Balint Hamvas spent most of last winter ankle-deep in freezing mud, snow, sand, and rain, to take photos of cyclo-cross racing for this book, Cyclo Cross 2012/2013. To fill over 200 pages with all that is cyclo-cross Hamvas travelled to more than 30 races, logged up in excess of 22,000 miles and was woken by a 4am alarm far too many times.
The book is a comprehensive overview of the 2012/13 season, featuring images from all eight legs of the World Cup, all the Superprestige races, plus other highlights such as Koppenbergcross, Overijse, Namur, Scheldecross, Druivencross and the historic World Championships in Louisville, USA.
But it's not just pictures of racing, which might get boring, there's a photo essay chapter of a day-in-the-life of US Rapha-FOCUS rider Jeremy Powers and the book is given real character with a substantial smorgasbord of the interesting, weird, peripheral and inconsequential ephemera that surrounds cross racing.
There are pictures of close-ups of mud, tyre tracks in the sand, a saddle, mud, a skin-suit being hosed down, a discarded plastic beer glass, eccentric supporters, and even more mud.
Some might say it's just pointless pictures of pointless stuff, but if you watch 'cross racing or race 'cross you'll get it instantly. It's these pictures that give the real flavour and reflect the true spirit of the sport.
As you'd expect from a photographer the book is chock thick with images but to add a bit more depth to the photos each race is prefaced with a few words. These are kept brief almost to the point of being scribbled notes, or maybe describing a race via a beer analogy. Race results and winners are not always mentioned if that would get in the way of letting the pictures succinctly capture the essence of a cold damp Sunday.
There are longer tracts dropped into the book but as a snapper Balint admits that he's not such a great writer so he hands this wordy task over to others more suited. Stephan Wyman talks about the exciting times for women's CX racing; Simon Burney waxes lyrical on when it was the Swiss rather than the Belgians that dominated the podium; there's a nice thing about amateur 'cross in Belgium; and as a partner to the images of the USA Worlds a small essay on cyclo-cross in America.
The words don't get bogged down in themselves like you might in a Koksijde corner; it's all different, insightful and interesting stuff.
This isn't some book quickly cobbled together to cash in on the recent popularity of cyclo-cross. It's hard graft and passion in full-colour, high quality paper, hard-backed form. If you like cyclo-cross or know someone who does, you or they are not going to be disappointed with this book.
Mud, passion and madness distilled into a hardback that won't disappoint any cross fan.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cyclephotos Cyclo Cross 2012/2013 Photo Book by Balint Hamvas
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Balint Hamvas says that after wrapping up another spectacular cyclo-cross season he's gathered all his best pictures of the 2012/2013 CX season into a new book. The most beautiful, interesting, fetching and eye-catching shots of the biggest races of the season have been brought together on 220 pages, with full-colour pictures on high quality paper in a hard-cover edition.
I'd agree with that, it's a well shot, informative insight into the racing world of cyclo-cross.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Hardcover, 220 pages
Product Dimensions: 27 x 23 x 2 cm
Publisher: cyclephotos.co.uk '�
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a photography book about cyclo-cross, it has lots of pretty, and not so pretty, pictures of cyclo-cross.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
All the pictures, obviously, and the eclectic variety of subject matter, the words were pretty good too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes. It would also make a great gift for a 'cross fiend friend.
About the tester
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun