We asked Matthew Clark, the filmmaker behind Pasion de Grava: Colombia, to reflect on his time in Colombia and moments that stood out. Below he shares a few behind-the-scene stories via three photographs and a little bit of background for each of them. Please enjoy and don’t forget to watch and share the video with your friends!
On day four, the riders had climbed some of the highest points of the trip. We saw very few people outside of farmers tending to their fields. Low-lying clouds hung to the mountains that surrounded us as far as the eye could see. After layering up with clothes, the three started the long and winding descent to the valley floor. About a third of the way down they stopped to chat to a woman and her two young sons. Their small cabin clung to the edge of a cliff, the only home that we had come across for sometime. The interaction was in Spanish, a simple conversation with a local who was curious about the riders’ journey. I couldn't help but focus on the younger of the two boys, no more than three years of age, turning the pedals over on Mauricio’s bike. You could see in his eyes that he was excited to see the shiny new bike. His mind seemed to dart with joy at the possibilities of where it could take him when he was old enough. Like many young Colombian children, he seemed to dream of all the places a bicycle like Mauricio’s could take him.
No more than an hour into the first day of riding, still on the outskirts of Medellin, we could see something peculiar in the distance. As we approached we could see a man on his motorcycle towing three horses by hand as he made his way from his farm into the closest town. For most Westerners, this was a scene unlike any you would see at home. To Colombians it was nothing out of the ordinary, just a man and his horses getting where they needed to go.
We sat in a familiar scene on day three, atop a climb in a small plaza, in a small village sipping on an ice-cold pop in the shade of a big old palm tree. The day had been hot and humid and the riders were resting for the final descent to accommodations for that night. A small, elderly man into his sixties wandered over, wheeling his bike, a big smile on his face. He introduced himself as Herman and asked our day's ride, where we had come from and why we had a gringo with us filming. As we explained our project, he began to passionately discuss his long history on two wheels, how he had been riding for close to 50 years and his love of the region and its endless climbing.
Herman’s eyes lit up as he shared his racing past, his wins and podiums at local races like they were the Tour de France. He mentioned that he didn't know where his life would have taken him without the bike. The passion he had for cycling flowed through his veins and would stay with him until his final days. This encounter stuck with me. It showed how much the simple act of pedaling a bike can mean to someone and how even though we come from such different backgrounds, we find common ground in the love of two wheels.
Matthew Clark of Stirl and Rae Media Haus, an Australian based out of British Columbia, Canada, is the filmmaker behind Pasion de Grava: Colombia. He has traveled the world as an endurance athlete and storyteller with a passion for showing the beauty and power of how the bicycle connects and unites people.
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