Matt Donahue

Friday, June 10, 2005

Off Road to Athens

Last night I went out to see Off Road to Athens, a film about top level U.S. Mountain bikers and their struggle to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. Without revealing too much, I'll say that it was an emotional look into competitive mountain biking. A truely candid view of the inspiring men and women who compete in the sport.

Amazingly there were many twists and turns to the film (not just regarding the trails). So while it had incredible racing shots, it was not your run of the mill mountain bike flick. It was a lot more interesting including heartbrake, conflict, scandal and more. My wife and a few non-mountain bike friends came along to see it and they came away saying, "that was awesome!" Before seeing it, I was somewhat nervous that they would only be mildly enthused about being dragged to a mountain bike movie at 9:30 on a Thursday night, but all three were impressed with the film and the story it told.

Another neat thing about it was seeing Jeremiah Bishop and Sue Haywood on the big screen. While I certainly don't know these folks personally, I've been at some of the same races and shared a few words with J. Bishop over coffee and bagels before the Shenandoah Mountain 100 for example, so this gave it that local feel, yet bigger and global at the same time. The races these athletes rode in were brutal- Scotland, Austria, Mt. Saint Anne... I'll be picking this up on DVD once it comes out. It's definitely a motivational film with a great story. Props to Jason Berry and Ken Bell for their didication and talent.


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