A filmmaker from British Columbia says she captured the moment that riding bikes in the mountains turned into the radical culture of free-ride mountain biking. There was a special screening of her film called "The Moment," at the Oriental Theater in Denver Wednesday.
The 75-minute feature-length documentary chronicles the adventures of three small bike crews in Canada and tries to pinpoint the moment a new sport was born.
“The reason it’s called "The Moment" is when I was doing the interviews for the movie, everyone kind of had their own moment," said Darcy Hennessey Turenne - the producer, director and editor of the film. "They were like, that was the moment that everything changed and it just kept coming up over and over and over, so there are several moments.”
Turenne is also a former pro mountain biker, and she said the start of free-ride mountain biking was going against the grain of society - and changes were happening all over the world, including Crested Butte, Colorado, and Marin County, California - but she just happened to capture it on film.
"In the early '90s, mountain biking was very much about racing, how fast you could go, a lot of spandex. It was a very 'square' sport," Turenne said. "And free-ride, they called it that because what they were doing was creating their own trail, doing big jumps, creating big lines, very much influenced by skiing and snowboarding."
She said that even though there were small groups, like the Gary Fishers of the world that were already doing stuff like that, it had not yet embedded itself into the fabric of everyday riders or popular culture yet.
“And what these guys were doing in the backwoods of British Columbia disseminated pretty much into just about every aspect of mountain biking, from fashion, what you wore, how bikes are designed, the geometry of bikes, and the bike parks and trails that we ride today are very much free-ride inspired,” said Turenne.
A rising mountain biking group called the Colorowdies, that are now 1,200 members strong, is responsible for bringing the film to Colorado.
"To me, it’s ingrained in our culture, it’s a way of life. Riders flock to Colorado for it, and it is part of us,” said Tony Bentley, president of Colorowdies. “A lot of the guys that started that movement were already big mountain skiers, and snowboarders. They were already doing big lines on the snow, and once one guy did it, it just snowballed from there."
The goal of the Colorowdies is to build friendships among riders, preserve and maintain Colorado's trails, and even lobby for and build new trails.
The money they raise from tickets sales at the screening of "The Moment" on Wednesday night will go back to the biking community. They hope to buy new tools for maintaining and creating trails.
Bentley said there was a special, 25-minute short film shown before the main feature. "This Way Up" tells the story of Andy McKenna's pharma-free face-off with Multiple Sclerosis and his quest for a holistic path to health.
The Colorowdies say they will make a donation to Andy McKenna's Stoked on MS Foundation, with a portion of the funds raised Wednesday.