Yesterday, I took a little field trip to witness one of the best examples of an endurance athlete the world has to offer. I got up very early for a chance to catch a glimpse of ultra-cyclist Christoph Strasser as he headed to Annapolis, MD for another win in Race Across America. This guys holds the fastest time record at RAAM of 7 days, 15 hours, and 56 minutes to ride from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. This year he didn’t go quite that fast, nearly 24 hours slower at 8 days, 9 hours, 34 minutes, but incredibly his nearest competitor was more than a day behind. No surprise, he also holds the record for greatest distance on a bike in 24 hours–556.856 miles. I had to see this guy with my own eyes, especially cause of my previous experience with RAAM.
I guess the race was having some problems with their live tracking which made it difficult for me to time a meet up with him as he descended out of the mountains of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, but after many hours of trying to track his location with a spotty signal and trying to scout a good spot for a photo, I found him and his crew.
I first saw his RV pop up over a rise in the two lane highway 16 just north of Mercersburg, PA and I knew he must be approaching. Next I could hear the sound of the loudspeaker attached to the follow vehicle with an almost constant dialogue coming from within. Too bad I can’t speak German to understand what they were saying to him. There were quite a few cars passing between him and me as I chose a spot on the opposite side of the road. He saw me, too. He’s not much of a smiler, but can’t blame him with a little over 3,000 miles under pedal and less than 200 to go. I think he was probably wondering who in the hell I was. The moment passed so quickly, after spending the entire day trying to catch him, I moved ahead two more times to get more shots.
On the street of Waynesboro, PA a man riding his bike with his young daughter stopped me to ask where the cyclist had started. When I told him California just over a week earlier, he was amazed. I think this may be one of my favorite aspects of this race because it passes through these small towns and the people generally have no idea what’s happening.
While I was waiting I came across some great scenery. It’s such a beautiful area.
Five years ago I was part of a winning 11 person team supporting a rookie cyclist in Race Across America (#RAAM), a 12 day bicycle race across the United States. This race is often called the toughest bicycle race in the world because it’s non-stop, 30% longer than the Tour de France and completed in nearly half the time. I can attest to the rigor of this event on the athlete and the team as a whole.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 cyclists, including the cyclist I supported, will head out again from Oceanside, CA on the RAAM course heading to Annapolis, MD. The overall winner will cross in around 8 days, which is still astounding to me. So, what’s it like to RAAM, you ask?
In my RAAM experience I was along for the ride, a one person media team, to document the experience through video and photographs, and build an audience by way of social media posts for the charity (Hopecam) for which we raced night and day. I really didn’t know anyone on the team well. We raised over $300,000. We had three support vehicles–two minivans and an RV. We also had a medic, nutritionist, a bike mechanic, and a massage therapist–most of us volunteered our time. We slept and ate when we could, and shared beds as practical strangers. There was little conflict, a lot of sweat and smelly feet, one instance of leaving behind a team member at a convenience store, no booze, a few good laughs, and everyone on their best behavior. Near the completion of the race, fractures in the team caused by personality and generational conflicts and exhaustion were beginning to show, but the finish line was so close and our race going so well, no one dared to diminish his chances. We all could see the finish line., and an end to our forced companionship.
At the end, our cyclist, finished tenth overall and first place in his age group, a resounding success as most rookies do not even finish this race. It can’t be understated how important the role of the support team is in this event. No competitor can complete this race alone, no matter how well he or she trains. If the team falls apart, so does the racer.
I’ve been on many teams in my lifetime as a youth and adult athlete and media professional, a parent and a family member. These worlds are all strikingly similar in this way. I know how to be a good team member. I might even say I have been on so many teams and become so accustomed to sacrificing myself to such a great extent that I have a hard time being without a team and focusing just on my interests.
