Beautifully shot as always, the new Rapha film 'Nowhere to Nowhere sets the pace, buzz and excitement of the race, against what we don't see of the pros on tour - the endless hours resting in hotel rooms, waiting for the next stage to happen - cleaning one's helmet just to pass the time.
As Tom Southam writes for Rapha:
Many people dream of being a rock star, and how it will feel to be in those amazing moments, when the crowd is calling your name and it feels like the world gets to take a glimpse at you at your very best. But I supposed, when you actually do these things the carousel of life isn’t only about these moments but instead is made up mostly of the time in-between.
For a performer the show – much like a race – is the final product. Two hours on stage still leaves twenty-two hours of day to fill with all of the rest of the things that have to happen to make that show possible: eating, travelling, sleeping, and rehearsing. The awkward gaps, and the long weary silences listening to the hum of a van engine and the empty quiet found lying on a bed in a hotel room mid way through the afternoon.
Andrew Telling, the filmmaker told us: “I wanted to create an intimate portrait of the riders without interfering in their routine, to create something fluid that allowed the viewer a glimpse into their world without getting too close.”
“What was amazing to me was that even off the bike, they maintain a great sense of discipline. They have different rituals and routines to conserve their energy for the race, but also patiently battle with the boredom that comes with the waiting."
Here's Tom again:
In these places time can seem to stop being linear, seeming instead to expand and contract depending on proximity to the next performance. Each night the main event shoots on by and time slips away towards the next show from the moment that the previous one finishes.
It is not that the highs of performance are only undercut with the isolation of the road; the hours are also distorted by the concentration that it takes to be able to perform at ones best night after night. In hotels between events the world soon becomes a blur, as the focus it takes consumes the performer. In these hours they might do their best to forget, but for musicians and cyclists alike – the anxiety of performance bites at the nails of relaxation.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.