November 13th, 2009
Last month Lyn and I jumped down to Santa Rosa to film Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo. I know what you’re thinking, “What the heck is a gran fondo?” Well, according to levisgranfondo.com, it is a “long distance, mass-participation cycling event – not a race.” There, now you know. I must say it was a grand gran fondo. The course wound its way through deep, dark forests and across golden hillsides.
The standard practice for covering cycling events is from the back of a motorcycle, or from a helicopter. Luckily, we had both. Carl Burchfiel, our fearless leader, wrestled a fully-kitted Red inside a tiny chopper while Lyn and I took the motos. I rode behind Bill and Lyn rode behind
Val Kilmer Chad on his BMW 1200GS (For the record, I can neither confirm or deny the possibility of me being obsessed with this particular motorcycle).
As I was building out my camera the night before, I discovered I was missing the top handle – probably left it in the rental car in Cleavland. Operating a Red One without a top handle is like trying to cut a steak without thumbs. It’s awkward, and makes you look stupid. Hanging onto the back of a speeding motorcycle made it all the more challenging. I still managed to get some decent moving shots from the back of the bike. The rest of the time we’d try to leapfrog Levi, pull over, and film as he passed. Lyn carried the tripod on her back and our motos rode together. We were a motorcycle gang of two.
It was great meeting Levi. He’s a really nice guy and put together this ride as a fundraiser for the city of Santa Rosa and Forget Me Not Farm.
What I learned on this shoot:
* Size matters – can’t wait until Red comes out with some smaller cameras for this type of work. I hear the Scarlet should be out by 2015 [sarcasm].
* Story, story, story – I was reminded that gorgeous vistas and cycling celebrities do not an interesting video make. It always has, and always will be about the story. Even though we had rough audio and limited time with The Levi, I think I managed to eek out a subtle story line here. Enjoy.