Friday, 29 April 2016

A Weekend With The Maven (and our girls). ANZAC Long Weekend 2016

With the never ending dramas high up in the stratosphere of professional cycling, it's always good to see the sport at our level being championed by people who are doing it different. People carving their own path with nothing more than the intent of sharing their love of cycling with others.

Mark 'Cycling Maven' Ferguson is doing just this. His rapid rise in popularity via YouTube proves that if you're passionate about something, and have a platform to share that passion, people will jump on board for the ride.

I've known Mark for a few years now, back to before his five year cross-fit adventure (don't hold that against him), and recently via his Cycling Maven YouTube channel. His channel covers everything from race tips, cycling adventures, interviews, and everything in between. Each video gets people more and more invested in his story. People are adopting 'The Maven' as their friend. That might sound bizarre, but if you're a regular subscriber to YouTube vlogs, you'll understand.

     A cycling tragic sharing my love, knowledge and opinions on the sport. Among other things depending on my mood. - Cycling Maven YouTube channel description. April 2016.

I believe this philosophy of sharing the experience above all else resonates well within the cycling community. The Internet is the world's best bullsh*t filter. If you're trying to sell people something that doesn't work, or pushing out over produced polished content then you're at risk distancing yourself or your brand from your audience by trying to place yourself high up in that stratosphere mentioned above. No matter how much time Mark spends editing his videos for the perfect shot, it's the rawness and honesty that makes his work a welcome departure from the norm.

Anyhow, that's enough of my polished introduction. ;) Here's a few behind the scenes stories, photos, and videos of our recent trip to Bright, Victoria with Mark, his better half, Hannah, and my wife Von.

Day 1 - Mt Buffalo (The Horn on sunset) 

I'd promised to take the crew the best place I could think of to see the sunset on Saturday night. My confidence remained high while we made our way up Dingo Dell, past the Mt Buffalo ski field, and up the windy dirt road. Truth be told, I had serious doubts if it would be a good location or not. It was years since I'd been up there. Turns out it was a good location to place my bets on. It was amazing!

Preparing for launch... DJI Phantom 4. 
The drone master in action, and Hannah 'gramming. 
Get that shot!  

No selfie stick? No worries. The Maven takes care of the shot.

And the final production....

Day 2 - Mt Buffalo (sunrise) then onto Mt Hotham 

While scoping out the view for the sunrise we'd been paparazzi'd by Instagram user IngGa (we only found it a few days later by chance)

Photo: IngGa (Instagram)
The next morning we returned to the mountain hoping it was a clear morning.... it was.

Nothing sus... looking for 240V. (See the VLOG for what's going on here) :) 
I'm not sure about those pilot pants..... 

After lunch it was off to Mt Hotham on the bikes!

The Maven giving me "Lance eyes" before attacking! 
King of the kids again at the top!

The daily VLOG.....

Day 3 - ANZAC Day. Bright Canyon Walk

We attended the 6am dawn service at Bright. The number of people at the service surprised us all. 3/4 of us went back to bed following the ceremony, with Mark staying up to edit footage for the next vlog. A few hours later we headed back into Bright for breakfast and to the little known Canyon Walk that starts right in town. 

Reflections - As seen though my polarised Foakleys. (yes, I got a pair too)
Tourist guide Von!

Daily VLOG....

A story I didn't tell Mark was that while he was filming with the drone along the river on our last day, someone threw a large rock at it from the bushes. At first I thought it was a fish splashing near it, then out popped some grumpy bastard from the bushes mumbling about video privacy and telling us to delete the footage. He didn't know we were close by and thought he'd have a shot at taking the drone down. Had he actually taken it down, I might have given him the same fate, with a similar rock. He wasn't a good human. We agreed not to put any of 'his footage' online, that kept old mate happy. A minute later and were met by the lovely lady who's in the vlog saying she wants to see and share the footage. She was a good human. See the video for our chat with her.

Regarding the above - I can see how people might think drones are obnoxious. Going by our experience on the weekend, 99.9% of people were fascinated by it and wanted to see the footage. Mark welcomed anyone and everyone to look over his shoulder as he flew it around for a few minutes. All while answering questions about it, and generally being a good human. The novelty of drones is still there for people, I guess if every man and his dog had a drone it could become annoying. For now, it brings the crowds and entertains the kid in all of us.

A few quick observations as this post is getting long.....

I realised on the weekend was that there's simply not enough hours in a day to do everything. I have a real appreciation of what goes into a 10-12 minute video, and it's a lot more than 24hrs.

Mark might be the one with the cameras, doing most of the talking, and telling the stories. However like in most relationships, the level headed sounding board / creative genius / sub editor is the other person. Hannah is AWESOME! Even I can't wait for the couples Q&A people have been asking for. Someone please ask her about her rabbit. ;)

Making a difference. The comments on Mark's vlogs are pure gold. There are literally 1000s of people loving his work, loving the stories, and soaking up the energy he puts into his work. This is inspiring people all over the world. This is the difference that makes the work all worth the time and effort. 'The Maven' is firmly at ground level with the rest of us, true grass-roots, with the only thing in the stratosphere being a little drone, looking down capturing the moment. 


Rob said...

Nice write up, Shane. It was nice to get your perspective on the weekend. Mark sure hit on something with his YouTube channel.

Frank Solomona said...

Great write up Shane.
I enjoyed reading your thoughts and what a great time you all had in Bright.
There are many great characters that come into Maven's Vlogs so having the Lama ;-) being apart of the Vlog's, always makes them special.
Look forward to you making another apparence and keeping them pesky stone throwing drone haters at bay lol.