The Other Side of Adventure Racing

During the 2013 Gold Rush Mother Lode Adventure RaceSam Salwei and I got to experience the other side of adventure racing as part of the film crew.

You might have never considered it before, but there are several sides to an adventure race.  There is the planning side – before the race when race directors, course directors, and a bunch of volunteers set up to create a challenging and epic race.  During the race, there is the side of the countless volunteers that (hu)man the transition points and specialty areas, and make for an ‘as uneventful as possible’ race flow.  And there is the side of those people that are there with the sole purpose of capturing the event in media to share it to the world.

Adventure Racing is definitely not a spectator sport.  The teams are not cheered through the race by fans and given the energy that a mass of people can give to a racer.  For the most part, racers are seen at the race start, at transitions points by volunteers and race crew, and once again at the finish line.  The rest has been unknown territory. Until now!

The objective of filming a race is to bring life to those unknown areas of adventure racing.  We have all heard stories from adventure racing friends telling us of the grueling moments of a race, the epic treks, the cold river crossings, and the perilous climbs.  The film crew gets to capture those stories crazy with equally epic video to validate the racers’ tales of adventure. The successes, the team work, the breakdowns… we capture them all.

Our filming of the 2013 Gold Rush Mother Lode Adventure Race has been part of a multi-year project in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati’s  UC Forward Initiative.  We worked with 9 senior film students to produce an 88 minute, 4 part series on the for Universal Sports Network.

Overall it was an amazing experience. Geared out with our Pentax camera, and with the support of Sony products, we converted the Peace Love Car into an adventure racing mobile filming support car, taught yoga, flew helicopters, ran with teams, hiked, crossed rivers, screamed like babies on a 700 ft zip line, and experienced some of the best parts of the race. Filming is not the same as racing, but it was not an easy task either.

To get an idea of the awesome documentary soon to come, you can watch the amazing videos that the students edited in the field in this link.

We are eagerly looking forward to next year’s race!  Ohhh… and stay tuned to Universal Sports Network for the 2012 video too.

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