Bicycle Dreams

Bicycle Dreams is a full length documentary that chronicles the 2005 Race Across America. As a chronicler of cyclocross racing, a decidedly shorter affair, I was a bit hesitant when the film’s director, Stephen Auerbach, asked if I wanted to review his film.

Bicycle Dreams Tells the Story of the 2005 RAAM. Photos by Chris Millman.
Bicycle Dreams Tells the Story of the 2005 RAAM. Photo by Chris Milliman.

To hedge my bets, and ensure my ignorance about ultracycling events is kept in check, I recruited Adventures for the Cure’s Adam Driscoll and Patrick Blair, accomplished ‘cross racers and RAAM finishers in the two-person division, to watch and comment on the film.

Cyclocross racing is hard and, if you are doing it right, painful. It’s a redline effort for somewhere around an hour and then it’s over. RAAM, on the other hand, is more of a slow burn. Full-time steady-state efforts, day after day with little time off the bike and almost no sleep. Cyclocross is like a haymaker to the head, RAAM is 15 rounds of rabbit punches, a 45 minute break, and then fifteen more rounds. For nine straight days.

Bicycle Dreams tells a compelling story. From a technical and aesthetic standpoint the film is amazing. The shots are artfully framed and flawlessly executed. The color grading and lighting in the film are breathtaking. For this alone, the film is worth viewing.

The idea of a race across America in itself is, dare I say, epic. Finishing this event is truly an achievement only a small number of bicycle racers will accomplish. The human struggle, exhaustion, will-to-go-on and desire-to-quit is the kind of stuff compelling, edge-of-your-seat films thrive on.

For more info see www.bicycledreamsmovie.com.
Bicycle Dreams

The problem is that once you get beyond the big picture “epicness,” the actual competition is mind-numbingly dull. It’s equivalent to going out and watching an accomplished racer on a long solo training ride. This is not the Tour de France. There are no suicide breakaways, tactical chases, sprint finishes or mountain-top duels. Not to give away any plot points, but there is exactly one instance in the film in which we see a rider passed by a competitor.

To overcome the sport’s inherent lack of on-bike action, the filmmakers focus on the meta. The real drama is found in the racers’ back story, the mind-over-body struggle, and competitors’ interaction with their crew. Continue reading “Bicycle Dreams”

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The Rumors Are True: CX Worlds Coming To Louisville

Normally, I like to offer a little more in my posts than a reproduced press release, but this one is too good to pass up. I would book your hotel room today.

January 29, 2010 (Tabor, Czech Republic) – USA Cycling is honored to announce that Louisville, Kentucky today was chosen by the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling’s international governing body, to host the 2013 Elite Cyclo-cross World Championships and the 2012 and 2013 Masters Cyclo-cross World Championships.

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2012 Worlds Forecast? 18 Degrees And Snowy This Weekend in Kentucky

This historic appointment is the first time the Cyclo-cross World Championships will be held outside of Europe in the 50 plus year history of the championships. These events will mark the first Elite Cycling World Championship of any discipline held on U.S. soil since the Track World Championships took place in Los Angeles in 2005.

“After more than a decade of working closely with American promoters and the UCI to grow our international calendar of cyclo-cross events, Louisville’s winning bid is a testament to the success of those efforts and to the extraordinary quality of ‘cross racing in the U.S.,” USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson said. Continue reading “The Rumors Are True: CX Worlds Coming To Louisville”

NCCX Winter ‘Cross Video (Race No. 1)

Races 1 and 2 of the North Carolina Cyclocross Winter Cup took place January 9 and 10 in Salisbury and Mooresville, North Carolina. The CXHairs.com helmet-cam was in attendance for the event. Thanks to Chris Carraway (NCVC) for strapping on the hardware for the races and giving us a good look at the NCCX series. 

We also caught up with Route1Velo’s Thori Wolfe who traveled from DC to NC for the weekend’s races. Before getting to the video, here is Thori’s race report of how things played out at the front of the Masters 45+ field: 

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Wolfe At The Front of the Salisbury Field. Photo by Demoncats Photography. www.Demoncats.com

“Somewhere into the second or third week of undisciplined gluttony following Capitol Cross and the end of the ‘cross season, my R1V teammate Danny Koniowsky suggested the North Carolina Winter Cross Series. I was starting to feel like a slug, so I checked the calendar and Google map and decided to commit to at least the first weekend. I made the trek last weekend and wasn’t disappointed with the trip. Both races on Saturday and Sunday were low key, local races with relatively small fields and some very talented racers still willing to get out in the 20 degree temps when the only other ‘cross racers taking the discipline seriously live in Northern Europe and are named Nys, Albert, and Stybar. The accents were heavy Carolina. The juxtaposition of Ridley bikes, tubulars on carbon rims, and the southern accents you might otherwise expect at a NASCAR event was pretty awesome. It reminded me of surfing in Cape Cod with a bunch of dudes with heavy Massachusetts accents wave sliding on long boards. In both cases, seemingly incongruous, but it didn’t matter once they got down to what they were there to do.  Continue reading “NCCX Winter ‘Cross Video (Race No. 1)”