Being pampered while strutting your confident self toward the barrel of a camera is a glamorous image of the fashion industry - for many people this exposure to modelling is an ultimate career goal.
But not all photoshoots involve tinsel and champagne alongside adoring stylists set in luxurious locations. As we experienced, sometimes they involve sweat, physical labour and a deafening accolade of cicadas amongst the good old Australian Bush.
But we are cyclists. Our sense of pleasure is considerably warped in comparison to others. And so, when asked to provide models by an International Brand like Velocio, and to work with your favourite Cycling Photographer Beardy McBeard, there's no chance to say "No. Too hard."
I needed 4 tough nuts willing to do hill repeats while looking poised. I came up with a solid crew that included modelling locals Bev Shroot, Dora Yu, Ben Blackshaw and Mark Pitkin.
The experience with Beardy was so fantastic no-one wanted to return to their real job.
What's more, we wanted to share and show that you don't need to be pro to look good in awesome kit by Velocio or for the man behind Beardy's Caravan , Beardy McBeard.
So, please enjoy Dora's Definitive Guide to A Day in the Life of an Imaginary Model.
We were there to shoot the upcoming summer collection for Velocio - a gorgeously hued, striking mix of understated prints and bright block colours that I could not wait to try on. Ali, our producer-extraordinaire for the day, also moonlighted as our Oprah of Kit (“you get a jersey! Aaaand you get a jersey!”), conjuring up and bestowing upon us our outfits like some kind of lycra goddess.
First up for me was a Grid Dot Ultra Light jersey coupled with matching socks and a pair of their newest fly-free bib shorts. It was a combination that worked perfectly with the straight-out-of-the-box new, tomato-red GTR-Team Wilier I would be riding for the shoot (nothing I owned was even nearly euro-glam enough).
Bev, a TV producer and Velocio Ambassador, looked effortlessly stylish in her Tricolor jersey. With Mark having changed into his Navy Grid Dot Ultra Light jersey and Beardy nestled securely into the open boot of a Toyota Corolla, we were ready to shoot.
Mark in Velocio Floral (coming soon). Ben in Velocio Radiator Jersey White
On the rare occasions I have allowed myself to imagine the life of a model (and these occasions have been very rare indeed), it was probably a more grand, altogether more idle experience. One that perhaps involved thousands of dollars-worth of lighting equipment, wind machines, makeup stylists and little glass bottles of mineral water.
But we do things rather differently here in the cycling universe, don’t we?
Replace the lighting with luxurious, dappled morning sun, wind machines with trying to draft behind a small Japanese car (while Beardy yells at you to “look more aero!”), makeup stylists with the glistening sweat produced from hill repeats and little glass bottles of mineral water with fervent swigs of takeaway cold brew, and you’ve got yourself a cycling photo shoot.
After a few more wardrobe changes, a couple thousand clicks of the camera, and a much-anticipated coffee stop at Twenty Seven Four café, it was time to head back to the cars...
Descending down into the Marina for the last time that day, I thought about Ben tapping away patiently beside me on our third climb up Bobbin, blowing me away on that climb both physically and mentally with his tales of preparing for an ultra-marathon in New Zealand. Bev, the excitement and trepidation she had about starting a new job in a couple of weeks. Mark, with his endless trough of anxiety-inducing stories about planes and their related near-misses.
In just a handful of hours I had learned so much about these people, somehow.
"This sport just can’t help but pull you closer to fascinating, interesting individuals, all the while making you feel like you are miles away from everything else in your life."
Above : One of the finishing shots taken by Beardy
We get to the Marina, take a few more shots, coasting around Apple Tree Bay trying to look as casually deliberate as possible. Another plane rumbles overhead. Mark knows exactly where it’s heading, but I half-stop listening. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
For incredible Cycling travel and Racing photos on Beardys Caravan click here
And click here to check the 2019 Velocio Apparel available in Australia. Please contact us if you're after any Apparel seen within the photoshoot.
Chainsmith would especially like to thank our models Dora, Bev, Mark and Ben.