.
LL: Yep, cycling is the only sport I cover and really the only sport I really follow. I used to be a hockey fan but got my fill growing up in Quebec, after a Stanly Cup parade I walked away so to speak.
C: that happens to a lot of people.
a lot of people that I don’t know.
LL: I know all the Quebecois are going to disown me, so Go Habs!
C: Hockey is super huge here in Minnesota. I grew up here. So I should know what “Go Habs” means.
But I don’t.
Feel like an undocumented immigrant to MN.
LL: I am shocked. The Montreal Canadiens are also known as the Habitants or Habs
Have you ever skated on a frozen pond at least?
C: no way. I saw that Christopher Walken movie.
LL: ha ha ha.
C: Dead Zone.
LL: Got to admit that I hated skating.
but Walken is a mean dancer though. The dude has some crazy moves.
C: Not to go too far down this road, but Montreal Canadiens is a totally dumb name for a sports teams.
that would be like the Dallas Americans.
LL: please, you’re just jealous that we’ve won a gazillion Stanley Cups
C: makes no sense to me.
LL: I’d rather be called a Canadiens than a Duck. How are you supposed to inspire fear in a competitor when you’re a duck, seriously
C: yes, I am jealous that the Montreal Canadiens won a gazillion Stanley Cups in a sport that I am terrified to play
what about the Minnesota Howlers?
wait, that’s not right.
LL: seriously? Is that a team? this is the blind leading the blind isn’t it?
C: ha ha ha!
It’s “The Wild”
and all their fans are going to be waiting out in front of my house tomorrow morning to pull my jersey over my head and beat me to death
LL: make sure someone is there to take photos!
C: web cam
LL: cool. it’s about the story.
ok, back on topic.
lots of people love the sport of cycling either as a fan or recreational racer. they dream about turning their passion for the sport into a career.
you have actually done it.
LL: mmmm sort of. I’m still working on the career part also called making a living.
For many years, I had a real job in the real world to be able to do this.
LL: nope. I was burned out with my corporate job and decided to risk it all, and try this (whatever this is) full-on, full-time and see where it leads.
So i quit.
C: so you are now “living the dream”
LL: yeah I guess I am
C: (Adam Myerson loves that phrase)
LL: waves to Adam
LL: So I guess I’ve been living the dream for about 1.5 years, I think that’s right. The past year has been a blur.
C: so you have been doing this for five years now. how long did it take to get comfortable interacting with pro cyclists, or did that part come right away?
I always get nervous around those guys and want to stay out of their way
LL: That did not come right away by any means especially as I had to learn how to this on the fly, no one was explaining how things were done. The good thing is that my good friend Stephanie was often along at the beginning and we would compare notes. I made many mistakes at the beginning and I used to be nervous when approaching the pros.
C: did you ever call pros by the wrong name? I do that.
LL: It got better once I started to get to know a few of them better. Some were very cool from the get-go and treated us with respect even though we were new on the scene, others were well tools.
C: “Hey good race Kaitie!”
“I mean Tim…”
LL: hahaha I’m sure I’ve done that, I’m not good with names to start with. But I can now recognize most of the US pros by the way they ride.
LL: well at least you had the same team there
C: right, that’s how I got confused.
LL: well the 5 o’clock shadow is usually a give-away in that case
C: right, one of those lessons you have learned over the years.
LL: yep. look for distinguishing marks.
C: got it.
C: so I watch you at the events and you seem pretty connected, it’s obvious you are a fan of the sport and you know what you are talking about when you interview the riders. You have a good rapport with them and it’s obvious by your Twitter account that you are on a friendship basis with many of them. Does that make your jobeasier or does it affect your perspective at all?
LL: That’s a good question. I think it makes my job easier because I don’t consider myself a journalist but a sportswriter/photog and for me there is a difference there. I view my role as the fan proxy, to show my fellow cycling fans what happens out there at a race, or on a team, what they could see if they were around. I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick which is the basis of many of my interviews so I think the rapport helps there. I don’t want to ambush anyone but I will ask sometimes tough questions and I think the rapport helps in those cases. It also helps when talking to someone after a hard and difficult day.
Hope that made sense
C: does it make it harder to talk to these riders, knowing them on the level that you do, when they have had a particularly hard day. like, “oh, I don’t want to bother J Pow after his national championship race because I know he has to be totally bummed.” but you still have a job to do. that would be hard for me.
LL: Yes that specific race was a hard one. In those cases, I try to prepare the questions in advance and keep it short but most of the riders are total pro and understand that that is part of the job. It also depends on the rider’s attitude afterwards but most will give you a few minutes to tell you what happened. Also, many times at a race you have the highs and lows - what was it on ABC - oh yeah the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. So in the span of a few minutes, you can have both.
LL: Also, sometimes you just need to give them a few minutes and not jump on them as soon as they cross the finish line. A few minutes to breathe and get centered.
C: got it.
what kind of set up work before the race do you do for your photography?
LL: Mmm depends, do you mean road or cross?
C: are you scouting the course for the best shot potential? or just taking what comes along?
cross I guess.
road race you have to take what you get unless you know of something along the course ahead of time?
the circus clown race is probably pretty predictable.
(that’s my event)
LL: Okay for cross I try and scout out the course before but it’s always a crap shoot the first time at a venue because you really don’t know how the lighting will impact the course, the spectators, the line the riders take…. It’s always easier the second time around.
LL: Same for crits. For both, I look where I think attacks might happen, a tough climb, a tricky corner, or a broad scenery shot. What happens though is that I sometimes take the easy route and shoot the same spot year after year.
LL: For road races, well yeah often it is taking what comes along. It really depends if I’m driving myself, in the media car or i a team car. Because I tweet the races live, I can’t really be on a motorcycle - haven’t figured out how to do that while holding on. So it’s really rolling the dice and hoping to get lucky in road race.
For circus clown races, I recommend shooting from the clown car.
C: yeah, but then you have put up with then 50 other clowns in the car at the same time. annoying.
LL: that’s where the flower that spews water come in handy.
C: indeed. how do you decide which races to cover?
LL: I’m wrestling with that decision for this year actually. Cost vs Importance of the race.
C: has to be tough to decide
LL: For cross, that’s easier to answer than road.
C: right. any race that I am in.
LL: exactly. I just stalk you.
C: they all do.
LL: I know, that’s where the clown car comes in handy
C: Gibson, De Waele, Sirotti, Lamoureux.
LL: whoa. no effing way.
C: bothering me at every race.
not even a moment of privacy to lace up my huge floppy red shoes.
LL: it’s all about getting the story remember.
C: I know, but sometimes I have to honk my nose to get some “me” time.
LL: is that what the kids call it these days?
C: I guess. that’s what I hear.
You’re fantastic at both, but do you think you are a stronger writer or photographer at this point?
LL: Mmmm I guess photographer. I think.
You are fantastic at both.
LL: dude I love you.
C: I gave you the answer up front.
LL: Never said I was bright.
Wait that’s not true.
C: ha ha ha.
so I entered your name on Amazon to see how many books you had out.
LL: ha ha ha you’re killing me here.
C: apparently zero.
LL: it’s a hard business
C: any thoughts? I have the Balint Hamvas book from the 2009-10 UCI Cross World Cup season. I would totally buy your book.
plus copies for everyone I know.
LL: Seriously? I do have an idea.
C: totally serious. 100%
C: your trip to Belgium is a gold mine of material I am sure.
LL: Man that was such an experience. new challenges thrown at you at every corner it seemed.
C: I mean, my trips to Belgium are a gold mine of material, but that would be for a stand up routine.
I know what you are talking about!
LL: Try it with boobs next time.
C: ok. it would be fascinating reading material.
your work, not mine.
mine would be fascinating reality tv
LL: seriously thank you for that. I sometimes wonder if anyone is reading/looking/enjoying the work. You know when the insecurities pop up late at night.
C: oh I know it.
totally serious, I think it would be a huge hit.
LL: mmmm thinking.
C: just make sure I get an autographed copy.
LL: of course.
C: so, would you say this was the most amazing shot from Bend this year?
LL: how long have you been waiting to ask that one?
(notice that I didn’t answer)
C: two months
LL: ha ha ha
C: not laughing
what’s the most amazing thing you have seen so far in a race?
aside from this:
LL: ha ha ha
C: what’s so funny?
LL: it’s the clowns, they’re acting up in the car
C: oh ok
LL: amazing? I don’t know if I can answer that, I can’t think of one thing right now.
C: really? is your job already getting boring?
LL: I mean some of the stages at Tour of California were amazing because of the nasty, nasty weather and the beating that the riders took. Or Ben King’s ride at US Pro. Or seeing the King Sven Nys in the mud in Baal. Or…. so many but can’t name one right now. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. It’s funny that I often remember races via the emotions felt (yes I am a girl)
Or watching Katie Compton dominate… or…
C: I must be part girl too then.
Don’t tell anyone I said that.
Because I am 200% man.
LL: your secret is safe with me, this is all off the record right
LL: nope, my job is not getting boring I just can’t pin-point one thing. And by amazing, do you mean amazing to me as far as the emotions I felt, or amazing as far as a racing feat?
C: both. hey, did you see that total bozo who rode his bike into the inflatable SRAM arch at Portland USGP this year??
LL: sorry I missed that one.
C: knocked it over and it landed on the crowd!
LL: what a clown.
that was me.
LL: figured as much (yep I am bright)
C: ha ha ha!
I rode away quickly to avoid the beat down.
LL: Tell them you were in a hurry to get some voodoo donuts - the maple bacon one!
C: So you are interviewing racers, writing stories, taking photos, live updating races. At what point do you just stop and eat fries? Masters 35+ race?
LL: Usually. That’s another thing I need to revisit is how much I can do and still function.
C: I was going to ask what service you are adding for this year.
Live interactive video.
LL: ye, I love - LOVE - doing the live interviews.
not sure about 3D yet, got to fix my hair first
C: I could get you a Lazer hat.
LL: nice, very subtle!
C: that’s my job.
LL: heck I’m always willing to talk sponsorship
C: nice! you flipped that one back on me.
that’s what I always say…just ask the team managers
LL: yeah in other words….
C: let’s talk.
so you might want to change up your coverage at USGP this year. I am going to bring serious game for realz.
LL: I like to talk, just ask anyone they’ll tell you.
bring it and then we’ll see! have you started training yet?
C: no. gonna crash into the timing shed. no training necessary.
LL: ha ha next time you have to do it in front of me then I can make you famous!
C: tried that last year, you missed all my dirt naps.
ok, somehow this is becoming about me…you are the interesting one.
LL: I was eating - there were cupcakes
C: I did not get any cupcakes…
LL: I’m the interesting one remember?
C: that’s right.
OK, any special project you have on the horizon for 2011?
or are they all hush hush?
LL: Looking at a few things to make the race coverage better but that’s all I can say. so hush hush I guess.
C: can’t wait to see the innovations!
LL: I hope people like them.
C: I am sure they will.
Lyne, thanks again for taking the time for the interview. I really appreciate it!
Any parting words?
LL: Well. Yes pro cycling is an amazing sport with mostly great people participating in it & fans should get to know the riders, not just a few.
And thank you to everyone for all the support and that I love meeting my tweeps out there. thanks!
Check out Lyne’s work on Podium Insight : www.podiuminsight.com
and follow her on Twitter