To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

The Story of a Worldwide Catalog Cover

For the past two years Team Sixcycle-RK&O has been proud to partner with Photo Rhetoric on all things photography related.  This partnership has led to some incredible images (including "Zero Visibility" and "Louisville 2013"), a worldwide ad on CyclingNews.com and now the squad on the front and rear covers of the 2014 Litespeed catalog (link here). Matthew Vandivort, from Photo Rhetoric, discusses the background from this most recent publicity.

Anatomy of a catalog cover by Photo Rhetoric's Matthew Vandivort

During the off-season I seldom set off on a weekend ride without a camera stuffed in my back pocket - while any New York City cyclist has spent enough time on 9W to consider it monotonous, I've also learned from experience that there are days when a typical team ride turns into something astonishing - Zero Visibility is the perfect example, though there are also plenty of rides in the fall, when the leaves are in the process of turning, where a simple ride across the bridge becomes something spectacular.

On the day in question residual snow lingering on the ground plus expectations for afternoon precipitation made this one of the few winter Sundays where we didn't have a team ride planned - instead Charlie Bird and I set out with the goal of squeezing in a couple hours before the weather turned sour (or at least more sour than it was to start the ride).

The roads were wet but manageable, but by the time we hit Inland Hills it became abundantly clear that we were riding on borrowed time. At Nike Park we pulled a quick u-turn, hoping to beat the weather back to New York City. Along the way we picked up Johnny B, however even with three riders sharing the pace setting we still couldn't outrun the rain.

With temperatures barely above freezing, extremities already soaked from roads moistened by melting snow, the rain was the final straw that made conditions officially miserable.

By the time we passed under the GWB on River Road - with another 40 minutes of riding still to come before reaching home - we had endured enough of the wind chill that we decided to take shelter from the rain under the bridge for a few minutes with the misguided hope that the rain would pass.

During this brief break I snapped few pictures with my camera, but after just a few shots the battery died, leaving me to capture the final two images - the ones that would make the Litespeed covers - with my rain soaked iPhone.

When we finally surrendered ourselves to the reality that we would be riding home in the rain, we hit the road, eventually reaching our respective apartments in a quasi hypothermic state.

I posted the pictures on TeamSixcycle.com and didn't think much about them until this summer when Litespeed's marketing development reached out to us asking for some photographs for their catalog. We've had a great partnership with Litespeed over the past two years and with a massive library of photographs documenting our use of their frames, we sent them a couple dozen to choose from.

About a month later when Litespeed announced their 2014 bikes, I was surprised to see the two images that I had taken - with nothing more than an iPhone while shivering in the cold - had been selected for the front and rear covers.

Quite the shock, though in a year where Team Sixcycle-RK&O has been featured on Belgian and Dutch TV and CyclingNews.com, perhaps it shouldn't be all that surprising.

Team Sixcycle-RK&O on the Litespeed 2014 Catalog Cover


Team Sixcycle-RK&O on the Litespeed 2014 Catalog Rear Cover

Team Sixcycle-RK&O on CyclingNews.com