Friday, July 31, 2009

The Roar of Silence

I'm home and it's quiet. Not sure how anyone properly acclimates back to a 'normal' life after the Tour but I image all who were involved are feeling similar right about now. Sure I've got plenty of work to do, tons of unpacking and sorting out gobs of gear but there's no team director yelling at me to get in the car so they can speed off, there's no honking of the sponsor parade cars or whirring of carbon wheels unwinding down mountain-side switchbacks, no incoming gummy bears or Carrefour hats - and it's hard to motivate without these familiar sounds. I've been tired beyond belief and often find myself just staring off... The Tour is a lot to take in - I don't think one can fully realize it until a week or two after it ends where we traveled to and what we saw. At least that's how I feel right now. I miss hearing the different languages and accents. The sounds of each different location, the sights of the Alps and the smells of the valleys. In their place is a few birds chirping outside. That and the silence of my studio punctuated by the thunderstorm that is currently cleansing DC...

In the coming days we will begin uploading photos and video. Sure it's after the fact but if you are jonesing for more things "Tour" like I am, it will be a decent fix.

jb

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A different perspective, Eiffel

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Not a bad view from the cafe

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Last night

Team dinner was amazing. Finally got to hang with the riders for more than a few minutes and the biggest weight of stress was lifted. No need to walk on egg shells as the champagne flowed. To be part of it was very special. To have so many new friends is priceless. All were happy, talkative, stoked. Staff too. Biggest compliment came from Cav as he told Jason, "so many journalists treat us like animals but you guys never did. Thank you for that. We hate when we don't get attention and we hate when we do get attention so I know that made your job hard."
Perfect way to end it all.

Now the real work begins...but first a much needed break for the film crew. Ken is off to Cassis for a family vaca, Curtis heads home to see how bad his race legs are, Jeremy is starting another epic trip all over Europe and Jason will stay on in Paris to see the city without a lens in the way.

In the coming days we will finally have time to post fotos and share more stories. So keep checking back and as always thanks for reading.

Gripped Films
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chance of a lifetime

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Great crowds today!

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Poured by Astana's Dierk

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Clearly blurred

Just refueled and now we r back at it. Jz likes to test the speed rating on our tires. Curtis is chatting with family, he sounds like a kid at christmas. He's barely talked or emailed anyone since we landed - I understand how he feels. I too have felt a bit detached. Maybe even a bit forgotten. Wasn't till I got to france that I realized only a couple friends even took time to send an email to say good bye. Life in DC is like that tho, lot of people get so caught up in work, events, family and friends ...I know I am guilty.

So its an odd thing to cut myself off from all that to be in a land where I speak very little and understand even less. To be so hyper-focused that I have no time to get caught up in my normal life or the smallest things I love: movies, cooking for friends, yard work, kayaking and of course riding/racing. Hell even watching what footage we have shot I view as entertainment and we can't take time to do it. For a month its been 2-4 cities a day and stopping only to sleep. It is also odd to email very little, to only be online a few times in a month. It makes each and every email from the states really, really welcome.

But it also makes me wary of returning to my selfish little world for fear of getting caught up in it. Or is that exactly what I'm doing right now?

And this is where you realize I am rambling. Hopefully that's ok and I haven't wasted your time. I think I am wearing thin. The semi-conscious thoughts of a worn out director on a quest about to end. We are close yet still we have kilometers before we sleep.

Thanks for listening.
Jason
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No window. Ooops.

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Welcome to the moon

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Precarious

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Max-Cam!

I had to offer Maxime a case of leChuffe beer but he agreed it was worth the added weight. Silly Belgians.
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True Art

Just inter viewed Prudhome
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Friday, July 24, 2009

The champagne cam!

Love when the team wins!
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Finish line!

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IMG00083-20090724-1649.jpg

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Wow

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Role reversal at the 5k flag!

Our rv is en course getting yelled at by the French State Troopers! They say "drive faster!" And we say "is not possible!!!"
Jb
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Annecy

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Ahhhh, Annecy.

