Words and Photos by Luke Batten

I often tell my students at the University where I teach to not start their critique with a disclaimer or an rationalization of what was imagined and what was realized. I encourage them to look at what was made with fresh eyes, free from regret. “Lets talk about what was made instead of what was not.” After our trip to LA, configuring this post on my return, I feel it necessary to ignore my own advice and state my selection of these images deviated from my original intent because I had so many mixed rationales in editing the images. I just kept adding and adding, even after telling myself on the plane ride home to distill the Elite races into 8 images. It was impossible because potentially lost in this minimal presentation was my full appreciation of the Shewolf Attack Team also know as SWAT! They provided Dani and TSH a home away from home in the dusty confines around the Greek Theater. They also hosted a panel discussion with the women’s elite riders, providing feedback to audience looking for mentorship on training, racing and living as a competitive athlete. Every scene needs a SWAT. Thankfully many do. Also embedded in this multi-faceted edit of professionals, amateurs, close-ups, portraits, race shots, friendship and SWAT is my admiration of Katarina Nash and the way she races a cross bike and commits to every section on the course with power and finesse. My favorite part? …watching her thread a little used line in some loose gravel. By the time she hit it for the third or fourth time it was her own little bit of single track. After this weekend I can’t help but to love the sport of cyclocross a bit more. Thank you LA for the warm sun and welcome.