Where the trail ends

I got back from Norway on Sunday, and I’ve been doing school work ever since. So if you’re waiting for the Norway update, get ready to wait a little more. Team Robot race updates typically occur on geologic time, so you might be waiting a little longer. Plus, if you saw the results you already know I had a crappy run and didn’t qualify, so I’m obviously not in a big hurry to walk you through the ins ad outs of how I spent $2500 to travel halfway around the world and fail everyone that ever believed in me.

Anyway, Interbike is this week, and the “where the trail ends” premiere is going on as we speak. That’s right, it’s getting live broadcast, but before that we get to watch a live webcam of fat industry people who don’t ride bikes as they wait in line to get $10 beers at the bar in the hotel lobby. Oh, but in between those banger clips, Sal Masekela is doing interviews with Richie Schley. I can’t make this stuff up:

Obviously this movie is going to rehash a lot of tired themes. Things to expect:

They’re going to travel to alpine meadows in the Gobi desert, to some haunted mine in the Andes, and to a buddhist temple in Nepal, and then they’re going to build exactly the same jumps and drops they would build in Kamloops. Expect copious beauty shots, and expect the film crew be to sticking cameras in the faces of wide-eyed locals who’ve never seen a white man before and may or may not believe that the camera is stealing their soul.

There will be very little bike riding. Expect a lot of travel montages and interviews and video of people in the hospital and video of people at their houses and building jumps and looking at jumps and talking about building and looking at jumps and hi fiving after hitting said jumps and generally anything possible to avoid putting bike riding on the screen.

When there is bike riding, all shots will fit into one of these tree categories:

1. Gnarly death shit. Flips, 360s, and enormous bucks, maybe all three at the same time. Probably a good amount of riding gnarly steep death shit. This is the scariest, riskiest stuff to film, so there will be less of this. Expect shots of gnarly death shit to be broken up by 3-5 minutes of BS in between.

2. Skidding. This is easy to film, and always looks good at 1000 FPS. Carrying exit speed out of a shitty corner might require superhuman skill, but it can be tough to capture and convey. Kicking up a pile of loose dust, or, better yet, finding a scree field to Brett Tippie the shit out of is way easier and sells well to an audience that can’t tell the difference between a two-wheel drift and a fixie skid. When you’re dealing with hollywood level budgets, directors don’t have time to let their audience revel in the nuance, beauty, and power of a well-executed turn; they just blast their audience straight in the eye sockets with a sloppy burrito shart of dust, sand, and loam. Anytime riders aren’t in the air, expect cameras to be rolling slow and rear brake levers to be pinned to the bar.

3. I can’t see what’s going on. This category is my personal favorite, and it seems like the higher the production quality, the less you can tell what the hell is going on. Directors love to crop wheels, suspension, and the ground out of the shot whenever possible so they can fill the frame with the rider. We don’t need to show the suspension and tires in every shot, because we’ll have shots dedicated to that tires and suspension. Tire and suspension shots will have the rider cropped out, so that no one shot ever allows you to see wtf is going on. Because if you could tell what was going on, and you had the whole rider and bike in the shot, every shot would look the same, and we can’t have that. This often gets labeled as “bike porn,” but I think that’s a misnomer; I think that industry puts a value on giving the audience some idea of what the hell is on the screen. With both of the aforementioned film genres, if the video guy gets carried away with close ups trying to fill the screen, people can’t tell what they’re looking at anymore.

More thoughts:

On the other hand, I bet there won’t be a post office scene. My gaydar also tells me there won’t be a slow jam, bro down scene where everyone just enjoys the chill part of riding bikes and talks about the soul of riding. I actually think this movie will be mostly bangers, so instead of hangin’ with the bros in B.C. and trying to capture the the totally chill soul of riding, it will be ten person camera crews full of people who don’t ride going into the middle of no-where on unfamiliar continents to watch two guys take turns jumping the scariest thing that’s ever been done on a bicycle so that they can continue to make a living from the energy drink sponsor that paints their helmets. Yeah, I think this movie will be a little different- I think it will be following in the footsteps of mega big budget snowboard movies of late. Actually, I don’t think, I know. Freeride Entertainment MTB movies have always been two years behind snowboard movie making; no reason to expect them to change now.

The thing with snowboarding movies is that the athletes are out there in crazy snow conditions day in and day out, and it’s sort of just a ticking time bomb until people start dying in avalanches. That, combined with the huge dollars on the line, means that snowboard films are anything but “chill” and they literally have a life or death feel when they are being filmed. Super high pressure and super dangerous. My bet is that “Where the Trail Ends” manages to capture that same feel and apply it to a sport that, previously, was actually pretty fun for its athletes. Expect lots of super tense, high pressure moments and life or death shit on the screen.

So, watching a bunch of bros risk life and limb hurling their mortal bodies off huge cliffs hundreds of miles away from medical attention is kind of a bummer, but big $$$ and publicity for the bike industry isn’t all bad.

Who knows, maybe it’s even a good movie.

I kid, I kid.

5 thoughts on “Where the trail ends

  1. Spot on Chaz… this movie was shit. not 'the shit', just shit. I went back to cleaning house after 20 minutes.

  2. Certainly not a bad film, but I couldn't help but think how much cooler it would have been with snow and fat skis. I didn't make it through either. Trails are cooler.

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