As the race unfolded, I saw each team member go through his or her ups and downs–myself included. Exhaustion affects people in different ways–bad decisions, irritability, mistakes, etc. Many a time I internally lamented not being allowed access to the racer or the follow vehicle to have constant opportunities to videotape the cyclist especially at sunrise and sunset. I thought this was a pretty critical mistake for this team’s effort–especially from a PR perspective. Shots were missed as a result. Moments were missed that would certainly have been useful. At times I was asleep when I should have been awake which was unavoidable given the scale of this race. I could have fought for the access, but I didn’t. What would this have done to the team, I thought to myself? Would it have put me at odds with the team leader and the cyclist who were weary of the nuisance of video anyway.
At times, I couldn’t think clearly enough to edit the segments. I was doing the work of three or four people–shooting, interviewing, voicing, writing, editing, uploading, and disseminating. After a while I worried I was getting the same shots over and over, and I was but that’s what was happening. For large spans I had no cellular signal to upload. I produced over thirty short videos during the nearly two weeks of the race. During stretches I was awake over 48 hours, and conversely sound asleep with four or five people coming and going from the room where I slept. I thank God I hadn’t seen the movie No Country for Old Men as I often was forced to go to sleep with motel doors unlocked so crew members could come and go as needed.
At some point during the race, I knew I had gained the trust and respect of my fellow crew members for my ability to function on so little sleep, to maintain a positive and upbeat attitude, and to remain neutral and avoid conflict. At one point, someone even pointed out that they weren’t certain whose side I would be on in a conflict developing between the younger and older members of the crew. When asked, I didn’t really answer the question. I made a joke. The fact is, I didn’t agree with every decision, I didn’t like everyone–young and old, but I focused on the job to be done and did it. This is what it’s like to be in the midst of RAAM.
Good luck to all RAAM cyclists, but most of all good luck to all of your crew members. Be safe, be kind, be generous. Remember cyclists, you couldn’t do this without your crew. They are your biggest muscle that will get you through this endeavor, OR they can become the cramp or saddle sore that brings you to a halt if you forget their value.
I’ve long had an internal debate about the best ways to provide the service of highlight reels to high school athletes and their families looking to garner attention from college recruiters. I see families who don’t know where or how to start the process, while others spend hundreds or more without any plan for how to utilize it. I’ve also seen flashy highlight reels with irrelevant or lackluster material that may prove detrimental to an athlete’s first impression.
By far the biggest problem is obtaining, gathering and maintaining a selection of clips which truly highlight a player’s ability. Many families stress or lose interest in producing a video because of the time and expense of going through game footage to find usable clips or paying someone else to do it. As a video professional I am very aware of how time consuming the process can be. Add to it, saving the clips and keeping them organized for several years adds another level of difficulty that dissuades many families.
In an effort to streamline the process of saving and organizing clips over a one, two, or three year period, I have decided to offer a flat rate archiving feature. For $175.00 a year, I will organize and store up to 20 identified video clips (:10 sec each or less) for use later in a highlight reel. When the time comes to produce a highlight reel your clips are all in one place ready to be edited together. There is no obligation to use Pawpro to edit the final highlight video from the archived footage.
In the end, archiving the footage provides a solution for overwhelmed families, and streamlines the editing process for me.
Please send me an email if you have any questions about archiving, or want to get started.
Not all highlight footage is equally created. Pawpro produces high quality video footage of athletic teams or individual athletes which may be used as a coaching tool, or to highlight team and personal skills/strengths. Be aware, this is more than just generic game footage which most highlight and recruiting reel companies are mass peddling to schools and parents. Many companies produce footage that is grainy and out of focus. Pawpro videotapes a game with HD cameras, so the footage is crystal clear. See the difference between HD footage and standard definition (SD) footage in the two stills below. These stills are both captured from one frame of video footage. Notice that the field of view is larger with the HD footage, but also the details are sharper. The difference is even more dramatic when the camera focuses on an individual player.
The great advantage to parents, players and recruiters in today’s multimedia revolution is that your footage can be viewed readily and instantly via a link. No need to snail mail endless DVDs and hope that they play for coaches and recruiters. A highlight reel is an essential tool for serious athletes looking to maximize their college placement potential.
For teams and coaches, we do offer full season or multi-game, team video coverage. Call or e-mail for pricing.
