Winter Watching 2023

Winter Watching 2023

16 December, 2023

Once again, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite films from bikepacking races this year to keep those of us in the Northern Hemisphere entertained as we settle in for some short days and long evenings. The list includes a mix of official and independent race documentaries and self-shot films. Take some time to enjoy these films and be transported back to the middle of the season, while possibly even being reinvigorated for next year’s adventures.

All At Once Vignettes - Highland Trail 550

For the second year in a row, the Highland Trail saw an independent film made about a selection of the women in the race using a collation of self-shot footage, race footage and interviews with riders from before and after the race. This year’s film from Catherine Dunn for Alt Film House and Steezy Collective focuses on a selection of women from across the field on their own journeys around the Highlands at the grand depart in May. It’s a snapshot into their experiences with some honest reflections to camera from during the race and drone shots of tiny riders on the wide open vistas of the remote Highlands whilst also leaving enough stories untold to encourage riders to sign up themselves and write their own vignette of the trail.

The Balkans Mirage: A Journey on Wheels - a bikepacking trip in Southeastern Europe

We’ve slightly bent our own rules here as The Balkans Mirage: A Journey on Wheels does not in fact follow a race, it is instead a beautifully filmed Wes Anderson style film of four friends who went bikepacking through Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece. Nicolas Bellavance’s work is a refreshing twist on the ever-popular bikepacking travelogue, we loved the wit and cinematography with which this journey was told as the riders embarked on many climbs, cultural moments, bridges and picturesque camp spots. While there’s nothing competitive about the nature of their riding, it resonates with anyone who simply enjoys bikepacking in beautiful places and therefore we think is worthy of a spot on our list.

Josh Ibbett’s KYRGYZSTAN: Racing the Silk Road Mountain Race

The self-shot genre has bloomed over the past year and has enabled each of us to be transported to within the race itself. Through Josh Ibbett’s GoPro, we’re able to experience the stunning landscapes of Kyrgyzstan while also being in the top 10 at one of the hardest races in the world: an unlikely feat for most of us! Josh’s footage and Ryan Le Garrec’s editing have weaved together a story of passing locals, much hike a bike, ripping descents and the awe-inspiring views of the Tien Shan.

Seven Serpents Film 2023

WE ARE NOT MADE OF SUGAR! Was the key slogan to this film, with many races seeing their wettest editions yet this year the Seven Serpents team documented the affect of torrential rain on utlra-cycling.

With the gravelicious race snaking along the Balkans, it was coupled with their sister race, Quick Bite.

Transcontinental Race No.9 Ultra Cycling Race Film: 3.800 km across Europe in 10 days

Less of a film, more of a documentation of the race itself, Sherry Cardona and her parter Gereon Tewes headed to the TCR this year. This mixed pair finished in the top 20, an impeccable feat over such a long distance.

Sherry shares her highs and lows completely unfiltered, showing just how difficult this mammoth race is. Make sure, if you're ever planning on racing the TCR that you watch this candid documentary of the 2023 edition.

PRAKASA: Perjalanan Ksatria Bentang Jawa 2023

The title "Prakasa" comes from Javanese language, the mother tongue of Javanese people. It means "Strength" or "Toughness", representing the mental battle that Bentang Jawa riders taken as they undertook both the race and the adventure of Bentang Jawa.

This third edition of Bentang Jawa is one of the fastest they've had yet, with world bicycle traveller Boru McCullagh taking to the start line would anyone be able to challenge him to take the crown from Dzaki Wardana.

Pan Celtic Ultra Series 2023 ~We Who Travel~

Every year the team at the Pan Celtic Series create a masterful journey that follows their riders along the race. For the first time, entering mainland Europe, we see the Pan Celtic Ultra competitors battle changing weather conditions and a testing route.

The film tries to capture the essence of ultra-cycling, that the whole picture is more than just the sum of its parts. There are emotional highs and lows, physical trials and mental puzzles to defeat.

Le Coursier | An Albion & Pertex film

Marin de Saint-Exupéry stars in this short film exploring his adventures as 'Le Coursier' which can be translated loosely as both a bicycle messenger and a cyclist.

Marin is a rising star in the ultra-cycling community both for his fast racing and good results, but also for his commitment to no-fly and his down-to-earth approach.

Follow Marin as he camps his way around the world, ready to race the Gravel World Series and ultra-cycling races alike.

Solo bikepacking around the world | MIND MAPPING pt1

Speaking of Boru McCullaugh, the Albion Ambassador travelling the world has compiled some films with Finley Newmark. This is the first installment, which shows how Boru is using his explorative cycling to further explore his relationship with depression.

A great series to watch, with Part 2 up as well.

The Divide

A retrospective entry to the 2023 Winter Watching Series. The Divide is a film with Lachlan Morton for the EF-Easy Post Pro Cycling team with Lachlan taking on the Divide Route.

During his two weeks on the trail, Lachlan felt more scared, more cold, more capable, and more alive than ever.