Monday, December 14, 2009 'Cross Nats Coverage

Well, the coverage of the 'Cross Nats over at this weekend ranged from the ridiculous (nearly all of one race was covered with the microphone battery dead -- no sound whatsoever) to the sublime (The Elite Men's was an exciting race and the boys had gotten most of the bugs out of the system by then). I encourage Colt and friends to keep up the good work.

Now, clearly there is room for improvement. I had to surf like crazy around cyclingdirt to find the actual page on which the live video was showing. Operating on a shoestring budget, the guys ran from vantage point to vantage point during the races. They were constantly out of breath, and the video ended up blurred and frozen. It looked like Blair Witch Project meets A Sunday in Hell. However, the core of the coverage was strong. Up-close views of the gaps and the run-ups were particularly enjoyable. And Colt's commentary was suprisingly taut and informative. For a young, inexperienced guy running around with a buddy holding a vid-cam, he was pretty eloquent and knowledgeable, and he kept me in the know. During the closing interviews after the Elite race, he asked a couple of unexpected, penetrating questions ("When the performance stats of the top five guys are so similar, what makes the difference on a day like today?"), and forced racers to think and be interesting on camera. Not a common phenomenon.

Finally, there was a charm to some of the rough edges, too. Walking up to riders' tents minutes before or after a race, and finding them in various states of preparedness for and disposition toward a live public appearance. Colt's moxie in butting to the front of any line, elbowing past journalists undoubtedly from media outlets more respected than his own. And just the general, jovial "Can you believe where I'm standing/who I'm talking to/what I'm doing??!" atmosphere was very refreshing. At the end of the day, I felt like I'd been hanging out at Bend -- not like I'd been watching slick coverage of a race that could have happened anywhere.

So, however fast your Web site and accompanying coverage grows, Colt, I hope you keep that good stuff. Keep it raw.

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