This film was released in 2007 and I picked up the DVD a few years ago, and have watched it a few times since. Been awhile since I fired it up, so did so last night, partly in celebration of competing in my first ever 24 hour gig a few weekends ago. Of course that was a team deal, not slogging though 24 hours alone. Watching the solo competitors during my race also sparked me to watch 24 Solo once again. Anyone who races a 24 hour event solo is pretty hardcore. The folks in this film are the top end of those folks. Hardcore indeed.
The film follows Chris Eatough - pronounced "Eat-Off", as mentioned during a running gag thoughout the film - in a quest for his 7th consecutive 24 hour world title. Eatough is sort of the Lance Armstrong of the 24 hour racing world. Film documents the 2006 race that took place in Georgia, I think on the same course as the Olympic mountain bike event (don't quote me on that). Eatough is the favorite to win, and the film shows him training and during a few other events, along with his support crew. They all seem to be super cool, normal, and hardworking folks. Besides earning a paycheck doing something most people can't even comprehend.
The title deciding race turns out to be pretty dramatic, with it all coming down to very end, Australian dude Craig Gordon literally riding himself into the hospital for the win. Sorry to ruin the ending, but hey, this film is four years old now. Watching Gordon and Eatough battle in the early hours of the race is impressive, looking like a world cup XC event, not a 24 hour race. Watching Gordon's body shutting down on the last lap is scary and amazing that you can even push yourself that far. Wound up on dialysis after the race, his blood somehow poisoned via protein released during the intense effort. Crazy town. No thanks.
Another thing that struck me, is how crushed Eatough and crew are by coming in second place. You can see how driven to succeed and having bagged six in a row, probably expected to win. In the end though, comes across as the complete gentleman sportsman - no excuses - and later thinks this may have been his most important race, since he did lose.
This is a well done film, cool photography included. With the countless downhill/freeride oriented films out there, having a film that focuses on XC racing is fantastic - especially for the old school XC fan like me. A great film and worth picking up the DVD. Give it a go.