“Race Across the Sky” tonight!


Showing one night only, a documentary film on the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race premieres tonight in Madison. Tickets for “Race Across The Sky” have already sold out and outdoor enthusiasts are eager to watch Tour De France cycling hero Lance Armstrong slug his way through a totally different event.lance-armstrong-leadville

On a rugged course peddling mountain bikes along the highways and trails of Leadville, Colorado,  Armstrong goes up against six-time 100 champion Dave Wiens. With hundreds of other participants the race is a 50-mile out and back on 90 percent double track dirt roads with 14,000 feet of elevation gain. That includes a 7-mile hill climb to a summit turnaround at 12,600 feet.

Produced by Citizen Pictures, the  documentary  tells the story behind this grueling, yet action packed race. Adventure filmmaker Michael Brown was there to shoot highlights at the half-way point.

“It was pretty darn exciting,” he said. “I was lucky to get stationed at summit to get shots as they were coming up. This was suppose to be a new course record and there was a lot of build-up. But on the day of the race there was a lot of confusion because people didn’t know where Lance was because he was so far out in front.”

An experienced high altitude photographer –he’s shot on Everest-Brown was able to chase the riders on foot getting clear images at the top of the steep rocky hill.

“At that point Lance was about 10 or 15 minutes ahead,” Brown said.

According to a report in Velo News by Steve Frothingham Armstrong pulled out in front at the beginning of the climb. Cold wet weather slowed many riders down including his buddy Matt Shriver and local favorite Dave Wiens who stopped in Columbine to put on a jacket and a pair of gloves.

“I looked back and there was no one there but Shriver,” Armstrong was quoted. “I kind of had to decide if I wanted to continue alone or wait for the other guys. I knew it was risky to go alone.”

armstrong-weindx-largeArmstrong powered through to the summit in spite of the cold. “I wanted to ride hard because I was starting to freeze,” he said in the story.

The race concluded in a record finish, Armstrong coming in 30 minutes head of Wein on a nearly flat tire. Shiver finished third.

The film tonight will include a panel discussion (on tape) with Armstrong, Wiens, Leadville Trail 100 founder Ken Chlouber, and Trek Bicycle team rider Travis Brown.

Showtime 7PM at Marcus Point Cinema, 7825 Big Sky Drive. –JEM

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.