Showing posts with label mountain biking movie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mountain biking movie. Show all posts

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Mountain-Bike Passage Through India - by Patty Mooney

Monk on Yak, Gangtok, IndiaImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr The doors to India were many: continual flights and airport waits, customs lines, and sleep deprivation. It took two days of travel through invisible time lines to reach the smudgy netherworld of New Delhi at 3 in the morning.

Many people were out on the streets, like it was the most natural thing to be up and about at that time of night. I figured with a population of eight and a half million, Delhi was a city that never slept.

The air was filled with a scent of burning cow dung laced with incense. As Mark, Marco and I wheeled two big carts of luggage and video equipment – 900 pounds of it – a cavalcade of cabbies and street urchins who wanted to assist with our bags accosted us.

“I help you!”

“No, I help you!”

“No, me!”

“Thanks anyway,” we told them as we rolled the massive carts ourselves toward our waiting bus.

Two dark-eyed, dirty-faced boys began to fight each other, trying to commandeer our carts.

“No, thank you,” Mark said with a finality that scattered the boys, sending them back to the airport for other potential work.

The other members of our tour group were hauled away on a bus. A second bus for the video crew and our baggage awaited us. We stowed our belongings aboard, and then climbed on. The bus belched forward. I settled back into my seat, too tired to dwell on the honor of having an entire bus to the three of us plus the driver and his assistant.

The bus zoomed along, joining a highway with heavy traffic. Through the smeared bus windows, we saw cyclists weaving in and out of thick traffic. The handmade steel-framed bikes were a far cry from our neon hybrid-metal ones.

As we slowed to a crawl, I wondered at the practicality of driving to a hotel an hour away for two hours of sleep, after which we would turn around and then return to the airport.


You can find the story in its entirety at Mountain Bike Tales.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

"The Wrestler" - A Film Reflection by Patty Mooney

Mickey Rourke is most of the most fascinating actors out there to me, because he's a former pretty boy who went into boxing and had his face beaten up almost beyond recognition. Thus, he was perfectly cast for his role as Randy "The Ram" Robinson in "The Wrestler," a washed-up guy who in 1989, performed at Madison Square Garden and now, 20 years later, is lucky to play to an audience in a venue the size of your local Elks Lodge. He can barely scrape his rent together and is locked out of his trailer by an annoyed landlord; and yet he spends the money from his latest fight on performance enhancement drugs, a hair bleaching treatment and a tanning session. Some of that money is also tagged for Pam (Marisa Tomei) who plays an aging stripper. You see these two "seasoned" characters continuing to milk jobs that are best suited for younger people, and yet they both cling to their roles, knowing that if they let go, they will fall and there will be no stunt mattress to fall on.

Then the Ram is involved in a bloody match involving barbed wire, metal folding chairs, insect spray and a staple gun, which nearly sends him to the grave. He suffers a heart attack, wakes up in the Intensive Care Unit after bypass surgery, and the doctor gives him the dreaded news. Another match could Slam the Ram for good.

The Ram has a daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) whom he shunned during her entire childhood, when his career was soaring. Now, as he faces his own mortality, he tries to patch up the relationship and it's looking positive until he goes on a tequila bender and has a one-night stand with a wide-eyed, large-breasted blonde on the same night he had promised his daughter he would take her to dinner.

Out in the "real world" beyond the wrestling arenas, The Ram is just another guy trying to find work to pay the rent and buy an occasional lap dance from Pam whom he loves. But she has crossed the forbidden line between "customer and stripper" and is now confused about what she really wants from The Ram.

