In Hollywood the saying goes 'art is only a reflection of life' each time the far right blames them for soiling our minds with sex and violence. Well if that's so, then why are there so few movies about cross country mountain biking? As exciting as freeride movies can be, most of us mountain bikers ride good old cross country style, yet this is so rarely depicted on film.
Until Gripped Films came along with it's first movie Off Road to Athens (ORTA) the only video you could expect to see from a cross country riding point of view were grainy helmet cam shots posted on YouTube of some dude's ass riding in front of the 'director.'
Jason Berry is one of the founders of Gripped Films and directed Off Road to Athens, a movie about the top American professional mountain bikers and their race to claim a slot on the U.S. Olympic team. The documentary style film gave mountain bike enthusiasts a rare insight into the heroes of the mountain bike world. Suddenly the riders many of us have read about on blogs and in bike magazines were depicted on film in a very real and personal way.
Berry is putting the finishing touches on a new movie titled 24 Solo to debut at the upcoming Sea Otter Classic cycling festival. While ORTA gave us some insight into the lives of several different riders, 24 Solo aims deeper with focus on a single rider, Chris Eatough, and his drive toward a seventh 24 hour race world championship. Eatough is essentially the Lance Armstrong of endurance mountain biking, yet I fear that he is not a household name save for the most ardent racing enthusiasts.
And that is exactly why this movie had to be made.
I thought it would be worth while to catch up with Jason Berry and get some insight into the inspiration for these movies and maybe stir some love for the cross country side of our sport: