|© Kaori Photo 2014|
LEFT TO RIGHT
BRIAN J. LEITTEN // NEW YORK
JOSH SENIOR // NEW YORK
KAORI FUNAHASHI // CALIFORNIA
VIVIENNE SMITH // AUSTRALIA
ERIK NACHTRIEB // SEATTLE *not pictured
KEVIN BURKE // OHIO *not pictured
What is the Gold Rush AR? It is a 30hr Adventure Race staged in Pinecrest, California. Teams of 2 to 4 cover many miles by foot, mountain bike and paddle. They have a deadline of 30hrs to hit as many checkpoints as they can and complete the race. Originally, the race was a multi-day expedition race, but it was shortened due to course restrictions caused by the wild fires.
In mid-May, Brian Leitten asked me if I was interested in joining the Gold Rush Documentary Team this September, I said yes, 4 months later, I met the team at Sacramento Airport. I joined a a team of 16 students from University of Cincinnati lead by Professor Burke from Ohio, Brian and Josh from New York, Viv from Australia, and Erik from Seattle joined us later in Pinecrest. The professionals had a combined skill-set of producing, directing, editing, filming, and photography.
We spent some time in Sacramento shopping for food, last minute necessities, and...Starbucks! Departed from Sacramento to spend 4 days in beautiful Yosemite! Workshops were held by the professionals to prepare students for race day. Hiking... we did go on a few hikes, but the one hike I was most excited about was Half Dome. Unfortunately, due to the fires behind Half Dome, people were evacuated from HD and the park closed HD for the rest of the week. We had permits to hike it the very next day... oh well, next time!
After 4 days in Yosemite, we depart for Pinecrest, where the Gold Rush AR is held. We spent time hiking around the lake, driving to checkpoint locations to scout the course. Our strategy for filming was set in stone as Saturday morning(4:30a) came around(got ~2hrs of sleep that night). We strategically split up the students with the pros in different parts of the course. Erik Nachtrieb and I were hired to follow and stick with the teams, to capture footage otherwise difficult for others. Definitely blessed with my background in triathlons so I can keep up with the teams racing. Stuck with Tecnu-Nuun for 8mi between CP3 until TA2. Rejoined them at TA3 until CP18(7:30pm-4:45am), and then again at CP20 to the finish. Approx. 20min of shut eye and 42hrs of being awake (barely), add in a few hallucinations in there too. Team Tecnu-Nuun claimed first place despite a rolled ankle, an intestinal problem causing them to miss the last 4 checkpoints. They're killer fast! Anyway, don't want to reveal too much of the story... hope you can wait until May of 2015 to watch it on Universal Sports Network! :)