Thursday, May 19

Thursday Interlude: Race Across the Sky Review

I saw the 2010 Race Across the Sky film first, and the 2009 film just recently. When I posted my review of the 2010 film someone commented that it was exactly the same as the first film, and too long because of it. I loved the 2010 film for various reasons, which you can read HERE. So I was compelled to go back and watch the original film.

The fact that I was camping with my family in Leadville during the 2009 race and that we missed seeing Lance Armstrong on his race to the finish by less than fifteen minutes, and that we had friends who were volunteers at the race that day was enough to make me want to see the 2009 film. But the second film had evoked emotions in me. I fought back tears at the theatrical debut. The 2010 film awoke a desire in me to do the Leadville 100.

I reserved a copy from the public library. It took a couple of months for my turn to roll around, but when I did I pedaled eagerly to the local branch and left cradling the DVD box in my hands. I was excited to watch it.

I waited until I had time to dedicate to the film, to pay it the attention I believed it was going to deserve. I had such a good feeling about it that I didn't care if both films were exactly the same. I still wanted to relive the experience of the Leadville 100 through the magic of cinema.

As the scenes unfolded and the ride snaked out from downtown I remembered the rainy weather we woke up to that morning in our campsite along Turquoise Lake. It was cold and damp that day. I remember thinking how miserable the riders must have been struggling at elevation, fighting the cold, the wind, the rain and mud. I wanted no part of the ride that day.

We had planned on hiking up to an 11er in the area, but the ride route prohibited us from making the hike and I was a bit annoyed even. Instead we creeped to the upper end of the lake and hiked up a valley that was not impacted by the ride that day. We only saw a few stray riders here and there as we drove from one end of the lake to the other.

We found out a few days later through the wonders of facebook that our friends from Kentucky, Steve and Jill, had been in Leadville. We had missed seeing them there, but got to visit for a couple of hours in Denver before they continued on down the road.

As I watched the film two years later I marveled again as I saw their faces in the crowd alongside the start area, and then again at the end as Lance rolled in to the finish.

If I had not seen Race Across the Sky 2010 I would have been satisfied with the original Race Across the Sky, but since I saw them in reverse order the Lance effect didn’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I'm a Lance fan based solely on It's Not About the Bike, but while I was excited to see the original film partially because he was in it his presence alone didn’t carry the film. I was much more interested in the personal stories portrayed in the 2010 movie.

The one compelling scene in the this film was when Lance was approaching the turnaround at Columbine Mine, when he had left Dave Weins far behind and he climbed alone along the crest of the alpine ridge, with nothing but grand space behind. The moment was captured from a helicopter with a great angle, Lance against a magnificent background. It was an inspiring moment. It was poetry on the screen. And for a moment you were there with him on that ridge, racing Lance Armstrong across the sky.

I would recommend the 2010 film over the 2009, but its still worthwhile to watch the 2009 film. It’s a good portrayal of the Leadville 100 and allows you to see a historic cycling moment as Lance comes back from his second place win in 2008 behind champion Dave Weins to crush the record while finishing first on a flat tire. A must see!

Clear night before the race

Hagerman Pass Road the day of the race

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