Thursday, July 22, 2010

Technology and Perfectionism

I think I may have mentioned in the past that I am an adept procrastinator.  If you add obsessive and perfectionist to that mix it can create trouble.  Then throw in a large handful of technological problems and you have me banging my head against the wall, murmuring quietly to myself.  OK.  Not so quietly.  More like screaming in frustration, banging the keyboard on the desk and trying to refrain from slamming my monitor against the wall.  That's about where I stand right now with the three rides that I have been wanting to write about, but they continue to sit unformed in the Draft bin.

It all comes down to the GoPro.  I like the unit.  Don't get me wrong.  But there is a reason that I am not a cinematographer!!  It could be that sometimes I lack patience for something that isn't my passion.  (And I am sure my mother is vehemently nodding her head in agreement at that.)  But I think it might have more to do with my cheap ways and not wanting to fork out big bucks for robust video editing software.

So this particular incident of procrastination comes because I decided to video two of the last three rides.  One ride I just turned the recorder on and forgot about it.  I wound up with 4 files, 4 GB each and covering about 3 hours of time.  Free video editing software that I do encounter just doesn't handle files of that size quickly.  Either the easy software doesn't handle the excessive file size, or it isn't easy software.  It all just boils down to my inability to work with the files, to show you my boring rides!!

And that is the crutch, isn't it?  How boring is 3 hours of my riding time?? I mean, it is boring to me.  Therefore it will be exceedingly boring to you.  So I am trying to extract still images from the video and create a very quick slide show.  But there again...the keyword is trying.  I have part of the work flow down.  The last part that puts them all back together isn't working too well for me.  I have begged a friend for help, so am currently, helplessly, not-so-quietly getting frustrated right now.

Why the push?  It comes back to that obsessive part.  I can't write new ride reports until I have the previous ones written.  And I have a really cool ride coming up tomorrow that I want to write about immediately.  Therefore I have to write up the three that I have ridden and not written about.  Does this make sense?  I know, it doesn't to me either.  It is just part of who I am.  And I am pretty sure my mother is once again shaking her head in that knowing manner.

So...I am going to give a fairly quick account of the rides and later post any videos that I do manage to produce.You game?

Ride One:  

July 11th.  Now this one was definitely an uneventful ride.  I was invited to ride with another all ladies group that love the mountains.  They will meet up at a biker joint that serves lattes to have their monthly call-to-order.  Then they decide where to ride that day.  The decision to plan the ride then is helpful since it takes the current participants into account for their skill level and desires.  I piped up and said I was willing to ride any road except Hwy 19.  My mental hangup to that highway are the hairpin turns that gain 50 feet elevation between entry and exit without any guardrails. I think it might also have something to do with knowing an experienced rider low-sided on one of those turns soon after I purchased the R12R and was invited on that ride.  Who knows.  It still scares me.

They didn't have any issues with that and we plotted a fine route up to Seed Lake and on to lunch.  The bulk of the route was roads that I am very familiar with.  I was able to just sit back and let someone else do the worrying.

As stated, this was an uneventful ride.  We rode, we stopped for a short break, we rode some more, and more, and more, and then stopped in Helen for lunch.  Helen, weekend, summer.  Enough said.  This is a no stoplight tourist town.  Traffic is very, very bad in the summertime and can back up for a mile or more on both ends of town at the same time.  I try to avoid it at all costs.  But this was the place.  Since the ride was lasting longer then I expected I said my goodbyes and hurried home.

A great group of women with a very relaxed and enjoyable riding paradigm.  I will go out with them again.  But I do still enjoy smaller groups or riding alone.

216 miles
Warm, but don't remember the exact temperature readings
No pictures other then what comes from the video

Ride Two:

July 17th.  Mr. Oilburner and I decided it was time to go after another tag.  It was only an hour away and he knew where he wanted to take it.  There were a couple other people expressing an interesting in picking this one up, so we woke up early to reach the location by opening time.  Too bad opening time didn't include the access road to the location.  Since this is a very busy park/national battlefield the road to the upper parking level is closed on weekends so people can walk/hike it without fear of being run over.  The park does provide a shuttle service but fat lot of good that was going to do me getting a picture of my bike next to the tag.

