Mountain biking at Attitash:
I am tired. Very tired. Most of my body aches and I have not showered in three days. I love to add a little story now and then to my blog so here goes.
The last two days I have been tearing up Attitash Mountain on my Iron Horse Sunday down hill mountain bike. The bike is basically a dirt bike with out the motor. But who needs a motor when you let gravity take you down the hill?
My story starts late friday night. I camped out near Attitash so that I could get up at first light and hit the trails. I got up at 6am, saw a great sunrise and headed to the mountain. Saturday was just another great sunny day riding the lift-service terrain. I saw a black bear dart across the trail. I met up with a few riders who were as good as me (haha) and we rode for eight hours straight. I lost count after the twenty plus runs I got in.
Saturday night I camped out in the same place, under a trap (no tent), and was woken up at about midnight by heavy rains. My fire was swamped and I was attacked by bugs. Also, to make things worse, I picked a bad place to sleep and was flooded by a river of cold water, sticks and leaves. I moved my camp and all was well. But woke up a few times and only got about three hours of sleep. I was just too wet and tired and did not try to get another fire going. It was a long night to say the least.
Now to the fun part, I hit Attitash for my second day and while I was getting checked in, I was told a television crew was shooting on the mountain. Sweet! (Mountain biking and television, a great combo for me!)
The top of the mountain was wrapped in fog and I figured the trails who be terrible after all the rain, but I went to find the film crew.
I spotted them early from the lift, but I was having a great time flying down the mountain cranking the music on my ipod. The trails were fast and I felt strong.
I kept riding for a few hours and then decided to hit a trail where I knew the crew was shooting.
Aaron Chase, Cameron Zink and a few other famous and talented mt bikers were on the mountain shooting a tv show produced by Matchstick Productions for Rush HD. The show was called “Focused” and it follows world class action sports athletes around world telling their stories as they jump out of planes, shred ski slopes or hit huge jumps deep in the wilderness. They had the entire world to ride, so why where they at Attitash Mountain in Bartlett, New Hampshire?
I got to speak to cinematographer, Guillaume Tessier and producer/cameraman, Nate Nash. I found out that both of them worked on the “Ski Movie”, one of the best ski and snowboarding films of all time. Guillaume was shooting super 16 film with an Arri Flex and Nate was using a Sony 750 HDCAM with a set of Sac sticks. He also had a Fuji wide-angle lens he mounted for a few shots. These guys have shot some great footage for MSPfilms.com and the creative company’s very successful extreme sports film series.
Nate used a Lowe Pro bag to travel the HDCAM with the Anton Bauer Dionic battery at the bottom of the pack and the lens at the top. I zipped past him a few times as he walked the rig down the trails in the large rectangular backpack. He did have access to a four-wheeler (thanks to Nate Waterhouse) to get the gear from place to place.
I stopped at one of the shooting locations near the bottom of the “Holy Shoot” trail and heard one of the guys say, “So would you rather push papers across a desk in an office, or push your bike up the mountain”. The rider quickly replied, “I’d rather push my bike up the mountain all day”. I would say that during this shoot, all five pro riders pushed and hiked their heavy down hill bikes up the mountain 80 percent of the time and got to ride only 20 percent of the time. Multiple takes, one camera. These riders are use to it. They are making television. I have to say, these guys are fearless and once they drop in, they almost always hit it in the first take. The cameraman has to ask them to do it again so he can set up for a different angle.
The crew broke for lunch and I found out that these guys are doing a motorcycle road trip for “Focused”. They had a trailer full of mountain bikes and Harley Davidson motorcycles. They were going to hit the Mount Washington Auto Road (sketchy road that goes up the mountain with unreal views) tomorrow with the gas powered bikes and Nate and Guillaume were going to document it. Great gig!
As for me, I managed to ask a few questions about the extreme sports video/film trade and share some of the stuff I had done. I shot a quick video at the end of my two days of riding with my crappy point and shoot still camera. See the link at the top of the page. I have no idea why the sky is purple. It is not easy to adjust the camera with my left hand while holding on for dear life with my right hand. And, since it looked so bad shooting video, I did not mind running it over with my bike…
If you managed to read this far, then you will be interested and delighted to hear that I will be shooting a video for Attitash with the EX1, Letus Extreme, my dolly system, my jib and a few other new toys later this summer. I am headed to the mountain this Saturday with my buddy, TJ to scout it all out. I will bring the EX1 and the Letus to do a few tests with local riders. I just might post some tease vids to my blog a few days later. Stay Tuned!