Feels great to be back. And to be back with my oldest friend and his amazing French wife is icing.
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Big George warming up.

He is gonna have a hard, hard day. I follow kim now.
Jb
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mont Blanc

Love this land. Got my interview with this backdrop.
Jb
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Top of Europe

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Start Switzerland, now Italy end in France

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Sougniers life

We just left the start line - a bit early which sux for me. I don't get to film the team meeting. The cam I have in car with us will be useless as the radio is on. More Mike Jackson. Uuugh. And Frits is only speaking German with Ahim in an attempt to keep me from usuing them in the movie. They only speak English when they bust my balls.

The climb is very, very long and steep. Gorgeous villages with fans lining the course. All standing. Every so often will be a little old lady on a bike with bread in the front basket. Almost no overweight people. I will surely have a tough time to acclimate back to America.
The sougniers remind me of this as the joke about Americans in McDonalds ordering triple cheeseburgers and supersize diet cokes.

6 more days. Then I can begin the decompression process. Its almost like scuba diving but I've been under for three weeks. My nerves are shot and I feel a tinge of car sickness. An hour behind us the race has started but you would think the riders were just off our back bumper. Ahim loves to rally. "FULL GAS!" he yells as we rail another corner up. We are in what I call the sponsor slalom. Blasting up the road thru the "publicity parade" - a daily convoy of sponsor floats. Cars adorned with an array of dancing bears, yetis, and lots of girls who toss the crowds everything from newspapers and T-shirts to foam hands and sausages. Many vehicles have no windshields and I imagine the drivers hate rainy days like hell. You know how crazy the crowds are when riders go thru? Imagine the same crowds in a mad scrum to get free candy. Then add in wanna-be Indy drivers who instead were hired by a pro cycing team driving thru the middle of it all. I think they try to get to the feed zone fast as possible so they can have an hour of downtime because there is none otherwise. They wake early to pack cars and prepare team lunches. Then the race routine and feedzone. After the race they give massages before dinner. After dinner they prepare for the next day.

All in a day of the sougnier.
Jb
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Pre-dawn shooting

Up early to get the sunrise. For sure wasn't worth it from where we are parked - too many street lights. Lot of effort down the drain. Perhaps in Annecy...
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Needs more cow bell!

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Twilight in the alps

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On the radio

Gypsy kings. Noice! Sure beats the inescapable michael jackson I hear each day. Curtis and JZ are headed up the mountain with the rv. I hope they make it to the top. Kenny will also try to get there. A three-pronged assault from Gripped. Divide and conquer... Hopefully.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Its been a long day.

Three weeks of non stop filming with One night of liquid debauchery is acceptable.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back on course

Tons of spectators today. Keeps the energy level very high for everyone.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Skoda Yeti and friends

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Another gorgeous start town

Ready for another day. Thank GOD for coffee.
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Roosters

Once I finally got back to the finish town 'round 10pm we packed up and drove into the night. We had detoured into a medieval town before the race started to suss out a castle in hopes of filming fireworks over it but for some reason the French celebrated Bastiele (sp?) Day a day early or so I was told. As we drove into the twighlight a few bursts of fireworks lit the night horizon and made me think of that castle. But there is no going backwards, only a constant push forwards towards Paris.
Our rv rolled into the next start town as I worked on transferring shots to the computer. Ken has left to join his family in Annecy so we have an abundance of space in the rv which is nice even tho ken is missed. But the rv does smell better w\o his sneaks.
My fingers are numb from typing on my bB and its time to make coffee and qake up the boys. We are parked along the course by a gorgeous little farm but with f*rms come roosters so it was an early alarm today that has no snooze button.
Its sunny and a bit cool. The streets are already super busy as the town is as awake as the damn roosters. Cool church bells too ... Will have to film them next hour. Goal today is to film Phil and Paul as they call the race finish. Now for coffee!
Thanks for reading,
Jb
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From the team Dr.

