Battle Mountain follows Scottish cycling legend, double world hour record holder and world 4k pursuit champion Graeme Obree on his quest to challenge for the world land speed record at Battle Mountain in Nevada in 2013, cycling the bike that he built in his kitchen, his tools of choice being his mind, hands and eyes in preparation for his race against teams employing the latest computer simulation technology and world leading aerodynamics experts.
However, Battle Mountain is a film which is about so much more than cycling. Director David Street has captured something quite remarkable as Obree prepares himself for his quest to ready and race at Battle Mountain.
From building his latest hand built machine, named by Sir Chris Hoy M.B.E. “The Beastie”, in his small one bedroom flat in Saltcoats, Scotland using mostly recycled materials, to his rudimentary analysis of physics, biomechanics and aerodynamics using nothing more than his mind and imagination, Obree is a purist in the strongest sense placing absolute trust in his intellectual prowess to provide the optimum solution to overcoming the challenges posed by Mother Nature when riding a bike. No wind tunnels, no computer simulations to determine the optimum performance parameters, the Beastie is designed with one purpose in mind – to go fast, terrifyingly fast, with the rider lying prone, head first- face forward! Where the other riders competing at Battle Mountain are wired into world leading computer technology, Obree faces the challenge single-mindedly and with total belief in the powers of his mind and body.
‘Battle Mountain Graeme Obree’s Story’ offers a profound study as the mind and personality of a modern day maverick, a man who defies categorisation, and a personality who is already iconic in the world of cycling. Who can forget Obree when he exploded onto the world scene in 1993 with a seemingly impossible but utterly audacious ride to claim The World Hour Record, riding the bike he hand-built using parts scavenged from his household washing machine. Obree went onto christen that bike “Old faithful” a bike which is now recognised as an icon of the sport. Can the 47 year old Obree follow suit and claim another World Record on board The Beastie? The feature documentary charters the life of a highly complex personality who is utterly fearless in the face of challenge. And challenge comes almost on a daily basis for Obree. Not the tough of the track, not Obree vs. Boardman nor Obree vs. Moser: no, not even the challenge of Obree vs. Cycling’s governing body the UCI or a professional peloton with a preference for performance enhancement. No, the biggest challenge of all comes in the shape of Obree himself. Battle Mountain gets inside the mind of an incredible human being as he fights to determine his existential pathway. Will his determination be enough to enable Obree to reach his goal and challenge for the World Land Speed Record.
From the roads of Ayrshire to the runways of both Macrihanish and Glasgow Prestwick Airports David Street has captured a film which is up close and personal in the very best sense of the meaning. Battle Mountain follows Obree as he faces up to challenge after challenge, some seeming almost insurmountable as his date with destiny at Battle Mountain, Nevada US looms.
It’s a great story and we highly reccomend giving it a watch. It’s available to rent now on Vimeo