We assumed a pictorial snag of the entrance wouldn't be valid since it wasn't the location and the bike.  We briefly considered hiking/shuttling to the top and that taking a picture of us in our gear might do it.  But we were no longer ambitious about this tag, or going any distance in our riding gear.  We reassessed our options and just headed into the mountains.  Without any particular destination we took turns at random.  One location I will have to return to is the single lane, metal grated bridge in the middle of the hills and hollers.  I thought the GoPro was taking video, but apparently the battery had already expired.  Great photo-op location!!

Upon posting my proof that the road was closed, the tag owner deemed it valid and all gave me the win.  Unfortunately, I posted it late Sunday night, hoping others would post rants before me.  Not expecting the snag to be given to me, I didn't have a destination tag.  I was going to have to ride Monday to find a place for it.

But back to Saturday.  We wound up near Helen, again, via the back roads sans traffic.  We stopped at Goats on the Roof.  Yes...Goats on the Roof.

It was nearing 1 PM, and in typical BeemerGirl fashion, I was getting unreasonably grouchy since we hadn't eaten.  Mr. Oilburner knows the drill and proceeded directly to food.  We stopped at Sonic, quickly ate and headed home since we needed to clean up for a party.

220 miles
Goats on the Roof
Disappointing snag to a tag, but wound up being awarded the win

Ride Three:

July 19th.  I had to go find an appropriate place for the tag.  And since I was out, and knew the location of the North GA Tag, and had to place mine for the GA Tag (all of Georgia, not just the north), I decided on a double tag.  Rode the 40 miles to Gainesville to snag the N. GA Tag.

I then took it here:

A nearby park that was a major destination for me while learning to ride.  And I will add that someone snagged it the very next morning!

Then I dropped off the GA Tag here:

I can't tell you this location as no one has picked it up yet.  The clues: If you know anything about engines, this company started producing them in 1876. The sculpture is made of engine parts and forms the company's logo. Also...located at the company's headquarters.  A couple of people have it figured out, but no one has picked it up yet.  I don't blame them too much since this is urban...but the quickest I could do, and I really do like the sculpture!

100 miles
Actually rode a couple roads I have never been on before!  But was amazed to recognize intersections.  Wondering if I can combine all tracks I have in history and see the coverage of the state.  :-)

Side Ride 4:

July 21st.  I know I initially said three rides.  But I have to add this quick jaunt from last night that is a precursor to tomorrows full blown ride.  A local guy by the name of Daniel is riding to the Arctic Circle/Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer (Susan G. Komen).  His sister was recently diagnosed and it has hit the family hard.  They are pulling together, but his sister has five young children and a loving husband...and she wants to stick around.  This ride is Daniel's way of helping everyone's sisters.

This is his basic setup

Horribly fuzzy.  This was the motorbike turnout.  Good crowd, good people.  Raised almost $1000 raffling off a GoPro camera.  GoPro donated it to the cause.  And the winner turned around and auctioned it off to the crowd for additional funds.

You can follow his blog at ATLtotheArctic.  I have also posted a quick link on the left hand side of my main page.   

So the plan tomorrow?  Ride Daniel out of  town!!  Though not on a rail.  A group of supporters and enthusiasts are meeting up to start his journey with him, riding him to the state line and a little beyond.


  1. I started to look at the GoPro but from what I could see there is no way of switching it on and off remotely and you therefore end up with hours of video!
    What I really want is a helmet cam that I can take stills and video at the touch of a handlebar mounted control unit - does such a device exist?

  2. Hi Nikos, Sorry for delay. Been on the road the last two days. I have much more insight on the GoPro today then on Thursday. I will be writing up a report on the things that I have seen; some good, some bad. Quick answers to your questions...I don't have much knowledge or experience with the two other units that I am aware of. I know the VholdR only has an on/off basic type of switch; no remote. As for the GoPro, reading the forums I have seen a remote has been promised for quite a few months, but nothing has been produced. In my mind, a remote would be an EXCELLENT feature. Alas, no...I have not found a system like the one you would like. I agree something like that would be very good. Develop it and you can make millions. :-)

    Quickly, my biggest problems over the last two days: when camera is facing away it is impossible to tell if the unit is on/off/recording/not recording; impossible to change modes during ride; without any way to easily preview the images, can't tell if windsheild reflection or object placement will render a couple hours of video/images useless!!

    Hope this helps a little.