The documentary film “Le Ride,” featuring former Turlock resident Benjamin Cornell trekking across France with “Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan, will be making a special one-night screening at Regal Turlock Stadium on Thursday.
“Le Ride” follows the pair as they pedaled more than 3,300 miles on antique bicycles as they recreated the course of the 1928 Tour de France race.
The 1928 Tour de France is notable for being the first time an English-speaking team competed in the race. It also was a particularly grueling course that year, with 160 riders starting the race and only 41 riders reaching the finish line.
“I love challenging myself,” Cornell said in an earlier interview with the Journal. “I went into this knowing that I have never ridden as far as we did on a daily basis (150 miles per day) or as long as we did on the longest day (over 200 miles). Making it through was a great accomplishment, but what made it better was doing it alongside a good friend in a beautiful country.”
Cornell will be in town Thursday to attend the 6:30 p.m. showing, which has a little more than 50 tickets still available for purchase.
The documentary “Le Ride” is a tribute to New Zealander Harry Watson, and Australian riders Sir Hubert Opperman, Ernie Bainbridge, and Percy Osborne. They were the first English-speaking riders to compete in the elite race and were cast as the underdogs because they were untested and under-resourced. Some days the team of four would spend 20 hours riding, leading one French journalist to describe their attempt as “nothing short of murder.”
“The tour was hell on wheels,” Keoghan said in a news release. “The roads were all unsealed and Harry and his co-riders were the talk of the competition. Harry was a champion, yet very few people in New Zealand know about his remarkable story.”
Cornell and Keoghan set out to follow the 1928 race course as closely as possible in 2013. The goal was to recreate the experience of the four riders by doing the course on 1928 steel bicycles and donning the authentic garb of the riders for the time.
“The brakes were barely operable,” Cornell said. “They helped slow us down, but not very well. My right shoe has a lot of wear from rubbing it against the road to help slow me down. The bikes were one speeds without any shifters.”
The two men completed the journey of 3,338 miles in the same time as the original race of 26 days.
“Le Ride” was screened at the SXSW festival and was the second highest grossing film at the New Zealand Film Festival. It was the opening film of the Louisville International Film Festival, where it claimed the Festival Favorite Award.
To purchase tickets to the Turlock showing visit https://tickets.demand.film/event/2526.