You are constantly rooting for The Ram, knowing that a come-back is his only salvation, and yet it could be the end of him. Out there on stage, it's his "true family" of wrestlers and fans who have sustained him this long. He's in constant pain, his daughter despises him, the woman he loves is an apparition. He's a haunted man. And when you treat yourself to seeing this movie, he will haunt you, too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

After the Fall - by Patty Mooney

I don't know if I have mentioned before that I write articles for an online ezine called Mountain Bike Tales. Here is the latest story appearing in their June/July issue:

My husband, Mark, and I first met on Valentine’s Day in 1982. We have been on quite a few adventures, including a grizzly attack in the Yukon, a shark feeding frenzy at the Great Barrier Reef, and in 1993 we produced “Full Cycle: A World Odyssey,” a multiple-award-winning documentary – the first-ever “reality show,” if you will, in which we rode the most amazing trails of nine different countries on our mountain bikes. In a way, it was the “endless summer” of mountain biking.

You’d think that someone who lived life “on the edge” would always be engaged in some new and exciting adventure. But in January of 1996 I had come to a point when I felt sad about the condition of our planet, and my part in it. I was distracted from living in the moment. I felt I’d lost the ambition that I’d had at the age of nineteen when I hitchhiked from Detroit to California to begin my life. Now, a lifetime away from that passionate girl, at the age of forty, in my darkest moments it seemed I had seen everything, done it all. What more could life offer me?

Then one Saturday morning Mark and I awoke early for a special ride with some friends at the site of an old abandoned railway known as Carrizo Gorge. All along the trail, the views are spectacular. You can gaze for miles at the ranges of high-desert mountains covered in sage and cacti. A stream meanders 400 feet in the gorge below. These features attract mountain bikers and hikers who use a single-track trail alongside the train track. Sporadically you come upon sections where the trail falls away, but by then you should be on the train track continuing on.

It was a gorgeous day, bright and hot with a blue sky and some stratus clouds to decorate the view. We biked the trail for about 20 miles to a flat desert area near Dos Cabezas where we had lunch. Then we started the 4% grade back up to our cars. As the miles mounted, the heat and exertion began to take their toll. My friend, Lisa, brushed her hand into a cactus and had to pluck out about four of the barbed needles. Lisa’s housemate, John, flipped over on his bike and ended up with a piece of cholla (jumping cactus) imbedded in his arm. But all that was nothing compared to what lay ahead...

With about six miles left to go, I was getting tired and distracted. I turned to say something to Mark, who was riding behind me. When I turned forward, I suddenly became aware of my surroundings. The trail had narrowed to almost nothing and there was only about a foot between the track and the cliff’s edge. I stopped, intending to step onto the train track, but the bike and my weight both tipped me to the right. Unable to recapture my balance, I took a long step off the sheer cliff.

I felt the bike separate from my body. I tumbled and tossed, protecting my face and head with my arms and took a jolt on the front of my helmet. My life did not flash in front of my eyes – only the thought that I had to make myself stop falling immediately. My legs hit some sharp rocks, precipitating the need for stitches later. Then I landed flat on my butt, on a ledge, jarred awake, gazing down at my bike bouncing 400 feet into the ravine below.

I thought: “I’m alive!” “I could have died!” “I almost lost it all!” Then Mark was there at my side. He kissed me immediately, looking into my eyes.

“Are you okay?” he asked, testing my limbs. “Any broken bones?”

“No.” I knew nothing was broken, just scraped and gouged. Boy, was I lucky.

Then, pointing back down into the gorge, I shouted, “My bike!” Mark knew I was okay then.

“I’ll go get it,” he said, shoving me back against the rock. “You stay here.”

He made his way down to the bottom, as Lisa and John helped me climb back up the cliff. I felt a little woozy, noticing with a sick feeling how much blood there was on my legs, particularly a gouge in the left inner knee. I knew that if I wasn’t careful, I could topple backwards and really get hurt. Finally, back up and safely away from the cliff, I looked down to see Mark carrying my twenty-five pound neon-orange Klein “Attitude” back up the four hundred feet.

I began hysterically crying, repeating “Oh my God! Oh my God!” I couldn’t shake the vision of having taken that endless step into space. That same moment kept haunting me, because I realized immediately I had almost died. “Can you ride back to the car, Patty?” Lisa gently asked.
“Yes,” I said. I raised Mark’s bike off the ground where he had dropped it before leaping down to my side. I straddled it. I was afraid to ride, but I began. Lisa rode behind me, trying her best to stave my ranting “Oh my God!” The whole scene kept replaying like a looped video.

