Tonight I went and saw the premier of Race Across the Sky 2010, a film about the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race this past year.
First off, a movie about mountain biking should not make you cry. And it wasn't because a sweet bike got trashed in a crash.
I knew that by going to see this movie that I would want to do the ride. I want to do the ride.
Unless you've been in a long distance organized ride you can't really imagine how the people shown in the movie feel. And that was my problem. I did the Triple Bypass in 2009. When they showed riders hugging their family at aid stations or crying as they were pulled off the course, or suffering as they labored up a climb I teared up.
I was shocked that I was struck with emotion over those things, but I knew exactly how those people felt. And I want to feel it again. I know that to do the ride is to plan to suffer, to concede to unnecessary pain, to hit the bottom of the barrel and start scratching at the wood. But I still want to give it a go.
The music varied but included a lot of pounding, workout appropriate punk-ish music that drove the film forward to the inevitable showdown between Levi Leipheimer and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski on the Powerline climb.
And while the film showcased the big name stars of the Leadville 100 a great deal of it highlighted the real heroes and stars of the race/ride, the unknown riders who had fought personal and quiet battles in their lives before they ever got to the starting line in August of this year.
It was particularly heart wrenching to see the ride officials calling the cutoff time and stopping riders who had not made it in time. Some cried as the official cut off their wrist bands, some calmly thanked the volunteers while suppressing the obvious emotions roiling below the surface. One man chuckles as he says "Get this thing off of me!" as he holds out his wrist. The theater audience erupted in laughter.
Hands down a great movie. I can't imagine non-cyclists wouldn't also be fascinated by this film. And even if cycling is not your thing, the adventure and the triumph of the human spirit that occurs on those dirt roads high above treeline as the riders gasp for more air and fight to just finish is amazingly well portrayed.