Chasing a race is an exhilarating experience. It's technically racing against your own men, your aim to get to your pre determined mark on the course before they do.
I've never really properly chased a race before. I've watched cyclo cross world cups and moved around the course, I'm sure I'm not the only person to have been to a Classics race in Belgium and visited an early sector and then headed off to find another spot to watch the closing moments.
Last month, I was the fifth member of an intrepid team, tasked with capturing the CiCLE Classic, and make a video following the Rapha Condor Sharp team as they took on the unique course.
There are 10 off road sectors, two difficult climbs and a feed zone we had to get 'in the can'.
First things first, we rode the course the day before the race. You could drive it but we all like riding so, why not....
We rode 60 miles of the course missing some of the boring opening bits and making sure we hit all the climbs and off road sectors.
Knowing the course makes life easier when it comes to race day. You remember the roads and where you are and it helps when you need to bisect the course and beat the peleton to the certain points. Riding helps you work out how fast or slow the peloton will ride the section your filming, you can find the best angles and the really gruesome bits of the road.
We start race day milling about the start, chatting to riders and getting interviews. Next we're onto the first sector. And into the feed zone where we set up the first shot and wait for about 40 minutes.
Everything is looking good and we're off to the next bit.
Panic starts to set in when you realise the bunch is attacking and going a lot faster than you had worked out. Parking has to be carefully calculated don't let yourself get blocked in and your can get to the sector quickly too!
Excitement sets in when you see your team smashing it along the road and you've caught it on film.
Then you all power walk/ run back to the van and direct the driver to the next spot.
Stop, find a place to park, unload, run down the road with shouts of ' the bunch are 1 minute away'.
The moto convoy comes through, 'phew we made it' and the whizzing of the peleton and we've caught them on camera again.
Right off to the next bit. Recalculation of plans is also quite interesting, more map reading and shaking of you phone thinking that will make it load the page faster. And then you suddenly arrive at the hill. 'Everyone out', here we go again.
Get a job
Everyone needs a job, otherwise it descends into chaos.
Filmographer and a bag/tripod carrying assistant. Photographer number 2 to get the stills.
You need a map reader and a seperate race route reader. The race route reader needs calculate timings to certain sectors and when riders are in a sector (that was my job plus being a hysterical over excited girl).
A van carries more junk than a car and can handle the off road
Map of the area
Map of the race route
Highlight the sectors and time to sectors
iphones or smart phones with signal for twittering, mapping and taking snaps
Percy pig sweets
Pro riders to win the race
Very helpful team of support crew (thanks Sam and Martin) to film at the feed zone and end
Big thanks to Phips, Sammy, Ben and Andy. It was a day to remember!
That's chasing the race and you can see the result of it here. I'm really excited because we're off to do it all again.
Map reading and twittering at the feed
Phips with his camera
The convey begins
Riding the course
Hitting the dirt