By Kyle Rancourt
For our first Pinebury shoot I asked my friends Noah Middlestaedt (Team USA para cyclist and current national champion) and Clara Brown (Paralympian cyclist, current world champion) to join me in York, Maine for a day of riding. York is at the southernmost tip of the state but aesthetically is quintessential Maine. The atmosphere is comprised of rocky coastline, rolling hills, forest gravel roads, and beautiful vistas. It's also where photographer Nick LaVecchia calls home and was an easy choice since I had been anxious to work with him.
Clara went with a combination of our short sleeve jersey in granite with gray arm warmers while Noah donned the long sleeve jersey in Atlantic blue. For balance, I chose to wear the short sleeve jersey in Pine - arguably my favorite colorway of the season.
The previous week, Nick and I had scouted the locations we wanted to shoot so we had a plan for the day with a route mapped out that would allows Clara, Noah, and me to ride between locations. Getting in a little workout while enjoying the scenery and chatting about everything from careers, to cycling, to future goals.
We explored locations as varied as the Nubble Lighthouse, paved coastal thoroughfares, small dirt paths that led us to abandoned lobster shacks, and a beautiful winding forest gravel road that terminated at a private oceanfront estate.
I especially enjoyed an unplanned detour through a hiking / running path that popped us out onto the famous "Wiggly Bridge". The bridge leads to/from a short hiking path through the woods but on the other end is this beautiful jetty that leads back to the main road. The deep blue Atlantic Ocean surrounds you as you cross the jetty back to the relative safety of paved roads.
As short as the crossing was it felt a bit sketchy due to the 25-30 mph wind gusts that were hitting us as we crossed the narrow path on our bikes.
Although the conditions could have been much better, at the end of the day there was a shared sense of fulfillment. Despite the wind and the cold we were able to spend a day exploring on our bikes in relative comfort. I never felt too hot nor too cold. The pieces I had selected from our collection
had kept me comfortable and I barely noticed they were there. Which, in the end, is the best possible endorsement I could give. The reward is to get out on our bikes, explore the environment, and find joy through physical activity and adventure. The gear you bring should support you in that endeavor.
I was thrilled to get to spend the day chatting with inspiring athletes like Clara and Noah, who despite a physical disability have become phenomenal athletes. For them, the bike gives them a sense of freedom and parity with able-bodied athletes. I look forward to telling more of their story in the future.