As the movie rolled, I felt the same rush of excitement that I feel when my heart really gets going after 10 – 12 miles in the saddle. Then at the same time, I felt all my riding was in vain, because I always strive to be the best at anything I do, and I could never come close to this performance level.
Finally, I remembered that 99.99% of the riders in the US could not compete at that level either, and simply doing my best fuels me with that joy that only comes from cycling! Wow! Talk about ups and downs; this movie has them, and you ride them, not just watch. The direction and camera work are the best of any sport film I’ve ever seen, bar none. Absolute genius. This is fresh, this is real, and in addition to all the eye candy, there is REAL intrigue and drama!
This movie follows the fortunate and unfortunate happenings in US Cycling’s pursuit of Mountain Bike gold in the 2004 Olympics. It is shot from a perspective that really does put you there, on the trails in Europe, riding in the shadow of an 18,000′ live volcano. Riding in a downpour that turns to hail. Riding single track with a 500′ rock wall on your left, and a 500′ rock drop on your right.
The interviews, the banter, and candid dialogue are exactly what you would hear if you toured with the Olympic hopefuls. It never feels like it’s staged or fake. This is the kind of closeness that only a team member or friend is usually privy to.
Cyclists of all kinds, X-Game types, Olympic fans, sports fans, even a non-cycling folks, will like this movie. It’s not all about racing, it’s not all about “radical” or “epic” rides.
This is the story of the racer.
Here are some other great reviews – I especially like the story in the Democrat and Chronicle about the filmmaker, Jason Berry. VeloNews and The Daily Peloton also did reviews, focusing more on the movie.
Of course, you can visit the movie’s website at http://offroadtoathens.com/ and view the trailers here. Finally, here’s a gallery of hundreds of pictures taken during the filmmaking.