Justin "Papa" "Bigfoot" Robinson has represented the US in the world championships as an elite many times over the years. He has competed at every US National Championships since 1992, and in Reno he laced up the spikes for the men's single-speed race.

Photo gallery: Another look at the 2018 US National Cyclocross Championships

by Brian Vernor

For 25 years, as a racer and as a filmmaker, I’ve been inspired by the US National Cyclocross Championships. My first experience with the race was in 1993, in Tuolumne, California. It was unforgettable for many reasons, all of which still exist every time I make it back to the big race.

Namely, there is crowd presence and excitement unmatched by other events throughout the season. Also, there is pride on the line and racers seem to dig deeper than at any other race. I’ve always seen beauty in the mix of prideful battle and and a lot of watchful eyes. This year the championships in Reno, Nevada, were as good a display of the two as I’ve come to expect. In both the women’s and men’s elite races the final laps included a rush of drama, with victors only finding certainty once they crossed the line. The local crowd was decently large and by all accounting the online audience was bigger than ever (even Wout van Aert, the reigning World Champion, tweeted his enthusiasm for the online live feed from his home in Belgium).

With each year I attend the National Championships, I am more impressed by the speed of the riders, both elite and amateur. I think speed is beauty, and with that equation in mind I set out to make some photos that represented the massive effort, and technical prowess, of the racers. In the captions below I’ve offered my insight to the community of racers and the big race itself. Thanks for the opportunity.

Brian Vernor is a filmmaker and photographer living in Los Angeles. His credits include the cyclocross film Pure Sweet Hell (2004), along with feature photo stories in Outside, Bicycling, and NEON, among others. This is his first contribution to CyclingTips. Find more of his work at www.brianvernor.com and @vernor on Instagram.

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