This month’s bike art exhibit at Boulder’s Dairy Center for the Arts will wrap up with a film about an event that’s been called the toughest bike race on the planet.
“Bicycle Dreams” follows a handful of the solo racers in the Race Across America (RAAM), a coast-to-coast epic that the winner usually completes in just over eight days. The film will show in the Dairy’s performance space; the bike art exhibit will be up through Monday — the Dairy has extended the exhibit due to popular demand, said spokeswoman Michelle Dyson.
“It’s spectacular, there’s truly nothing like it,” Fred Boethling said of the race. Boethling went from being a participant in the race, both on a relay team and solo, to owning it — he’s now RAAM’s CEO and president.
“The thing is, people from all over the world come to do this race,” he said. “This year, we’ll have racers from China, Thailand, New Zealand, every country in Europe.”
Though 85 percent of participants in the race are on teams, Boethling said, the film covers the solo race in 2005.
“As soon as I started doing some research, I became enthralled with the themes of superhuman effort and intense suffering,” said Stephen Auerbach, producer and director of “Bicycle Dreams.”
“I got to know people who had done the race,” Auerbach said. “I watched footage of them — there are no films — and they were on their bikes like 50 to 60 hours without sleeping.”
The race starts in Oceanside, Calif., every year. When Auerbach (and others on his crew) filmed the race in 2005, he stopped in Colorado to talk to Slovenian racer Jure Robic. It’s one of his favorite moments from the film.
Robic hadn’t slept yet, Auerbach said.
“He stopped and tried to sleep for two hours, and he couldn’t — that happens to a lot of the guys,” he said. “He’s 56 hours in, he’s in the Rockies, looking at the mountains, and he can’t sleep.”
“The cameraman says, ‘when are you going to sleep?’” Auerbach said. “And he says, ‘today, when I finish my job.’”
It seems subtle, he said, but he loved that Robic said that.
“This guy, it was his self-appointed job to ride 70 hours on a bicycle,” he said. “Are you going to do the job that was given to you, or the job that you were destined to do?”
Boethling, who lives in Boulder and moved the race’s headquarters here when he bought it, will be at the Dairy to answer questions about the race after the film. He said that when the theater has allowed it, people have stayed for up to an hour to ask questions about the race.
What: “Bicycle Dreams”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday
Where: Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St.
Cost: $12 in advance, $16 at the door
“Once you race that race, you really become captivated by it,” he said. The solo race is an extremely difficult race. While it’s difficult and you’re suffering, by the time you’ve raced 3,000 miles and you’re coming to the finish line, you’re thinking, ‘oh, I know I could do this faster.’”
“You get hooked on the race,” Boethling said. “It’s just this incredible sense of joy and satisfaction you get with finishing the thing.”