“Breathe deep, Pat,” Lisa said. “Breathe deep.”

I did. With Lisa’s guidance, I rode Mark’s bike the six miles back to the car, keeping well away from the edge of the cliff. Filled with guilt, I kept thinking that Mark had to carry the bike all the way back to the car, six miles of torture.

In his haste to get me to the hospital, Mark jogged back to the car with the bike on his back. I was so glad to see him! He packed the badly-broken bike and me into our car, bid goodbye to Lisa and John, then raced back to San Diego to the hospital. As we sailed down the road, a plainclothes cop drove alongside us briefly, and flashed his badge, as though he wanted us to pull over. Then, when he noticed my bloody legs up on the dashboard, he quickly fell away. We made it to the hospital in 45 minutes, where being drenched in your own blood gives you priority over everyone else in Emergency. It took four hours to get stitches and x-rays. They found no broken bones, which was another lucky thing. Now looking back at the entire ordeal, I marvel at all the ways Mark showed me he loved me.

What lessons did I learn? First and foremost, enjoy life. But enjoy it now. You don’t know what awaits you around the next bend. Appreciate what you’ve got. Sometimes you act like you don’t know what you’ve got until a fateful moment almost takes it all away.

As soon as the stitches came out, I jumped back on my bike again. I even returned to the gorge the following year, and then several times after that, where I would look down that sheer rocky cliff at the ledge upon which I had landed; it looked so small and insignificant. A friend would later refer to it as the “Hand of God.” I’m not what you’d call a religious woman, but each time I saw that rock, I’d whisper a little “thank you” – what some might call a prayer.

Patty Mooney has been riding a bicycle since she was seven years old. In 1986, she and her husband, Mark Schulze, discovered the sport of mountain biking while traveling through Canada where a mountain was rated by the amount of headers one was liable to experience while riding down it. Both Mooney and Schulze were hooked and bought a couple of Alpina Sport mountain bikes to ride the local San Diego trails. They married in the mountains on their mountain bikes, then began racing. And then it occurred to the video production duo to begin producing how-to mountain bike videos which were the first of the genre. To learn more about their classic mtb titles, go to New Unique Videos.

Friday, January 30, 2009

"Klunkerz" - The Evolution of Mountain Biking - Photos and Story by Patty Mooney

Charles "CK" Kelly, Billy Savage, Gary Fisher & Mark Schulze

This turned out to be a great day. Mark and I took off early from work and traveled north to the sleepy surf town known as Encinitas where "Klunkerz" was showing at noon, at La Paloma Theater. Now coincidentally enough, Mark and I met each other while standing on the balcony inside that theater, on Valentine's Day 27 years ago. So everything about our experience there today was magical.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we spotted Charles "CK" Kelly and Gary Fisher getting out of their car, and we indulged in a major hug fest. The last time we saw these guys was in 1994 when we were producing "Full Cycle: A World Odyssey," and videotaped interviews and a ride with them at Mt. Tamalpais, where mountain biking first began. These are the guys who played a major role in pioneering the sport.

CK and Gary introduced us to Billy Savage, the man who produced "Klunkerz." We all hung out in front of the theater for a while, and then filed in to view the show. It really was a nicely made piece all about how the sport of mountain biking started, and the evolution of the mountain bike itself. It was cool to be sitting next to Gary Fisher as we all watched; his interviews pretty much dominate the show, as he has some pithy points to make.

Afterward, we all headed next door into a conveniently located saloon featuring some tasty beers on tap (including CK's choice, "Fat Tire Ale.") And you know, that is what mountain biking is all about... You ride your heart and soul out on those amazing trails that lead up, down and around the luscious thighs of Mother Nature, and afterward, it's time to share an ice cold beer with some excellent friends. Makes life worth living!