The Race Across the Sky!

October 25, 2009

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity as a surprise birthday present (Thank you, Leigh) to go see the documentary, The Race Across the Sky.  This is a beautifully crafted film about the Leadville Trail 100.  Leadville is a grueling century mountain bike race in Leadville, Colorado.  It is a physically demanding ride, due to both the course, which travels across mountainous overpasses, flat roads and treacherous downhills and the conditions, which include high elevation, limited air, rain, sleet, and hail.  So grueling is the course that there is even a portion of the trail that most mountain bikers carry their bikes back up! 

The film does a wonderful job of telling the story of not only why the race was created, which was basically to save the small municipality of Leadville after the mines had closed, but also….

Tangential Brief history of Leadville (skip ahead if not interested): Leadville historically was a silver and gold mining town, but was also rich in Mollybdenite.  The Climax mine, which I believe was the primary source of revenue and jobs for the town closed, it created a major detriment for the town.  They needed to figure out how to survive and thus began the Leadville Trail 100. 

 … they did a wonderful job of setting the stage for the epic race of  Lance Armstrong v. Dave Wiens.  Lance Armstrong, 7 time Tour de France Champion and one time World Road Race Champion, versus Dave Wiens, six time and defending champion of the Leadville Trail 100.  This was a rematch of the 2008 Leadville Trail 100, in which Wiens had vanquished his “second” Tour de France winner (the first being Floyd Landis and Lance the second.)  Here’s the article written in the New York Times about Wiens’ victory over Lance.  Leadville Victory.  This year’s (2009) edition of the  challenge would be completely different for the now 45 year old mountain biker and father of three, would be taking on a fresh off the Tour de France (3rd overall) Lance Armstrong.  This race was all that anyone would expect… monumental, and often throughout the film, you found yourself rooting for Dave Wiens, even though you found no fault if Lance were to win.

The only part of the film that was better than the storyline of the Gunnison Gunslinger (Wiens) v. The Ultimate Assassin (Armstrong) was the vinettes of other racers who have overcome horrendous odds for the opportunity to ride in this particular race.  I say opportunity because the race is limited to 1400 participants.  By the time it ends you are left with the beautiful sights of Leadville, Colorado and the voice over of Bob Roll (noted Hall of Fame cyclist and play-by-play commentator on Versus.  I’m eager to see how the exposure of this race by the film aides the town and the race itself.  To paraphrase Lance on the topic, I hope this becomes one the great challenges of people’s lives.  That they add the Leadville Trail 100 to their list of lifetime challenges!

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One Response to “The Race Across the Sky!”

  1. Kat Says:

    Looks like a gorgeous place!


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