John Reynolds is another cinematographer that was at all the races in 2009 and 2010 as the team filmer for Yeti. He has also travelled, lived and documented Aaron Gwin’s rise to the podium over the past two seasons. Gwin’s extraordinary ride up the downhill ranks is an incredible story and Clay’s vision to document the past two years of racing would not be complete without including him.
Sven Martin is the stills photographer on the project. Over the past few years he has established himself as the best mountain bike photographer in the world. No other photographer works as hard, travels as much and takes better, more unique photos. Sven also brings an insightful aspect to the production of the movie which is gathered from his years as a World Cup racer himself.
Craig Grant is the art director on the project. As a one man design army, Craig has established himself as the best art director in the mountain bike industry. His role is to create the whole look and brand image of the project, from packaging to web design.
Let’s get back to the process for a moment. Please do not misunderstand me when I make my grand metaphoric claim at the start of this piece; I am not saying Clay, John and John rented a motel with a heart shaped bed for two years, scoffing fruit and quaffing bubbles and magically this movie was born. For two years they have been documenting the intimate details of the world’s fastest descenders from within those hallowed halls. They have been deeply imbedded in the World Cup organism, capturing the story and fury of cutting time. Like war reporters and biographers they have chronicled every step of the way to the top step of the podium, or not. Rather than just filming dates with the riders, these filmers became attached to the rider’s lives. Following them all over the world as they travelled, trained, prepared, raced, rode, ate, slept, celebrated, commiserated, attempted to balanced their home lives with their lives as super heroes of the biking world, perhaps struggling to come to terms with the pressure of racing at the highest level, or endeavoured to make that hardest largest lunge to the very top step of the podium. There is no truer, more accurate and intimate documentation of the hallowed worlds of the world’s very best than 3 Minute Gaps.
Clay has lived with Gee Atherton for two years as he did everything within his power assert his place at the top of the podium. Lawlor stayed with Steve Peat during Canberra World Championships when he won and Reynolds has been side by side with Gwin as he went from World Cup no–one to World Cup hit man. The access that Clay, Lawlor, and Reynolds have had to the world’s best mountain bike racers is simply unparalleled, not just within mountain biking circles but perhaps within any sport. In modern times the top athletes of most sports are surrounded by a series of gate keepers. Publicists, spokespeople and managers are employed to control the flow of information in and out. Every word is carefully measured and spun. Downhilling has not got to this level yet, so 3 Minute Gaps is a penetrating, personal and sincere record of the sport of World Cup downhill mountain bike racing. The viewer is offered a first person narrative of the highs and lows, successes and set backs of what it takes to be the world’s fastest.
It’s been commonly believed that mountain bike movies fall into one of two distinct categories. Either they are exercises in high art, or high–octane fuel for ADD minds. But this movie sits neatly between lofty ruminative philosophical manifestos and impulsive hyperactive crayon scribbles. This is the kind of movie that is supposed to shove it’s hand down the front of your trousers in the movie theatre but could still exchange a well argued dialogue with your friends at a dinner party; whilst playing footsie with your gentleman sausage under the table.
On one hand it is a synopsis of the last two World Cup race seasons following the lead characters, and at the same time there is an additional film that could stand alone all by itself just with all the actual rider segments. These rider sections present a legitimate portrait of them when away from the ticking stopwatch, but still when they are punching the clock. These sections offer as much insight into the person behind the bars as it does to titillate the viewer with expressions of their character through their riding. Part documentary, part music video, 3 Minute Gaps unites both concepts to produce a movie that informs and delights in equal measures.