The 38-minute documentary, The Cannonball Ride, is now FREE and available on Amazon Video Direct (https://www.amazon.com/v/longbeachfilmcompany). The film follows a group of amateur cyclists as they attempt to compete in the world’s most difficult bicycle race - the Race Across America (RAAM).
Directed by Vern Moen and produced by Kyle Gilbertson, Mark DeNatale, and Jeff Caulway, the film follows the 4 racers (and their hodgepodge team) as they prepare for the race, and then set off on the grueling 3000 nonstop miles across America. “I think what most people don’t realize at first, and I was one of them, is that this race is literally nonstop across America”, says Vern.
Since it’s inception in 1982, the deadly Race Across America is considered the toughest bicycle race of any kind, in the world, having no stages and being 1000 miles longer than the Tour De France in less than a third of the time. It’s raced as 4-man teams, 2-man, and solo riders. The Cannonball Ride features Team BC+1 - a four man team of Boston College friends Mark DeNatale, Jeff Caulway, Matt Puomo, and Bob Willix, all avid but amateur cyclists in their late 40’s, who have long dreamt of competing in RAAM.
The film was captured by Vern and (Camera Operator) Miah Idema as they followed (er, chased) the riders in a rented minivan. “We quickly realized that it was going to be nonstop for us as well; that we would be driving a minivan across America at 30 miles per hour for 6 days”, recalls Vern. Just finding the racers along the course, which is not blocked off from regular traffic, has it’s own logistical issues; “We’d sleep on the side of the route, in our minivan, only to wake up not knowing if the racers had passed us or not; do we go left or right??”
The Cannonball Ride is a raw (but family friendly) look into the obstacles, logistics, drama, scenery, and camaraderie of undertaking such a huge endeavor. Broken bikes, injuries, exhaustion, rouge wildlife, allergic reactions, senior citizens, and a pesky RV door that won’t close are all part of the adventure. In addition to the physical aspects of the race, the film spends time looking at the various volunteers behind the racers (all characters of their own), their reasons for participating, and most importantly showing what goals can be accomplished through proper preparation.
“It’s a real opportunity for the kids to see if you set a goal, and you do proper preparation for it, you can achieve your dreams.” - Mark DeNatale