Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Ride the Divide - The Movie

When I tell people of my intention to navigate the Continental Divide on a mountain bike, self-supported, over 200,000 feet of ascending climbs (the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest 7 times!), I often get asked what my inspiration was to draw me to such a crazy endeavour.

My response always resolves around the excellent documentary directed by Hunter Weeks and produced by the likes of Joe Cantwell, Anthony Cimino, and Mike Dion - one of the participants in the first official Tour Divide.

When the officially unofficial race started in 2008, there were only 17 "racers" committed to completing the route.  Over the course of an hour and a half, the viewer is gradually introduced to a variety of characters from Crazy Larry in Banff, to "Brad Pitt himself" Alan Goldsmith.  We get briefly introduced to Mike McCoy, the guy who over 4 years mapped the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

As the story of this trek progresses, the production crew emphasizes the physical and mental statuses of three riders - the previously-mention Mike Dion, a family man looking to set aside his mundane office life for a month; Mary Metcalf-Collier, the first woman to ever attempt the traverse; and Matthew Lee, a 4-time veteran of the race looking to slay his demons and complete the route in record time...of course to be home in time to witness the birth of his new baby.

These tales of physical and emotional pain and the reality of self-preservation greatly inspired me.  I see people from all walks of life trying to "find" themselves and push the human existence to its brink.

You may not like cycling, nor documentaries for that matter; but this tale of human endurance and my inspiration is right there for the viewing.  If you don't watch the full movie, at least check out the clip below.  Then you'll see why this race has a special place in my heart.

This "race" just completed its 6th rendition with a record 143 riders.  Only 81 finished the race, or 57%.  This is NOT an easy route, but it is widely regarded as life-changing, and that's what I'm going for.

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