Another good day for us again!
Stage win from Mark after a great team afford and still the white jersey.

The riders are healthy and that's great but the stuff is really suffering mentally and physically especially our great chasing legends buddy after loosing 1 to 7 against Quickstep at yesterdays soccer match!
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This is cool

Good day
Jb
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Ouch

Got on the team bus after the win. Outstanding! Told Curtis to drive to hotel 60k away, meet me there.

Its an hour later. He just called and said he would not be leaving for a long time, I asked "why?"

He reminded me that I have the RV keys...
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Sending a blog

While reading the blog. As we sit with JZ,s Euro fone blutoothed to his laptop. Jan has sat down with us in the shade for a slice of pizza. Great break for both mechanic and film makers.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

My dessert

Is humble pie. I am still an outsider as evidenced by 26 men eating dinner and the 27th is the only guy in the room with empty seats on both his sides.
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Time

Is a commodity. Like money or expensive wine. I am short on them all. So as I sit here with a spare few minutes before filming another team dinner, at one of the swankiest hotels I have ever stepped foot in, sipping a very fine bordeaux I feel like a total imposter. But I will share my time with you if you care to read on. Today I rode with the sougniers again ensuring the films lighter side. The cam in the #1 team car should balance the serious side as the directors Brian and Rolf steered the team with Big George off the front and a hurting Mic at the back.
I filmed the teams owner, Bob in the rider bus during the races' finish. Then I jumped into the #2 car and filmed head director Alan on the 60k drive to this hotel. Then I shot the mechanics cleaning. Then filmed a strategy meeting. Then filmed the elevator ride to the 3rd floor because it was that cool.
Now I sit in the bar with my wine, my blackberry and my B.O. Yes no time for a shower and no clothes to change into anyway. The boys only recently left the finish town in the rv.
Maxime just came by looking for dinner. He is always very nice and I am stoked he rides so well.
So to bring this to a close I have to say that while I miss home and its comforts, while I miss eating healthy and more than twice a day, miss riding my bike and all those close to me... I am doing what I love and enjoying being an imposter at the Tour de France.
-jb
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Its a good thing

I don't get motion sickness. I am in the sougniers car headed down the first mtn. Aldis is yelling at Ahim to stop using the breaks.
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Repeat

Same drill dif town. Mornings move fast as hell. Paying attention to conversations, try to get cam out in time to film important ones, what makes an important one?...getting closer to the riders while filming, getting our own logistics sorted, traffic, meals, forgot to pack my lunch again...we need more sleep but as every cop tells me, "is not possible"
Jb
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Into Spain

We have some downtime as we drive to Girona tonight. Its a welcome break from the hyper intensity during each day. I copy footage onto 2 dif drives and clear flash cards. Curtis preps cameras and batteries. Ken spends time via BB on email and sussing the next days route while JZ drives. We are finally in a groove.
Today was uneventful for the race but we all shot good parts. I am already seeing certain scenes coming together...
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pretty sweet

I just shot Stillers newest look...Blue Carbon
Jb
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Breakthrough

Its been hard but tonights breakthrough came at dinner with the team. Communication has never been more important and we are finally all getting it dialed. Spirits were high with another win. Minor victories mean the world and having the sougniers and mechanics bust my chops was great. Well, as great as getting mocked can be.
Jb
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Test blog

Remote. Vlog from the feed zone. Racers r close! Hot as hell here.
-jb
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Glass Is Half Full

From the Chasing Legends blog:
Trying a new way to update the blog from e-mail. Hope this works. So far we've been road-blocked by a lack of electricity to our RV, a lack of a generator, lack of air conditioning on 100°+ days which contributes to a lack of sleep, lack of proper finish-area passes (there's about 20 different levels of press passes here, we're at the bottom), lack of coffee (which only effects me as I'm the only one out of 4 of us in the RV who drinks java), yea there's 4 of us in the RV which means a lack of space, lack of any decent internet connections, lack of bourbon (again this is a Jason-thing so clearly there is no lack of whining from me), lack of sleep (I know I already mentioned that but it's worth repeating) and a general lack of fun.

