I've just returned from the 4th edition of The Tour de Timor. The country has had a checkered past. It was invaded and occupied by Indonesia in 1975, and after a long struggle, became independent in 2002. It's troubles were not over. In 2008, an assassination attempt on the life of it's president and prime minister was made, leaving both wounded. This year, most of the UN peacekeeping force will be leaving, and the task of safeguarding the country will lie in the hands of the new president and the fledgling Timor Leste Armed Forces.
The 2012 Tour de Timor was the first time the race crossed into Indonesia, the land of its invaders, and was aptly nicknamed 'The Ride for Peace'. Our team from Singapore was sponsored by Air Timor. We finished 10th in our category and our teammate, Alvin, won the Mens Masters Division. Here's a quick look at the race from a rider's (my) perspective:
I shot the video with 2 Gopro Heros: An HD, and an HD2. Here's what I learned:
- I don't like riding on road
- The Gopro HD2 is much better than the older HD
- I really needed my OMD (or GH2) for more lens options
- I rode one hard day without the Gopro and missed it
- It would have been nice to have been able to review some shots
I keep learning more and more about making video, and although I had a clear idea of the video I wanted to make, the task of racing and making a cohesive vid were at occasionally at odds. There was one long hard day where I elected not to carry the Gopro and focus on the task of racing, and of course, I regretted it. I should have just carried the Gopro using the handlebar mount, which although is probably the worst possible place to mount the Gopro on a bike, is also the least obstructive position.
Incidentally, I think the best place to mount the Gopro is actually on top of the helmet. From a single mount on top of the helmet, you actually have 2 positions: facing forward, and facing backwards. In addition, you can quickly set your helmet on the ground and have a stable platform to shoot from. I also find that the position on top of the helmet is more isolated from shock than the handlebar mount. It also picks up less dust and water from splashes.
Some essential shots went missing. I'll be packing at least the LCD screen so I can review shots and re-shoot any essential sequences.
The Gopro, compact and rugged, is great for race footage, but is really is not enough to round out and tell a full story. I really needed more options like a longer lens and a faster lens, for low light, and for stills. I felt my Olympus OMD was too precious to be stuffed into my duffle, thrown around, sat on or have other luggage piled on top of, and left in the sun and rain. I'll find a way to bring it next time.