“Why am I doing this?”
It’s a question every endurance athlete has pondered at one point or another. If you’ve ever been on a bike tour or participated in any sort of long-distance endurance sport, you likely know what it feels like when the pain your body is experiencing starts to affect your mindset and the desire you once had for finishing the task which you are current undertaking. However, few people have ever undertaken a challenge as physically and mentally draining as The Race Across America.
The Race Across America (RAAM) is arguably the longest and most difficult bicycle race in the world. Starting on the West Coast of the United States and finishing on the East Coast, cyclists from around the globe race across more than three thousand miles in an attempt to finish the course as quickly as they possibly can. Most races finish within eight to nine days with riders covering more than 300 miles each and every day and sleeping for no more than an hour or two each night. The goal for many is to simply finish, as more than half of the riders who start out in California never make it to the East Coast.
Bicycle Dreams is the story of these racers and the incredible willpower required to complete such a long, strenuous and draining undertaking.
The film, by Stephen Auerbach, documents the 2005 Race Across America and a handful of riders who, for one reason or another, feel the need to push themselves to the limit.
Bicycle Dreams, however, isn’t the story of a typical bike race. Nor is it a cycling film that showcases the beauty and splendor of the American landscape (although there is some fantastic photography throughout the film). With most of the riders spread out over dozens or even hundreds of miles, there are no pelaton-type crashes, sharp high-speed turns, or dramatic passes (there is only one slow pass in the entire film).
Instead, Bicycle Dreams is a look inside the thoughts and minds of a few individuals who are brave enough (or crazy enough) to push themselves beyond what most of us would ever consider humanly possible.
When one of the film’s featured riders suffers a heart attack in the Rocky Mountains and swerves into oncoming traffic, the tone of the race is instantly and forever changed. Some riders choose to drop out, only then realizing how dangerous the race really is. Others, however, choose to ride on, pushing themselves even further in an attempt to make sense of their extraordinary actions.
If you’ve ever dreamt of challenging yourself and/or pushing yourself to a place far beyond what you previously thought possible, Bicycle Dreams is a film you must see. It’s beautiful, thought provoking, exciting, emotional, and scary. And like the riders who take part in this race, the experience of watching the film will leave you with a new perspective on life that will most certain remain with you for a very long time to come.
For more information on Bicycle Dreams, or to pick up a copy of the film for yourself, head on over to www.BicycleDreamsMovie.com.