200 miles completed.
Snow. Sleet. And a little bit of rain to start the first day of the 2500 mile journey. That didn't stop the excitement for the riders though. There was definitely a positive energy in the air.
Despite starting the trip with a major sleep deficit, no morning coffee, and napping only 3 hours before taking off for Wellspring at 6am, the Production Crew also was in good spirits today.
We boarded the RV and the day got jumping as we turned on the radio and "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" by the Hollies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP94PlEtsEQ) begins. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We looked around, collectively smiled, and belted out the lyrics. At that moment, I think it then sunk in for everyone; we were making a movie.
Johnny has proven to be the 2nd most skilled RV driver just behind our Sandy of course (Yes, we've claimed her). He led us out of the dark fully confident. He even narrowly navigated the 32 footer and 12 foot trailer through construction that literally had a few inches of space between.
Upon arriving at Wellspring, where the riders and their family members were gathered to eat a send-off breakfast, we were greeted by our new friends. Lavina, Bill, and Kathryn all stopped by our RV as Ramsey conducted his Director's briefing of the day's shot list. Kathryn even brought us homemade chocolate covered pretzels…those didn't last long as you can imagine.
And then the rest of the day was a blur. The End.
No, wait. I'll try and remember...
The day's tone started off wonderfully when Ramsey received a call from IDEXX Laboratories in Westbrook, Maine. IDEXX called to say they would like to be a sponsor of the film. This got the day off to a great start. I was excited when I read Ramsey's shot list and that I was going to be with a camera in hand first thing in the morning. Each one of us had an assignment. Mine was to locate certain team members for Johnny to mic and hookup go-pro cameras to their bikes.I made my way through the buffet line, into the conference room where I met several of the Peloton Riders for the very first time. What an experience. It was amazing how welcoming the people of Wellspring are. 2500 miles away from home and I felt like I was walking through the doors of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing.
After the riders were all fueled up on pancakes and Canadian sausages, they gathered in the "Garden" for a very special and emotional dedication led by Lavina. This also served as a team rally where the riders ceremonially placed their arms into a large circle as Lavina recited something I was unable to make out since I was upstairs collecting an aerial shot of the event. I noticed Ian was below capturing audio.
And then things got a little emotional as the riders hugged and kissed their family members and friends goodbye. Some will be united at the finish line in Maine, while others will wait to see them when they return to Calgary. It just so happened at this very moment, my eyes began to water up …ya know, because of the wind and snow of course.
The riders rode through their cheering gauntlet as their dedicated crowd wished them well. Heather's son stole the show as a rode by his mother's side on his own little bike through the crowd.
Ramsey and Jay immediately fled on the Spyder following and filming all 40 cyclists, while the remainder of the production crew captured footage of the RV's loading up the bikes. Johnny visited the Wellspring library where he uploaded footage from the morning's event. Just wait until you see some of the footage already captured!
The rest of the day was an adrenaline rush. Honestly. As tired and sleep deprived as we were, we found energy in chasing these teams. Ramsey, Jay, Johnny, and Ian rotated shifts on the Spyder shooting footage of the riders throughout the day, while Sandy and I were lookout for the riders. I spent the majority of the day relaying where each team was and communicating with the other Motorhome drivers. Without a working CB, we were at a serious disadvantage. The maps Bill provided us were a big help, though.
We filmed this leapfrogging of teams until 10pm. Ramsey joined Heather’s team for some intimate interviews at dinner in the town of Medicine Hat while our Production Crew shot the last transition of the evening at a gas station in Red Cliff. While we waited for the transition of riders, we enjoyed a home-cooked meal in the RV by yours truly. Marinated chicken breast with rice and sautéed peppers. Not too bad, eh?
From there we traveled two hours to our resting spot for the night at Day’s Inn. On the way we saw the world’s largest teepee. Yup. I stayed awake with Sandy while she selflessly drove us to a resting spot in Swift Current.
It’s been 20 straight hours now. It’s time for a nap. And yet even while I write this, as tired and exhausted as I am, I think about the Riders who are truly going the distance, riding in these harsh conditions. While I am inside driving, filming, or updating our social media accounts, they are the ones with all the reasons in the world to complain. But they do not.
I think about the Warriors and the challenges they face on a daily basis. And they too are not giving up.
This is what the Peloton Project is all about. Day 1, over.