Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: Ride The Divide - The Movie

Monday night I had the opportunity to see "Ride The Divide" in the Crest Theatre in downtown Sacramento.  I had some knowledge of this event going into the movie, having followed some of the racers online at this year's race and read reports of their experiences.  Self supported ultra endurance mtb events are crazy... especially in the Rockies!  I'm someone who totally stresses over what to pack for a weekend car-camping trip at a race, going through the schedule of each day deciding what I will wear in advance and what I will eat.  So that I make sure I have everything, but not too much.  I'm sure if I went backpacking a few times, the "survival" aspect of this type of adventure wouldn't be as stressful, but wow I can't imagine trying to figure out what to bring for a 3 week bike ride!

This movie follows the 2008 race.  Two and a half years to make an adventure event documentary you ask?  Well the race does cover 2700 miles and spans around 3 weeks.  So you can imagine how much footage they have to go through, and then they have to make it interesting to an audience.  It's not like these riders are hucking cliffs and doing things that would get you on the edge of your seat just watching.  I have to say, that this movie was worth the wait.  It was very entertaining, and quite funny at times.  Not just because the racers get a little loony out there and say some funny stuff, but some of the side stories about the people they'd meet along the way were a crack-up.  The crew did a great job developing the characters (racers) and the audience was really tied in emotionally, at least I was.  So many of the racers almost quit, numerous times, for legitimate reasons.  And the hardest part of this race is the mental game of being alone, wondering why they're doing this, among other things.  They'd get to a point where the vast beauty of the world they're riding through just doesn't matter anymore, because they've experienced the beauty the last 1500 miles, or whatever it is, and start to focus on their pain and depressing emotions of being away from family, etc.

Without spoiling it... one of the most impact-full moments of the film was when the racer Mike called in and his daughter answered the phone and he just broke down.  And he's trying to be strong for his daughter but can't help it because he's emotionally spent, and can't even really appreciate where he is:

This race has a $0 entry fee, no support (just a Spot gps for tracking), no awards and no prize money.  IF you get to the finish at the Mexican border, you still have to get a ride home!  It is an amazing concept for a race, and I'm really, really glad this film crew took the time to document it.  They did a great job and I loved the movie.