|Casparis Overlook and Youghiogheny River far below.|
We had been mountain biking for a little over ten years - pretty much since the inception of the "sport" - or at least since the beginning of commercially available production "mountain bikes" (at least around here). Had a small group of local hard-core guys - Rob Goodman, Howie Stock, Matt Burnsworth heading up the core. Had the mountains pretty much all to ourselves and developed many tough and technical trail rides, mostly linking the developed (and endless) logging and four wheeler trails with a lot of single track throughout the woods. The best trails (stay tuned, more to come) were circuitous loops ranging from six to thirty-two miles in length - no (or little) backtracking involved. All were characterized by elevation gains (mostly steep, slow and technical) of eight hundred to two thousand feet followed by quicker descents of the same. If you averaged over three to six miles per hour at the end of a ride, you were on an "easy" trail.
At the time, didn't know how much longer we would be doing this stuff. The mountain biking here in SWPA is definitely five star - some of the best in the East (if you are willing to seek it out). Considering the film and photography background and experience involved, it was decided to at least document a bit of this activity (climbing, caving, biking....) through a series of short films - no one else was doing it. Backcountry was our second "feature".
The original concept of the film was to have a lone individual on a surrealistic ride throughout the SWPA backwoods, transitioning between the four seasons of the year. We began filming in the Fall of 1997. Soon realizing the time, effort and logistics of our undertaking, we stuck with Plan B - stick to the Fall. Rob Goodman portrayed the 'biker' throughout the film, riding an original Colorado-based Boulder Bicycles full suspension model mountain bike - one of the first commercially available. Rob was a pretty intense individual and all-around expert rock climber, skier, caver, mountain biker as well as a savvy woodsman - quitting wasn't part of his vocabulary - no doubt he would stick around for the long haul. The scenes throughout the film are essentially a montage of images photographed from various locations along the many trails as aforementioned, all located in SWPA. Most of the areas will be immediately recognizable to "local folks". The film also includes probably the only "moving picture" images of the 'Casparis Mine' opening now in existence. The entrance to the mine was closed several years back for "safety concerns".....
|Howie, Rob, Matt (probably 1994) - three of the best|
Backcountry will be online within the next two weeks.
*A short disclaimer: The video is not available for sale or rental, and is intended for Internet viewing only. Reason being, we never obtained permission from Mr. Crary or his associates for the use of his excellent music, which we have long been a fan. No canned or 'Royalty-Free' libraries available back then. Wouldn't replace the tracks, anyway - there's nothing better. If it suddenly disappears from view, you know why. At best, those not familiar with his music will be "turned-on" to something new, and pick up a CD.