What are you doing next year?

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Wiggle High5 Innsbruck

A big question among friends and colleagues in the pro cycling world right now is, “So, what are you doing next year?” It’s a common enough question each year once the cycling transfer season opens. But this year the question seems more urgent. A number of teams are closing their doors.  A significant number of athletes and support staff need to find new homes for 2019. For myself, I don’t yet have an answer to this question.

I landed this job with Wiggle High5 in the fall of 2016. Since the first day I’ve been super aware just how unique and rare this job was. With many women’s teams still unable to pay all their athletes and support staff a full time wage, having a videographer travel with the team can seem like a straight up luxury (a subject for another blog).

 


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Off season thoughts

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off season thoughts

I’m always super reflective during October. Partly because it’s my birth month, and holy shit another year of my life has flown by. But also because there’s finally some quiet space to slow down and breathe. It’s like my own kind of off season to look back and reflect on the year, assess progress, and allow myself time to refresh.

After shooting my last race of the season, my camera sat in my camera bag for a good couple of weeks, untouched. Every day I would walk by it and feel a sting of guilt for not filming anything. But I wasn’t ready to pick it up yet. I imagine this is exactly how every pro cyclist feels during their off season. The bike sits in the corner and waits for its rider to refresh mentally and physically after a long season.

This down time is so important in order to see the big picture.
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Favorite Giro Rosa moments

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Giro Rosa team time trial

Sitting down to write about the Giro Rosa, it’s hard to recall the 10 stages of the Giro as a whole event. Put together, the days melt into a sleep-deprived blur of incredible bike racing, hot bus rides, hotels, and hours of video editing. What I remember best are specific moments of stages, atmosphere, shots, feelings.. below are my favorite moments from each stage.

 

Stage 1

Pure anticipation and excitement. Stage 1 of my first Giro Rosa with this team. I’ve always had a fascination with the team time trial.  The sleek bikes and aero helmets, the whir of disc wheels, the elegance of the team working and turning together, racing against the clock. The team finished a super 4th place, after zero training in the TTT this year.

Giro Rosa team time trial

 

Stage 2

Each day I arrived in the team bus about an hour ahead of the riders. I had time to shoot some establishing shots of the town, and the staff prepping bikes and bottles.
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OVO Women’s Tour and mega multitasking

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OVO Women's Tour

The OVO Women’s Tour has come and gone. This was a tough tour for both the athletes and the staff.  Long stages that lasted sometimes more than four hours, followed by 2-3 hour transfers, made for very long days. Our team however had a brilliant week, both on and off the bike.

Media pressure and team expectations were high for this race. As a British registered team with a British title sponsor, we all felt pressure to perform well in our roles. I had the added duty of doing social media for the team, in addition to filming. To cover all bases and ensure the content we produced was as strong as possible, the team brought in Aaron Cook, a local filmmaker who has worked previously with the team. With Aaron there, I had the necessary time to do the social media.

 

 

Juggling my phone, my camera, and my dji, I could have done with at least one extra set of arms and hands.  
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Tour of Chongming Island, impressions of China

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Tour of Chongming Island

When this season started Tour of Chongming Island was an intriguing race on the calendar. I was excited to go to China, never having traveled to any part of Asia before. Walking out of the airport doors, I wasn’t sure what I would find.

Wiggle had a very sprinty team for this race. With Jolien, Nettie, Lucy and Grace, at least one stage win was a good possibility. The first stage crash gave everyone doubts. However aside from the initial chaos and injury assessment, Jolien seemed completely unfazed by the crash, and went on to dominate the rest of the stages and the GC.

Filming at Tour of Chongming Island was fun. With a new GoPro Hero5 to use, I was confident putting a GoPro on the bikes for the first time. I’ve always hated shaky GoPro footage and never wanted to use it. But the Hero5 has image stabilisation and gives great video aboard the bikes.
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Comfort zone – don’t hang out there too long

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Cycling
comfort zone

It is generally accepted that hanging out in your comfort zone hinders creative growth. It’s like reaching a plateau in your endurance training. It’s a decent level of fitness to be at, but you’re not really getting any better.

During the Spring Classics I hit a creative plateau. My videos have recently all taken on the same formula.

  • Pre-race prep scenes
  • An interview or two
  • Race footage
  • Post-race reactions

I know how to do this now. I can do it in my sleep. It works. But it’s also predictable.

To some degree it’s just the nature of the races and of racing. I film what happens, often too literally. Until now I haven’t dug much deeper.

But there is always more than one angle to film from, different questions to ask, and different equipment to use. During this week at home I’ve reached out to a few people to understand what they would like to see more of in these videos.
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I hope all the travel isn’t wearing you out too much

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travel

The team had a weekend off of racing. I had my first weekend at home in 6 weeks. It’s been nice to sleep in my own bed, get back on my bike, and catch up with friends. One of these friends said, “I hope all the travel isn’t wearing you out too much.”

The truth is, travel has been a part of every job of my adult life. Race management took me all over the US nearly every weekend for 12 years. I did the timing and results for the Silicon Valley Marathon, Houston Marathon, Baltimore Marathon, Ironman New Zealand, ITU World Championships in Queenstown, and even the original Athens Marathon in Greece. Then after moving to Europe, working as a cycling tour guide took me all over Italy and France.

Now working for a professional women’s cycling team, this travel trend is not slowing down. In the last 5 weeks, I’ve been to the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Belgium twice.
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Inside the Ronde van Vlaanderen

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Ronde van Vlaanderen

Gent Wevelgem and Ronde van Vlaanderen..  I’d been looking forward to this week on the calendar for many months. Now it’s suddenly behind us.  Time is flying by and more than ever I need to write here in this space just to remember everything that’s happened.

Last week started with the Pajot Hills Classic. I spent the day following the soigneurs, Laura and Kristine, to get a view of the race from their perspective. None of the staff love being on camera, but they were good sports about it. I filmed several of the local laps then we drove out to the feed zone on the Bosberg. Afterwards, a few more local laps through the finish line.

The few photographers that were at the race gathered casually at the finish line, chatting about the curve right before the finish that made it impossible to see the race coming. Then suddenly Nettie hammered it around the corner and won the race.
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Gent-Wevelgem and the Belgian holy week

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Hello from Oudenaarde and welcome to Belgian holy week! On Thursday I flew to Belgium ahead of Gent-Wevelgem. As a cycling fan I’ve followed these races for years, but have never been here to experience them in person.

My discovery started soon after getting to our house for the week. I learned that the Koppenberg is just 2km up the road from here. I threw my camera over my shoulder, grabbed a bike and headed down the road. Pedalling into the wind, I followed the paved bike path that used to be railroad tracks. On my left I saw the hill of the Koppenberg looming. At a small intersection I turned left onto the cobbles. After passing a few houses, the road went steep quickly.

Carrying a camera on my back and wearing jeans and running shoes, I managed to get about 1/4 way up until I surrendered and started to walk.
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