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Endurance: Down and Dirty Off-Road Racing

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By Theresa Ortolani
Coeditor Ian McLaughlin
Introduction by Ezra Dyer
Design by Eddie Brannan and Alexander Wolf

Extreme Sports / Motocross / Enduro / Off-Road
Hardcover
8.5 x 11 inches
160 pages
155 four-color photographs

ISBN: 978-1-57687-517-9

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Nathan Kanney lost his spleen in Poland.

Kanney, the main subject of Theresa Ortolani’s Endurance, crashed his dirt bike during the 2004 International Six Days Enduro race in Poland, but he kept going until he was pulled from the race and taken to the hospital. Doctors removed his ruptured spleen and told him he would have died if he had stayed in the race any longer. That’s the MO of the off-road motorcycle world: unless you’re on the verge of death, you stay on the throttle. Imagine fighting Chuck Liddell for hours at a time, while on the deck of a pitching Alaskan trawler, and you start to get an idea of the mental and physical strain of off-road motorcycle racing.

In an age where many high-adrenaline sports have become watered-down exercises in marketing, dirt bike racing remains intensely raw; a dangerous enterprise populated with a colorful, profane cast of daredevils. On the backs of snorting, twitchy Kawasakis and KTMs, these athletes race through the forest in pursuit of a podium spot and a sponsorship. Ortolani applies an artist’s eye to this unforgiving sport and the riders who pursue it, resulting in an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes window into this punishing competition.

Endurance offers embedded access and a scope that spans three years of off-road racing. Ortolani began shooting Nathan Kanney at a race in 2006 in which Kanney made Grand National Cross Country history by winning the race as a privateer and Ortolani was hooked on a sport that is at turns beautiful and inescapably brutal. Ortolani traveled thousands of miles across the U.S. and Europe, in the process capturing Kanney’s ascent from underdog privateer to Husqvarna and KTM Factory Team rider—an achievement that required beating world champions riding bikes three times the cost of his.

Ortolani recently received the following e-mail from Kanney describing a 60 mile-per-hour crash during practice: Crashed today and for sure damaged a rib or two. I can’t breef. Just another day on the job.

Endurance includes photographs of Kanney’s world-champion competitors and teammates including David Knight, Kailub Russell, Corey Buttrick, Homero Diaz, Ryan Mills, Anders Eriksson and Bartosz Oblucki, with a cameo appearance by Travis Pastrana. Among the contributors are Nathan Kanney, Jerry Bernardo, Carrie Coombs Russell, Jason Weigandt, Kailub Russell and Corey Buttrick.

Theresa Ortolani is a Brooklyn-based photographer. She received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts at Boston University and was awarded a Sojourner Truth Fellowship for Graduate Studies in Fine Art Photography. She has developed and directed photography programs in conjunction with the Ansel Adams Center, the San Francisco Art Institute, NYU, and SUNY. When she’s not dodging dirt bikes or setting stuntmen aflame for her upcoming release, Don’t Try This at Home, she spends time in New Paltz, NY.

Ian McLaughlin is a New York stuntman, stunt coordinator and stunt rigger. Among the numerous films he has appeared in are Salt, Shutter Island, Duplicity, I Am Legend, and The Departed. He has doubled actors including Clive Owen, Ashton Kutcher, Hayden Christensen, Bradley Cooper, and Christopher Meloni. McLaughlin also races dirt bikes. He is the Technical Consultant and, along with Theresa Ortolani, is the Coeditor of Photography and Text for Endurance.

Ezra Dyer is a journalist who has covered cars for Esquire, Men’s Journal, The New York Times, and Automobile Magazine, among other publications. A multiple International Automotive Media Award-winner, Dyer earned a 2008 Folio Eddie Award gold medal for his Automobile feature story on the Smart Car. Ezra has a motorcycle license, but remains vaguely afraid of dirt bikes after crashing his Arctic Cat minibike into his house at age ten.

Eddie Brannan is the Creative Director of CITY Magazine. One of the founding editors of Trace Magazine, he went on to become Creative Director of The Fader, BlackBook, and SPREAD ArtCulture magazines. He’s a contributing editor to Big and Big Man magazines, and has worked on advertising and branding projects for clients including Alexander McQueen/Puma, and Lexus. CITY Art Director, Alexander Wolf, joins him in the design of Endurance.

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