08.2.2012 | 12:18 pm

In just over a week, The Hammer and I will start seven consecutive days of racing: On Saturday we’ll race the Leadville 100, and then on Sunday – Friday, we’ll be racing the Breck Epic.

There are going to be lots of stories to tell. And, with any luck, there will be lots of video to share.

Because I am all equipped to do some serious videographing (“videographing” is a technical term that means “using a videograph”).

And right now I’m starting to learn how to use all this gear and set it up properly and stuff. I’m going to go into all that in just a minute, but in the interest of not burying the headline too deeply, I’ve created a video using footage from the ride The Hammer, The IT Guy, and I went on last Saturday, and I’m going to show it to you in just a second.

As you watch, note the main thing that’s different from other videos I’ve made: I now am set up to film both what’s in front of me, and what’s behind me.

Also, as you watch, allow me to recommend you expand the video to fill your whole screen by clicking that Expandifying gadget in the video (it’s between the “HD” and “Vimeo”). It looks better big, and the text isn’t quite so microscopic. Or just go to the Vimeo page for this video, which shows the video nice and big.

OK, here’s the video, finally.

So, before I say anything else, I probably ought to apologize or something for using My Chemical Romance in two consecutive videos I’ve created. I can’t help myself; I love that wacky band. Plus, this is an awesome climbing song. And not half bad for dancing (I am an excellent dancer, by the way).

And now I want to show you what I’m using to do my videos.


First of all, I’m using the GoPro HD Hero2 I talked about first when I was racing the Crusher in the Tushar. Instead of mounting it below the handlebars this time, though, I’ve got it facing backward, showing what’s happening behind me. The camera’s mounted right under the saddle, like this:


The good folks at K-Edge were kind enough to provide me with this saddle-rail mount, which went on really easily (loosen, then tighten, two bolts) and then held the camera in a rock-steady position for the entire ride.

As before, I set up the GoPro so that it’s filming upside-down (since the camera is hanging upside-down with this kind of mount), and have it set for one-button filming, so that when I press the plunger on the front of the camera, it both turns the camera on and begins filming. Pressing and holding it down again stops filming and turns the camera off.

I really liked the camera set up this way. I had no problem reaching around back and starting / stopping the camera, though the beeps — which let you know the camera’s starting up or shutting down — are quiet enough that I often couldn’t hear them when I was rolling.

That may just be a “deaf old man” problem, though.

The other thing I liked about this setup is how good the video came out. Really smooth and interesting to watch. And now that I’m confident I won’t fill up the memory card before the battery runs out I’ve swapped the camera to its highest resolution, resulting in better-looking video in general.

I’m becoming a big fan of the GoPro camera, not to mention the K-Edge mounts.

Replay 1080XD

After carrying the original VIO POV camera mounted to my head (a lipstick lens attached to a heavy semi-flexible cable that goes to a big ol’ brick of a recording unit that goes in your jersey pocket or Camelbak), I knew that the next helmetcam to go on my . . . um . . . helmet would have to be very light, or I just wouldn’t use it. A heavy helmet makes for an unhappy head.

And that’s where the Replay XD1080 comes in. Check it out:


yup, that’s the whole thing. The lens, battery, memory card, buttons, everything, fit into this little tube. Mounted on a helmet, it’s about the least obtrusive camera you could have.

And you still get high-def video out of it.

It’s a relatively-easy two-step process to start filming: Press the power button (the red one at the front) to turn it on, then press the record button (the red one at the back) to start recording. The ReplayXD uses a buzzer to give you feedback, which is awesome, because you can feel it right through your helmet regardless of the noise level around you — much more noticeable than beeps.

The Replay XD1080 does have a couple of shortcomings I’ve noticed. First, the battery doesn’t last very long. Even though I was conscientious about powering down when not recording, the camera still didn’t make it through the ride (meanwhile the GoPro kept recording). And — judge for yourself here — the video quality (ReplayXD is pointing forward; GoPro is pointing backward) doesn’t seem as clear, even though both were set to record at the same resolution (1080 lines, 30 frames per second).

And I’ve still got some work to do to get the mounting position right; I’m often capturing a lot of sky when filming. That’ll come with a little bit of tweaking.

When Will I Film?

Am I going to use both cameras at Leadville and the Breck Epic? Well, probably not for Leadville. I’ve got a serious plan to race like a serious person and see if I can get myself across the finish line on a singlespeed in under nine hours. So I probably won’t be wanting the extra weight (yes, I’m that much of a weight weenie when I race!), and won’t be in the mindset of recording video anyway.

But for the Breck Epic, well, yeah. The Hammer and I just want to get ourselves across the finish line for that race, and it’s an unknown quantity anyway. We’re going there to have an adventure and bring back stories.

And, I guarantee, no small amount of video.


  1. Comment by Jared | 08.2.2012 | 12:58 pm

    What was the total length of the trip?

    That looks like one EPIC ride.

