Reflections from Godspeed: The Race Across America

"Disclaimer: I received access to a special viewing of "Godspeed: The Race Across America" to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

 Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper. Photo by RAAM

Jerry Schemmel and Brad Cooper. Photo by RAAM

What does a documentary about two cyclists, trekking across the US in a 3000+ mile race say to non-cyclists? Lots. Godspeed: The Race Across America spoke volumes to me and I don't own a bike. The movie taught me how important camaraderie, teamwork and family are when it comes to competing. 

What exactly is The Race Across America? The Race Across America (RAAM) is one of the longest-running ultra-endurance events in the world and is celebrating its 36th year. It starts in California and finishes in Maryland. That’s over 3000 feet of crossing 12 states. The elevation gain is brutal with travels over America’s three major mountain ranges (Appalachian, Rock and Sierra.) This might be one of the most challenging cycling races in the world but it doesn’t happen to no avail. Racers raise on average over $2 million per year for charities of their choice. Racers can complete solo or in teams and have to finish the race in a set number of days. Learn more about the race and its history: http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/about.html

As a BibRave Pro, I was able to view an early release of the Godspeed. The most important takeaway from watching the documentary is racing really isn't all about the competitor. This is what the movie taught me:

 Brad and Jerry.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Brad and Jerry.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Camaraderie 

When signing up for RAAM, you could choose to run alone, in a pair, team of 4 or team of 8. Godspeed followed the journey of sportscaster/ultra-cyclist Jerry Schemmel and IronMan/CEO Brad Cooper in their 2-person team. It was incredible to watch the trust these men had for each other. Just weeks before the race, Brad was injured in a terrible bicycle crash. Jerry was concerned but still had hope for his partner. There were times where weather went from extreme heat to pouring rain and a detour that took them in the wrong direction. Still, these men were there for each other. At night they alternated four-hour shifts so the other could try to sleep. They not only had a common goal of winning the race but also to raise money to build an orphanage in Haiti through their team, Team Enduring Hope. You’ll have to watch to movie to see what they placed in the race. They did end up raising $50k for their charity. 

 The Crew. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

The Crew. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Teamwork

When I race I usually race alone and don’t rely on aid stations, I prefer to carry all of my fuel and water. Would I perform better with a team? Heck yes, I would. I was blown away by the support staff Jerry and Brad had along their entire race. There is so much that goes behind the scenes to keep Jerry and Brad on the road. They had an up to 20-person support crew that included a crew chief, safety experts, doctors, navigators, drivers, bike mechanics and nutritionists. During one white-knuckle scene, a back wheel needed to be replaced on a cycle. But where was it? This is where their team was needed to backtrack and find that wheel somewhere on the side of the road with hopes it wasn’t damaged. The team was there for every moment. There was one moment where they delivered fuel during a quick pass from the side of the road. The bike never stopped! 

 Jerry's wife & son. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Jerry's wife & son. Photo by Ryan Schemmel

 Brad's children.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Brad's children.  Photo by Ryan Schemmel

Family

I teared up quite a few times during the documentary. Each time was during the scenes where Jerry and Brad’s family came into the picture. Both of these men had major support from their wives and children. Brad’s three children and Jerry’s daughter were with them at the starting point of the race, riding in the support vehicles. There was an emotional moment where Jerry’s wife Diane and son Ryan were waiting for him with a sign. The tremendous support from both their families made me realize not to take for granted the support my husband and son give to me during my running journey. 

Go see the film!

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but if you want to watch a motivating and inspirational movie about two men working together with the help from their families and crew to ride the race of their dreams, then please watch Godspeed: The Race Across America on May 22 in theaters nationwide. Tickets are available at Fathom Events