Photographer and Filmmaker (and previous Bicycle Story interviewee) Brian Vernor just released the mini-documentary he made about the Trans-Andes Challenge, a 250-mile stage race across Chile’s Patagonia region. The film was part of the 2011 Bicycle Film Festival, but now that the festival has completed its run of showings across the US, Vernor is releasing his doc in-full online.
Vernor is known for incorporating a surf-film aesthetic into his work and that holds true for this as well in the way he shows the landscapes, the people and places on the region, and the life and culture of the racers between stages.
In 1982, John Marino gave start to one of the hardest, longest, Ultra-endurance races in the world. It has come to be called the Race Across America, but its first incarnation was The Great American Bicycle Race. The 2,968 mile route went from the Santa Monica Pier in LA to the Empire State Building in New York. Only four racers participated: John Marino, John Howard, Michael Shermer, and Lon Haldeman (the race winner).
RAAM has since grown in size and popularity with around 200 solo racers and many more two- and four-person team racers, but it is still a relatively-obscure, niche cycling event. Its modern semi-obscurity is part of the reason it’s so amazing that ABC’s Wide World of Sports was there to cover the very first race. And the Internet being what it is, some kind soul has uploaded the coverage of the race to Youtube in 10 parts.