    40 miles. – FC

  2. Comment by Nate | 08.2.2012 | 12:59 pm

    Love the rear mounted cam angle. Very cool!

    Thanks! – FC

  3. Comment by Rose | 08.2.2012 | 1:06 pm

    Yup, definitely jealous.

    Then my work here is done. – FC

  4. Comment by Jenni | 08.2.2012 | 1:15 pm

    I read only about half of the captions. You switched most way too quickly. Beautiful! Im inspired for my GoPro!!

    Most of the captions are silly, anyway; you’re not missing anything important. They’re like the footnotes in my book. However, you could use the Pause button if you really really wanted to read them all. – FC

  5. Comment by Eric L | 08.2.2012 | 1:20 pm

    Fatty, don’t forget to try out the GoPro taking a still photo every second. It makes a great stop-motion film providing you’ve got a little editing software to stitch it up.

    I did this and managed to get about two thirds of the Davis 65 mile route filmed before my memory card filled up.

    Those K-Edge mounts look nice. I will have to get one of the handlebar mounts as the GoPro handlebar mount is kind of ungainly.

  6. Comment by keg | 08.2.2012 | 1:21 pm

    makes me want to ride, right now

    That’s pretty much the highest compliment I could ever hope for about one of my videos. Thank you! – FC

  7. Comment by Ed | 08.2.2012 | 1:23 pm

    Yes, that trail looks sweet!

    You’ve got to earn it, but it’s worth it. – FC

  8. Comment by berry | 08.2.2012 | 1:30 pm

    The difference in quality is mainly due to the Doppler effect. You’re familiar with this, I’m sure, due to hearing trains pass – what’s happening in this case is that you’re traveling so quickly that the light rays (photons) are actually speeding TOWARD the front camera, but AWAY from the rear camera. Because of this, the front camera has less time to memorize each photon and draw it on the memory card, likewise, the rear camera can be much more leisurely in its drawing.

    Or something.

  9. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 08.2.2012 | 1:30 pm

    How much climbing? Elevation profile? How do I get there from here?

    Here’s the Strava for it, , from which you can download the GPX if you want. Or give me a call and I’ll walk you through it; you have my number. Warning: this is a massive ride. – FC

  10. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 08.2.2012 | 1:57 pm

    Yes, definitely one to work up to for sure! Thanks!

  11. Comment by 7d brian | 08.2.2012 | 2:24 pm

    I’ve tried multiple times to do that right. It never works out.

    The most recent was memorial day weekend. I got to the top – started on the single track and a blizzard – yes a blizzard comes in.

    I had to turn around and limp down the dirt road stopping every 1/2 mile to suck on my hands and get feeling back in them.


  12. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 08.2.2012 | 2:46 pm

    Just waiting for the Fatty Fondo a three day event of Moutain, Road, and Pie! All proceeds to wherever Fatty wants it to go.

    I’ll put my local mountain up for the Hammer and the IT guy since they like rocks:

  13. Comment by Jim B | 08.2.2012 | 2:49 pm

    I concur — the rear facing camera takes a better picture than the helmet cam.

  14. Comment by Dan O | 08.2.2012 | 2:56 pm

    K-edge products are great. I just got one for my Garmin Edge. I didn’t trust the O-ring mounting system that the edge came with, nor did I like the location. The K-edge mount put the garmin right where it should go, out of the way, yet visible and very secure. I paid full retail for it.


  15. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 08.2.2012 | 4:37 pm

    Be sure to watch ALL the way to the end.

  16. Comment by George T. | 08.2.2012 | 4:55 pm

    I think you need to ‘back-up’ the rearview mount with a bit of fishing line – just in case something loosens up. If the camera hits the ground – you may never hear it.

  17. Comment by Susie H | 08.2.2012 | 5:08 pm

    haha, the IT guy is talkative??? have you WATCHED the video??? =)

  18. Comment by ClydesdalePilot | 08.2.2012 | 5:08 pm

    Aaaaand now I want a 2nd camera. Thanks, Fatty.

  19. Comment by Aussie Bryan | 08.2.2012 | 6:31 pm

    Another awesome post Fatty, I’m definitely envious of you local trails. Does make me want to just stand up and leave work right now and go for a ride. Would like to see more of these video’s, keep them coming.
    Also.. Best of Luck for Leadville… Go team fatty !!!

    Thanks Bryan! – FC

  20. Comment by Ed | 08.2.2012 | 6:53 pm

    How does one “earn” the privilege of riding this trail? Please tell me I need to send video of me riding some of my local trails. I could use that to justify the purchase of a GoPro!

    You need to send video of you riding some of your local trails. – FC

  21. Comment by Rebecca | 08.2.2012 | 7:22 pm

    That. looks. awesome. Loving the rear cam, and this video is giving me another reason to try mountain biking. This looks way too much fun not to do it.

