It’s oh-so-dark-thirty in the morning. It’s cold. You’re on your bike, lights blinking, heading for the bike path that leads to the office. You feel alone. It seems the rest of the world is sipping hot lattes inside their warm cars. Yet somehow, you know you’re the lucky one. Now imagine multiplying that feeling by about 1,000, and you might have some idea what it was like for Mike Dion, a long-time Denver bike commuter and mountain biker, to attempt the 2,700-mile Ride the Divide mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico in 2008. Can’t quite imagine it? Consider yourself extra lucky, as Mike is also a movie producer and documented this epic race—and the human spirit behind it—in his award-winning film, Ride the Divide. (Click here to view the tailer.)
Ride the Divide follows Mike and two of his fellow racers as they face a seemingly endless string of challenges in the world’s most grueling, self-supported mountain bike race. The route traverses the Continental Divide and includes over 200,000 vertical feet of climbing, the equivalent of ascending Mt. Everest from sea level—seven times! Why would someone want to do such a thing? For Mike, the idea stemmed from a different sort of challenge a few years back: being laid off from his corporate job. Though it was an event he describes as feeling totally devastating at the time, he soon realized that “We get in ruts in life. Good job, good paycheck, rinse, repeat. This gave me the opportunity to ask, ‘What else is possible? What else can I do with my life?’ ” For Mike, the answer was pursuing his passion for endurance mountain biking while furthering his career in filmmaking. The result? The adventure of a lifetime and a truly inspiring film.
Ride the Divide premiered in April at the Vail Film Festival where it won Best Adventure Film, and was an official selection at the Newport Beach Film Festival. It played to packed houses in Denver and Boulder last spring, and is still being screened in several cities nationwide. If you missed it and want to find out how Mike’s race turned out, Ride the Divide is available through Amazon, iTunes, and the Documentary Channel, with a portion of proceeds going to LIVESTRONG. It’s also available on the film’s website, www.ridethedividemovie.com.
Bike Hero of the Month Awards highlight different people each month, and help encourage other people to bike by telling the Hero’s personal story. The goal of the Bike Hero Awards Program is to showcase the diversity of citizen-cyclists and the people who support them in Denver.
BikeDenver’s Executive Director Piep van Heuven says: “We introduced the Bike Hero awards because we want to encourage a friendly environment for and public image of bicyclists in Denver. One of the ways we can do this is to showcase the different faces of and great stories about people in our community, like Mike Dion, who ride bikes or help others get out there and ride. Through the Bike Hero awards, BikeDenver honors bicyclists of all ages and walks of life, from the first time bicyclist to the rain or shine bicyclist! We all know people (our neighbors, co-workers, family members or community leaders) who inspire us to reach for the handlebars instead of the car keys. Take a moment to look around you and help BikeDenver recognize the people in our community who are making a difference for Denver, one ride at a time!”
To nominate a Bike Hero, please send a photo and a brief description of why you think they should be recognized (100 words or less) to info(at)bikedenver.org.
We started naming Bike Heroes in January, meet them here!
BikeDenver is Denver’s bicycle advocacy organization. BikeDenver promotes and encourages bicycling in and around Denver and works to make Denver a better place to ride your bike for fun, recreation and transportation. Why? Because it’s healthy for you, and healthy for Denver. www.bikedenver.org
Bicycle Village has been a Colorado owned and operated business for more than 30 years. From modest beginnings in an 1800 square ft. building in West Denver, Bicycle Village has grown into the largest bicycle retailer in the Rockies. www.bicyclevillage.com
You can help make Denver’s streets safer for people like Curtis by becoming a BikeDenver member:Join BikeDenver!