Day two of the Team Battle brought a change of scenery to Hood River with a momentary pause in the river’s notoriously consistent wind patterns. Although the lack of wind is a compromising factor for riding productivity, the downtime allowed the teams to gather, share media from the prior day and devise tentative plans for the days ahead. As a supplemental portion of the contest, each team is responsible for curating at least one custom build or park “hack,” as defined in the stringent competition rulebook. While time off the water amidst a contest of this caliber may seem detrimental, adequate planning and preparedness will be a crucial competitive factor. For example, in order for teams to remain and sustain competitive relevancy within the Team Battle’s digital formatting, each team and its allocated members will need to be ready to spring into action with cameras charged, SD cards cleared, and hard drives organized to collect and store footage whenever the wind kicks in.
Currently, the five teams appear to be sharing a fairly level playing field, but as the week draws on, it will become apparent which teams have used today’s downtime wisely in an effort to forge a competitive edge over the rival teams. However, as with any competition, positioning can change at a moment’s notice.
As the sun began to set behind the towering mountains surrounding Hood River, afternoon thermals pushed a bit of wind into the Slider Project, enticing the eager spirits of Team Blue, Team Yellow, and Team Burgundy, who leaped at the opportunity. Although the wind was light and short-lived, the devoted and strategic endeavors of Team Blue, who was the first team in the water, paid off in full as they were the only team to log usable footage before the wind faded into nonexistence. While the competitive efforts of Team Yellow, Team Burgundy, and especially Team Blue were on full display during the frantic push to seize the fleeting afternoon thermals, Team Tan and Team Green were absent from the undertaking, which was perhaps strategic intimidation, acts of wisdom, or a foreshadowing of the echelon that may already be in motion.
To finish off the day, teams gathered at the marina for a barbecue fueled by Sessions beer and the culinary mastery of Ramiro Gallart. The competition is friendly but heated, and day two of the Team Battle did not disappoint. The teams are hungry and ready to devour each and every session that awaits on the horizon – stay tuned.
Welcome to day three of the Team Battle. As the competition presses forward, drawing closer to the video submission deadline on September second, the importance of logging video and taking advantage of any ridable session becomes that much more vital. In a less precedented occurrence, the wind blew from the East, a less common circumstance and a direct contrast to the standard West wind. Due to the Eastern winds, the Slider Project was unrideable, but further towards the extremity of the Columbia River and West of Hood River, conditions provided the teams with opportune promise. A particular competition requirement all teams must fulfill is the inclusion of a “natural feature,” which cannot be near or around the confines of the Slider Project.
The East winds, combined with a necessary change of location, provided Team Tan, Team Yellow, and Team Burgundy the opportunity to fulfill this allotted requisite. While some of the teams hit the water in hopes of completing the “natural feature” requirement, Team Green and Team Blue used their time away from the Slider Project to film supplemental footage, or “b-roll,” which could prove to be a crucial deciding factor in the hopes of clenching the distinguished and reputable “best edit” award. Although the wind was blowing from the East, and the teams have not been able to film in the manicured Slider Project park, all the teams were taking advantage of their time on and off the water. Tomorrow’s forecast is anticipated to be very similar, so perhaps we will see more of the same strategic endeavors or maybe something entirely different. Each video is certain to be unique and a reflection of the team’s efforts and personalities, but thus far, the competitive strategy appears to be the most resonant and dissimilar competitive factor. The teams are sharpening their knives in preparation for the days ahead, but only time will tell which strategies are proving to be most rewarding or fatal. Stay tuned – Day three is complete.