The Hard Road is a documentary that focuses on a first year pro-cycling team in the United States. While each member (of the eight on the team) comes from a different background, they fight for a common goal. The Hard Road allows the viewer to see what it's like in the lives of a professional cyclist, from the hardships to the successes. The team members come to know what effort, hardwork and drive really are.
Release Year: 2004
For more information, view its pages at the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes or purchase it from Amazon.
- Anxiety: After traveling to one of the National Calendar Races, the team worked out the strategy for race day. After getting back to hotel for sleep, one of the team members commented that there was no way he was going to be able to sleep. The following morning, he talked about how much he worried and thought about the race. He clearly showed some anxiety about his role on the team which in return could hinder his performance.
- Career Issues: To some, pro-cycling sounds like it would pay well. However, the average first year salary is only $10,000. A rookie on the team commutes to work (via his bicycle) 25 miles so he can get some sort of training in. He works 12 hour shifts M-F. It's difficult to support yourself and manage your time especially when there are seven other people relying on you. Another rookie, is supported by his older brother (whom he lives with when the team isn't on the road). His brother supported him because he knew the salary of a pro-cycling team wasn't enough and he wanted to give him the chance at chasing his dream.
- Focus: When you're riding alone or with a team, a certain level of concentration must always be maintained. The rider must know their role and position during that race. Even when oxygen levels go down and it becomes very grueling, you still need to know what's going on around you. If you aren't aware of the riders around you then you could get "spit out the back" of the pack of riders and be instantly put behind everybody. This was clearly shown in the video during one of the National Calendar Races. This would obviously put the team's success at stake as well as the position of the rider on that team. One of the veterans on the team commented on the sport of cycling itself, saying that the cyclist needs to think about a race intellectually, instead of the pain involved.
- Going for your Dream: The six rookies who made up the majority of the eight person team finally had their chance to live their dream. Yes, they were put on the team but they literally went down a hard road to get there and they continue to go down that "Hard Road" throughout the video. One of the rookies, Jason, spent his younger years as a professional surfer and decided his time was up when he became passionate about cycling... now he's pursuing this new dream of pro-cycling.
- Leadership: The veterans on the team are clearly playing leadership roles during the races. "Experience" itself is a key piece to racing and this is talked about throughout the entire video. One of the veterans commented on the rookies as a whole by saying they are "always trying way too hard." He was speaking of this in terms of experience; the rookies would get frustrated during some points in a race and it wasn't because they weren't physically fit, it had more to do with bike handling and special situations that could only turn out successful if the experience was there. Because experience is necessary, the veterans were willing and able to pass down knowledge and put the rookies in situations where experience was gained.
- Parents/Families: This documentary took a look at the lives of these cyclists when they weren't competing and training. Some of the guys were married and you could definitely tell the time taken out to chase their dreams was taking a toll on their marriages. One of the newly wed's wives commented that she was ready for children whenever her husband was however, she said she couldn't wait much longer. It was evident that family was extremely important to her but the chance for the rookie to live his dream seemed to be taking a higher level of importance at that time.
- Teamwork: After the team traveled to one of their National Calendar Races they went out to ride the course, before the day of the race. During the ride, they evaluated the situations that could/would occur and strategized by assigning each team member to a different job. The rookies were assigned the task of delivering the two veterans to the front of the pack. One of the team members was assigned specifically as a hill climber. Through teamwork, the riders would have a better chance at a successful outcome.