I’ve been planning to buy the Ride the Divide movie DVD but hadn’t gotten it yet so I was excited when I heard that it was coming to the big screen for one night in Colorado Springs (It’s possible there’ll be another local showing around the end of the year). I know a couple guys that have finished the Tour Divide which the movie is about. It’s also on my list of dream things to do.
The Tour Divide is mountain bike race that starts in Banff, Canada and roughly follows the Continental Divide to the Mexico border. It’s just over 2,700 miles with over 200,000 feet of climbing. The rules prohibit any outside support other than what the racers can find in towns along the course or from boxes they’ve sent to post offices along the way.
The Ride the Divide movie was shoot during the 2008 race. The movie mainly follows 3 of the racers. The 3 are Matthew Lee, Mike Dion and Mary Metcalf-Collier. It was Matthew’s 5th time doing the race and Mike and Mary were rookies. It was Mike’s idea to have the race filmed.
The race goes through amazingly beautiful, remote areas and the movie captures some awesome views. Along with the remoteness comes wildlife and some of it isn’t friendly. There’s a nice scene of a big bear looking for something to eat.
As you can imagine, riding long hours day after day takes it’s toll on the racers both physically and mentally. Sometimes the physical pain causes the mental battles. Mary’s legs and ankles become extremely swollen and she quits a couple times but then gets back on her bike and continues to ride south. I thought the movie showed the struggles well although you can’t totally capture what goes on deep inside of an endurance racer in an event like this.
Although I knew that the Tour Divide and Race Across America (RAAM) are totally different types of races, the differences were striking. I was expecting more sleep deprivation. Although without a crew to help them, the Tour Divide riders wouldn’t be able to function on as little sleep as the RAAM racers. Also RAAM doesn’t allow racers to ride together for more than 15 minutes in a 24 hour period but Tour Divide allows racers to ride together. The Tour Divide riders were shown sitting at restaurants eating meals while RAAM racers mainly eat on the bike and only are off the bike to sleep.
The guys filming the movie are shown at points throughout the movie. At times they help fill in what the racers are doing when they can’t get to them. A few times though it seemed showing them didn’t add anything and I would have just as soon they left the scene out.
All in all I really enjoyed the movie and picked up a copy for some motivation while riding the trainer this winter. Mountain bikers will definitely enjoy the movie and I think anyone that enjoys adventure will too. Order a copy for yourself and get some of your Christmas shopping done early by getting a copy for your friend. The movie is available from the Ride the Divide website and soon from Amazon.