  22. Comment by Michael | 08.2.2012 | 8:07 pm

    I love the word archetype. Too bad English professors think Joseph Campbell was full of crap.

    Hey, by the way, how many miles long is the initial dirt road 4,000-foot climb?

  23. Comment by Michael | 08.2.2012 | 8:08 pm

    Never mind. Just noticed you posted the Strava.

  24. Comment by Lori P. | 08.2.2012 | 9:40 pm

    Hope you both have great rides!!!!!

  25. Comment by Dave | 08.3.2012 | 12:20 am

    Love the rear mount seems smoother hmm.. I wish I could keep my front footage from bouncing so much.

  26. Comment by Rob L | 08.3.2012 | 6:32 am

    Planetary is good for climbing, but I also like Destroya for big climbs.

  27. Comment by DelwinF | 08.3.2012 | 8:44 am

    Now I want some mountains, too. Awesome stuff. Makes me homesick for the NW. Maybe mount a GoPro on the front handlebars as well? Keep the inspiration going…

  28. Comment by centurion | 08.3.2012 | 9:56 am

    I gotta move there.

  29. Comment by RedondoMike | 08.3.2012 | 11:38 am


    Looks in the video like you either run a very modest back tire tread or it is almost bald.

    Almost bald. Not as bad as it looks in the video tho. – FC

  30. Comment by Anonymous | 08.3.2012 | 11:51 am

    Love that loop. I’ve got to ride that. Is it hard to find where you leave the road and the single track starts?

    Nope, if you know where to find the Tibble Fork parking lot, my directions to The Hamer should get you the rest of the way. – FC

  31. Comment by The Hamer | 08.3.2012 | 12:05 pm

    I want to ride this loop. So by looking at the Strava gps, you follow the dirt road past Tibble Fork and then is it hard to find where you leave the dirt road and the single track starts? Is there anywhere to fill water bottles or are you carrying 10 gallons?

    Stay on the dirt road past Tibble — you’ll eventually get to a fork w/ a sign in it. I can’t remember what the sign says, but go right at the fork. That’s when the serious climbing begins. Stay on the dirt road to the summit; you’ll see the sign I show in the video at 0:26 at the summit; that’s where the singletrack begins. Just stay on that (there are a couple of places where you can take a turn onto different singletrack; just stay straight) til you see a sign for Ridge trail; that’s a left turn on a dirt road at the bottom of all that really rough trail I show in the video. Take that road til it terminates, leading to the Ridge trail. A few miles of that leads to the 4-way trail juncture at the top of Tibble. From there we took Joy, then to the Summit, then back along Ridge to the 4-way, and down Tibble. No places to get water along the way, bring a camelbak and 2 full bottles, and start early in the AM when it’s cool. – FC

  32. Comment by Anonymous | 08.3.2012 | 12:31 pm

    I still can’t believe you’re doing Leadville then starting the Epic the next day… I have to admit, the words “Are you crazy?” entered my mind…

    I’m sure you’ve been in touch with Zippy who is a Breck Epic veteran?

    I did parts of the Epic course in the Breck 68 a couple years ago – you’re in for a fun ride!

  33. Comment by TomE | 08.3.2012 | 1:39 pm

    Just one question that I think we all have for you Fatty. DO YOU EVER SLEEP?????

  34. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 08.3.2012 | 2:21 pm

    Yep. Jealousy at peak value.

    Nice Thomson seatpost, too. :-)

  35. Comment by John h. | 08.3.2012 | 9:38 pm

    Never apologize for MCR……

    NaNaNaNaNa… stuck in my head, kept me going during my first ever 115 mile ride. :)

  36. Comment by Rory | 08.5.2012 | 4:03 am

    On your Leadville quest… What are your estimated split times at each support area? I am attending the race and would like to cheer you on!

  37. Comment by KristenT | 08.8.2012 | 2:33 pm

    First: Love the videos, and the music isn’t half bad. At the very least, you’ve inspired me to go listen to something I wouldn’t ever listen to. So that’s a good thing.

    Second: If that singletrack was a rally road, it would be the best, most flowingest, 4th-gear and left foot brakingest, funnest rally road. Twisty, yet open, a perfect mix of technical and speed.

    Now I want a GoPro or something.

  38. Comment by Angela | 08.10.2012 | 6:27 am

    Sooo miss my mountain bike now! Was thinking I am just too old for it and gave to my niece (it was 20 years old). I had no idea how beautiful mb riding could be (as opposed to dangerous). How does one afford to have a great road bike AND a great mountain bike? Oh, and the time for it all…What a tease!

  39. Comment by Kiwi | 08.16.2012 | 1:51 am

    I love my k-edge saddle mount.
    Note to Fatty: make sure to tighten the screws on the rail mount every now and then. I had one of the screws fall out as I didn’t think to retighten the screws.
    I also have the k-edge pro handlebar mount, love it!!

    The gopro works so well, I mean think of the vid of the pies at LIVESTRONG:Davis! :-D


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