Coverage provided by BULLS e-bikes allows the Swiss Epic team to update the world on the racing from Cape Town.
“The more we stay apart, the closer the world works together.”
COVID-19 has posed many challenges to events companies; challenges like physical distancing, limited on-event staffing and participant numbers.
To the Swiss Epic, the above-mentioned obstacles have forced the management team to formulate innovative ways of broadcasting the action of the racing in Graubünden to the world.
Under normal circumstances, team members would travel from across the globe to Switzerland to work on-site for the duration of the event in various roles, from race operations to photography; social media to broadcast production, but due to travel bans, this was no longer possible and the team was forced to work remotely.
While covering the race on social media is technically possible from anywhere in the world due to its dynamic nature, commentary, content creation and the broadcast thereof were elements of concern.
BULLS Bikes, the official media bike partner to the Epic Series, had proven their value on countless occasions at the Absa Cape Epic as they played a pivotal role in allowing the Absa Cape Epic to become the first-ever mountain bike race to live broadcast the action, as it happened, from the bike to the screens of viewers across the world.
This world-first allowed mountain bike fans to get a taste of the speed and brutal nature of the trails at The Untamed African Mountain Bike Race, in South Africa.
At the Swiss Epic, BULLS Bikes have taken on a crucial role and have two designated e-bike pilots following the racing action in the Elite men’s and women’s races. Stefan Sahm, three-time Absa Cape Epic winner, and Leon Kaiser have been broadcasting a live feed to the Swiss Epic team which has allowed for up-to-the-minute race updates and content creation for the race’s social media platforms as well as crucial visuals and information for Paul Kaye, the race’s lead commentator.
While the social media edits that utilise the BULLS Bikes footage have been delighting fans across the world, Paul Kaye’s famed vocals have been keeping Graubünden’s locals entertained thanks to the insights he is able to garner from the feed.
“It’s fantastic to bring a world first in remote commentating to the Swiss Epic. Even if I am not physically present, and thousands of kilometres away, I can use the live visuals off the course and finish line, and accurate timing data to paint a picture and tell a story to keep the stakeholders engaged. We still have a lot of learning to do and we have to adapt, but we are making it work and every day it’s getting better and better. We have a production team sitting in Austria, Stefan onsite announcing, and I’m sitting in my spare room in a make shift studio at home” explained commentator extraordinaire, Paul Kaye.
Claudio Schütz, the Technical Producer, explained how the production worked, “The backbone of this multinational production is high-speed internet on the highest alps as well as on the southernmost point of Africa. Video is sent from Switzerland to our control room in Austria, where we mix live footage with recorded videos from the track, bring live data into the feed and play it out on the web, for the team in Switzerland and those in South Africa, including Paul Kaye, to see.
This allows Paul to act, speak and sound like he is sitting just around the corner with a wireless microphone connected. In reality, he uses just his notebook and an USB microphone back home in South Africa; together with Stefan Flury on site, they sound like a well combined announcing team who could both be standing right next to each other.”
While the technical side of the production is a challenge in itself, keeping up with the world’s best mountain bikers on trails that are challenging enough without the weight of cameras and streaming devices is a trial of its own.
Stefan Sahm, BULLS Bikes QC and Supply Chain Manager ZEG added, “I just finished the 3rd stage of the Swiss Epic in Arosa, and so far we’ve had some of the most amazing trails that Graubünden has to offer. Leon and I are following and filming the front bunch of Elite women and men on our BULLS E-Bikes, and bringing the live action to the race village and team offsite. We do this at the Absa Cape Epic and it is hugely successful. Everything is dialled in and set up and it’s an honour and pleasure for us to ride. It’s so much fun to watch the racing from right in the middle of the action. It’s great to have another Epic Series race on the list for riding and following on E-Bikes. There are always new challenges, though; the Alps are different to South Africa and we always have to find solutions to different problems, but it’s working quite well so far and we hope that we can cover more of the Epic Series races in the near future.”
Today is the Queen Stage of the Swiss Epic kicks and riders will transition from Arosa to Davos where they will spend the night before racing the final stage on the trails surrounding the town. Be sure to download the Epic Series app or tune in to /swiss-epic to follow the action.