My 2018 Vermont 50 MTB ride and a sort of GoPro Hero 6 Review...
The Vermont 50 Mountain Bike & Trail Run has been taking place since 1993. My first #VT50 was in 2014 and I have been making my way up the last weekend of each September since. I would be there either to enjoy the ride or capture the action of friends and athletes that I coach.
Vermont is one of my favorite states to adventure in. The people are great, the roads are quiet and there are endless trails as well as dirt roads to explore. It is also home to some great beer as well.
After finishing a handful of coaching sessions Saturday morning, I made my way up to Mount Ascutney in West Windsor, VT where I met Mike Zusman from Carve Systems. We checked in and then headed to our campground for final prep around a good old camp fire. Weather was looking great, with a 40 degree start, no rain and temps slowly climbing into the low 60’s.
I was going back and forth the last couple of months as to which bike I would ride, my 2017 Spot Rallye Gravel Bike or 2014 Marin Nail Trail 27.5. After many rides on the Spot and adventuring on some fun single track in Ringwood State Park and Sterling Forest, as well as bunch of woods roads, I made the smart decision to go with the Marin MTB. I would enjoy the ride much more and would be able to control my efforts with greater efficiency while attempting to capture as much of the race as possible with my GoPro Hero 6 and iPhone X.
My goal for the race was to ride everything, which I pretty much did except for a few sections that I walked while eating a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches after an aid station stop, taking in the sights and sounds of the beautiful farms and surrounding land. I also walked a mile back up a road that I had missed a right hand turn I had bombed down doing 40+ mph. Since I wasn’t in a rush, I decided to stretch the legs a bit with a nice walk and say high to a few locals and their cows as I made my way back on course.
My GoPro Hero 6 experience has been rocky. The first Hero 6 I had owned, I had to send back to GoPro in which they replaced it very quickly. Their customer service was strong. I have been using this model for the past few months to record some of my rides in which it worked properly on only about 50% of my rides. It seemed that every other ride it will begin to act up by freezing, not recording when it was saying it was and or the voice commands were being completely ignored. Being able to tell the camera to record and stop recording was an awesome feature GoPro added. It increased the safety of the ride by not having to remove your hands from the bar on some gnarly section that you wanted to capture. However, half the time I was just talking to myself. I would have to take the battery out to reset things but that didn’t always help. You can watch a few of my past rides by visiting our YouTube channel (be sure to subscribe…thanks!).
I went into the VT50 with high hopes that the camera would work as but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The race begins at 6am and with hundreds of riders using head lamps and bike lights to navigate the first handful of miles, making for some awesome footage. I was excited as I was riding along, thinking I was capturing all this on camera. I couldn’t wait to share this footage, it was awesome to see and be a part of. Well...the GoPro didn’t capture any of it even though it was making all the sounds, beeps and indications that it was. It wasn’t until I had to change the battery at around the 10 mile mark where it reset itself and started to actually record something.
I was able to capture several awesome sections of the course and a few of the beautiful farms that the locals opened up to us just for race day that you can watch below or on YouTube. The camera worked well for these sections. The microphone is not that great so you will hear weird bumping and knocking sounds as the camera rubbed up against my pack. This has always been an issue with most GoPros. Their newest release, the GoPro Hero 7 that just came out on October 2nd, sounds like it rectified a lot of the issues that customers were complaining about with the 2 prior releases so I am excited to try it. Anyone want to buy a Hero 6?
I also took a bunch of photos along the way, at least I thought I had. I stopped completely several times to get some nice sections of riders riding along but of course none of those were recorded to the brand new memory card that I had replaced a few rides back in hopes of fixing some of the issues. They seem all software related so with a few updates, things should improve…should. Good thing I doubled up by taking a few photos with my iPhone. None of this effected my enjoyment of the ride. My Marin held up well, completing its 3rd VT50. The course and community is awesome! I will definitely be back next year and many more years to come. Hopefully capturing what I set out to for.