But in such times, it's best to focus on what one does have. While there is no lack of stress, sore backs, unruly mosquitos that have left me looking like I have chicken pox... what we DO have is a kick-ass team of guys who get along pretty good considering the tough conditions, we have have a kick-ass driver-interpreter who speaks 6 languages including Japanese (in case we get really lost). We have an abundance of unruly cords, chargers, batteries and camera gear but we have wrestled them into very organized bins. We have the Columbia High Road HTC team to follow who just won the 2nd stage of the race and they have a very cool new sponsor, "HTC" which is a telecom company. We have some really impressive footage so far considering I've been kicked out of the finish area twice in 2 days, we have a lot of new friends who are fun to film and we have one hell of an adventure in front of us.

Since time is one thing we are exceptionally short on, I must run. Now that we have better cell and internet connections we will be putting up more and more info as the race and movie progress. Thanks for reading...as the glass fills up.

-Jason

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Get It While Its Hot!

The Chasing Legends Trailer is here!!! Running out of internet and batteries. Follow this link to our new Gripped Films website.

Chasing Legends Trailer

Tomorrow Curtis is getting rigged up with three on-bike cams for course recon with Columbia-HTC

yes, HTC. A new cool cell phone sponsor has jumped aboard for the next 2 and a half years. Look out iPhone...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We Made It &  Its Full the Gas the Whole Way

First things First:  The teaser trailer is done!!! Will be uploaded tomorrow!  Pictures will also be uploaded. 

Keep an eye out for the CurtisCam. I will be uploading videos every couple of days behind the scenes with riders and team crew. A sneak peak into the pro lifestyle.

We are in Monaco preparing for the prologue. Yesterday was hectic- landing in Paris, then flying to Nice, then picking up our mobile hotel- the RV, and finally driving to Monaco - all with zero shut eye for 36 hours. 

Tomorrow we are going to have another busy day and the tour has not even started!  In the AM we will be with the riders while they train and do some recon for the opening prologue. They have pretty sweet rides- two mammoth busses, incredible Scott bikes.  Too bad they have to stay the 5 star hotel overlooking the Mediterranean... They can't roll in style like us in an RV.

Nice, France at a Glance:  Everyone is attractive. Everyone- Newborns and old men are included. Calvin Klein and TommyH don't actually pay models. The simply give a camera to photography student and he takes snapshots in downtown Nice. 

Monoco at a Glance: See above** PLUS everyone is loaded enough to own a yacht, a Benz, a place for the Benz on the yacht, and  a mansion 3,000 feet up built into a cliff overlooking the yacht. 

Driving here is insane.  I don't generally think of roads in three dimensions but there are intricate networks of tunnels, bridges and warp holes  cluttering the extremely narrow roads every 500 meters.  And with our 25 footer, Ken is loving it. 

I got to experience the roads, for the first time since landing, in much calmer, back-to-the-basics type way; just two wheels. Rode as high up as the roads would take me and then said to myself "hmm...how do I get back"  But after bumping into a directionally savvy Rabbi(he gets the 3-D road network)  in the pitch black, I was back at base camp in no time.  

Jason is keeping his game face on, introducing us to the entire staff, and keeping us informed on anything TDF.  We have 12 cameras and he has plan for each one for each day.  He's got a lot of editing ahead of him, but its going to be great and even better than Gripped Films awardwinning Off Road and 24 Solo.

Ken has been Captain Tech making sure that we are self sustained with power and communication. We are able to run all of our PC's (and Macs for us Apple goons) keep our food cold, run multiple appliances, and charge batteries all without the help of an external outlet. 

Speaking of batteries, our batteries or charged, in both the metaphorical and literal sense, and we are ready to get the wheels turning bright and early!  Thanks for reading