Pawpro Media will graphically and visually highlight your player by editing-down game footage to the best moments. Videos may also include any stats or contact information. ( We will compile footage shot by others.)
Highlight reel pricing depends on the amount of footage to be screened, editing extras such as special effects, animated graphics, music, voiceover, and the number of finished minutes in the completed video. Game footage pricing may vary depending on the number of games to be videotaped and the distance of travel to the game location.
Don’t expect to get a highlight reel out of one game’s footage. That’s too much pressure on the athlete and the videographer. We shoot what happens, we don’t make it happen. Our best advice for producing the best highlight reel is to pay for a professional sports media outlet to shoot as many games as possible so that the athlete is given multiple chances to showcase her talent in front of the camera. One game’s footage isn’t enough even for the best athlete. A professional should ensure that the quality of the footage is high.
The benefits of inbound marketing via blogs, social media, content publishing, and search engine optimization grows stronger with each passing year, and statistics now show it surpassing outbound marketing both in effectiveness and cost per lead. A recent survey of 644 companies entitled, The State of Inbound Marketing, shows a shift in marketing budgets away from the conventional outbound tactics of direct mailings, phone solicitations, and print marketing.
Instead, companies are opting for marketing sources that bring in customers who are actively looking for information about their products online. The Internet has become the vehicle of choice and convenience driven by consumers searching for products and services through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And, all of these approaches utilize multimedia to increase organic search results and pull-in active consumers.
This survey distributed by HubSpot showed that the more companies directed their efforts towards inbound marketing, the greater the reward in the form of more leads at a lower cost per lead. Specifically the data showed that outbound marketing efforts cost $373 per lead, while inbound marketing efforts cost $143 per lead. In a struggling economy this is a price differential which has not gone unnoticed by businesses. In the survey, most companies said they plan to expand their use of inbound marketing in 2011 because of past successes in this arena. In fact, 27% of these companies consider blogging, social media usage critical to their businesses, and 85% dubbed these mediums either “useful”, “important”, or “critical”.
Pawpro Media produces high quality, creative videos that motivate and cause consumers to respond. Video is a critical and cost-effective element in an inbound marketing strategy.
What’s that sound? It’s not coming from a dust speck, people! It’s coming from the great efforts of Horton’s Kids, a Capitol Hill based organization which provides tutoring and support to students and families of the lowest-performing schools of Ward 8 in Washington, DC. Pawpro Media will be producing a series of videos for this great organization led by Brenda Chamberlain, and founded by Karin Walser. It’s only fitting that we make this announcement on Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
While filling her car with gas in 1989, Karin had a chance encounter with a group of children from this troubled area of our nation’s capital, and it inspired her to recognize their need as well as their presence in the shadow of her everyday life working on Capitol Hill. It was as if they were calling out, We are here! We are here! We are here! just as the tiny Who’s in Who-ville did in the infamous Dr. Suess book, Horton Hears a Who.
For 20 years Horton’s Kids has advocated, transported, and enriched the lives of these neediest of children with educational tutoring, mentoring as well as the basic necessities of food and clothing when necessary. Horton’s Kids’ work is funded entirely by donations. Please visit hortonskids.org/donate.html if you would like to make a donation.
Pawpro loves the photography tutorials by Dom Bower because they’re easy to understand, cover useful topics, and, at moments, a little tongue-in-chic. That’s right, chic, not cheek. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he does offer hundreds of instructional videos for the casual user, as well as the serious photography hobbyist/pseudo professional. He has a couple of YouTube channels and Websites, so you’re sure to find help on most any photography topic you desire.
If you plan on taking photos for your own Website, you can’t beat these tips. Real estate brokers who take their own photos could really benefit from watching of few of these videos.
Pawpro Media mingled in the 200,000+ crowd gathered for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, DC on Saturday, October 30, 2010. See the signs and hear the crowd express their mostly moderate views.
Unless you’re living under a rock you probably already know that this rally was presented by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in an effort to show and appeal to the non-extremist political crowd.
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