Bicycle Dreams poster.
As the Sundance queues thinned, Brewvies Cinema Pub catered to a packed house Wednesday evening with a mix of locals and Outdoor Retailer attendees who were promised a good flick and a full keg of tasty, local brews by Cutthroat Racing. Serving as a fundraiser for the fun-focused cycling team, this screening of 2009's Bicycle Dreams was one of the stops on its resurfaced 2013 tour.
In good ole Brewvies fashion, the food and beer lines stretched to the door, past the lobby where Cutthroat Racing teammates Ali Knutson and Ryan Miller were selling tickets to the film, Cutthroat jerseys serving as a backdrop. Alongside the team, local bicycle bag and accessory company Velo City Bags sold their wares, owners Nathan and Debbie Larsen hidden behind colorful backpacks, messenger bags and pouches.
The theater was packed tight, speckled with messenger caps and beanies, and everyone held a pint of something delicious and Uinta-brewed, included with the ticket price. Though the usual clusterfuck of bicycles out in front of the brewpub during an event like this was missing (I also drove that night, not wanting to spend the evening hacking soot out of my lungs––the irony of inversion), I recognized all the familiar faces of the local bicycle community whom I miss during my solo winter-riding months. After catching up with a few of them, we settled in for what I hoped to be a worthwhile film, having spent a good 20 hours seeing top-notch indie flicks at Sundance over the weekend.
Directed by filmmaker Stephen Auerback, Bicycle Dreams documents the 2005 edition of the annual 3,000-mile, cross-country bicycle Race Across America (RAAM), focusing on a handful of cyclists making the grueling commute. This is probably the most physically intense bicycle race in the country, if not the world, as solo competitors have to bike from San Diego to Atlantic City, and in order to keep up, must ride through the night, often on mere minutes of sleep. As a non-athlete, I don't see the appeal of pushing your body to the point that some of these guys (and girl) do, especially when they put their lives at risk. All of the cheesy inspirational quotes they kept spewing in their interviews didn't really help me take them any more seriously––they've all obviously read Lance Armstrong's autobiography a few too many times, which I imagine is going to show up at a number of book burnings in the near future, along with a rubber meltdown of any surviving LiveStrong bracelets. The erratic soundtrack was probably the most distracting thing about the film, changing with every scene cut, from some Arabian Nights-themed synth tracks, to generic Americana guitar solos. Amateur filmmaking aside, Bicycle Dreams does feature some interesting characters, which includes multiple first-place RAAM winner and absolutely off-his-rocker cyclist Jure Robic, and my personal favorite, the super-smiley and positive Italian, Fabio Biasiolo.
Overall, the event was fun and entertaining, and allowed us all some bicycle hang time safe from the cold and poisonous Salt Lake air, with local beer warming our insides. I'm happy that the Cutthroat Racing team is pretty much the stark opposite of the racers in Bicycle Dreams, because if there's anything the cycling world doesn't need any more of, it's cyclists who take themselves too seriously. Make sure you support these guys, and come out to their events, 'cause they're a rad bunch. For their calendar, check out the Cutthroat Racing website: cutthroatracing.org.