I Just Want To Ride (Film)
I Just Want to Ride is now live and available to watch! This 38-minute film was shot during the 2019 Tour Divide race and beautifully captures the spirit of the race, it’s participants, places along the route, and Lael Wilcox’s unique ride. Watch it here and read an interview with the filmmaker…
The 2019 Tour Divide was set to be truly unique race as Lael Wilcox attempted to be the first woman to win overall. Directed by Rue Kaladyte and filmed by Rue and Jay Ritchey, I Just Want to Ride follows Lael and other riders along the most notable bikepacking route in the world. It tells the story behind Lael’s ambitious attempt and why she had to put records aside to embrace the true meaning of the ride. Watch the film below, then scroll down to find photos and an interview with the filmmaker…
Get out, ride somewhere that means something to you. Put a sleeping bag on your bike. Go sleep out for the night. Ride back to your house the next day… I think you’ll probably like it. But if you don’t, don’t do it again.
Interview with Rugile Kaladyte
What did you have in mind for a concept when you set out to make a film about Lael on the 2019 Tour Divide?
Primarily, we wanted to share the beauty of the route. It’s one of Lael’s favorite routes in the world. I’d never seen the Great Divide and was eager to capture it.
In addition, during Lael’s two record-breaking rides in 2015, she didn’t have any media. The photographer on route that year during the Grand Depart has refused us access to the photos he took of Lael. This is very discouraging for Lael. Even with great results, she doesn’t have the ability to share her story with visuals. We wanted to share her story.
How did that change once you started filming?
It changed before we even started filming. We got the media project approved by Matthew Lee half a year before the race started. We made a budget and a proposal and got PEARL iZUMi, Wahoo, Revelate Designs, and Ergon on board. The concept for the media project was two shorter films about preparation and gear, a longer piece about the race for film festivals, and live race reports.
Two weeks before the 2019 Tour Divide, right after Lael raced the DKXL and we premiered the preparation video at the Women’s Forum at Dirty Kanza, there was resistance to the film and any media on the Tour Divide Discussion Facebook group. There was also concern about me being out on the route because of the visitation rule. To address these concerns, we explained that the media car would be on the route as little as possible. We borrowed e-bikes from Specialized Boulder to document the race for 18 days. I took on the role of director and trusted Jay Ritchey and Spencer Harding to shoot video and stills of Lael to ensure I wouldn’t see or interact with Lael. Every member of the media crew wore SPOT trackers at all times and our movements were monitored by the race director. The race director also suggested that Lael not use her phone during the race, so she wouldn’t be in touch with loved ones, check the tracker, or get any other advantages that a phone provides. We received personal messages criticizing what we were doing, even with all the precautions we were taking. This was incredibly stressful for film and race preparation.
The intention never changed from telling a positive story. Despite the setbacks, I think we still achieved that. Lael loves riding her bike. I love shooting. We’re working together to pursue our passions and share those stories.
Tell us a little about the team and what each person was responsible for.
I shot and edited the three films. Jay and Spencer were there for the Tour Divide. Spencer was responsible for stills and Jay was a second shooter.
What equipment did you carry between the team?
We used my personal vehicle, a Subaru Outback, and two Specialized Kenevo e-bikes. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV, Spencer shoots with a Nikon D600, and Jay has a Panasonic GH5. We also had Mavic Pro 2 drone and a handheld stabilizer.
Obviously, the weather changed the plans of many racers; did it change yours as well?
Yes, we were all stuck at Brush Mountain Lodge for two days in a snowstorm. It snowed 30 inches on the summer solstice. I separated myself from the scene to avoid interactions with Lael. Prior to the snowstorm, we had spent every day tracking riders and setting up shots and documenting the race. At Brush Mountain Lodge, Spencer and Jay gathered content from a single building and a muddy road.
After Lael scratched, I was able to shoot her. The story changed, but we were still driven to produce a positive and inspiring film.
Were there any big challenges you weren’t expecting along the way or during the editing process?
Yes, the incredible amount of footage. Between me and Jay, we had two sets of 18 days worth of footage. The time and energy to import, back up, sift through, and make a cohesive story was the biggest challenge for me. We went to Kyrgyzstan shortly after the Tour Divide to get a mental reset. I started working on “I Just Want To Ride” in September. We’ve had nine soft screenings of the film all over the country. While these were great events, it made sitting down and editing for extended periods of time a challenge. After so much work, I’m thrilled to get this story out there.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
First, I’d like to thank Lael for trusting me with her story. I’d like to thank Jay and Spencer, without them, even wrapping my head around the logistics of documenting the Tour Divide would not have been possible. I’d like to thank PEARL iZUMi, Revelate Designs, Wahoo, and Ergon, the companies that believe this story has value and supported us. I had the honor of working with Lael’s brother, James Wilcox, on music. It definitely sets the energy for the piece.