I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dragged my friend Shannon to see see Race Across the Sky, the documentary about the Leadville Trail 100 race (okay not dragged- she volunteered). I knew next to nothing about the Race, just that Levi Leipheimer (I’m sure I’m never going to learn how to spell his name) had won it this year and that it was a mountain bike race! But all I really needed to know was that it was a documentary about cycling, two of my favorite things! And it didn’t disappoint.
To start with, the scenery was beautiful and the cinematography was stunning. Then, the KILLER course makes for awesome race drama. The fact that it’s a round trip course makes it even more brutal, as anything that was “easy” on the way out gets them on the way back.
Then, I was really struck by how much it resembled a road race. I don’t know much about mountain bike racing and was surprised how much the tactics were similar to road racing (at least in this race)- the breakaways, working together to draft, attacking to develop gaps, etc. In addition, I had always thought of mountain biking as a solitary thing. And I guess by the time many reach the finish line, it’s down to small groups. But for much of the race, it seemed like the majority of the racers were riding as one big group.