One of the movies in the Colorado Spotlight at the 46th annual Denver Film Festival is "Hard Miles" a feature film inspired by a Colorado man and a one-thousand-mile bicycle ride.
Greg Townsend is an avid cyclist. He started racing bikes when he was a teen.
"Being a troubled kid myself, I was one of those things that got me on the straight and narrow," Townsend told CBS News Colorado.
As a social worker, Townsend works with troubled teens, and he uses cycling as therapy.
"The atmosphere, the environment, the experiential education that they get out of it, and the physiological part of riding a bike, kind of does a lot of really amazing things if you want it to," he explained.
Now Townsend and one of his long bike rides are the subject of a major motion picture. Townsend, himself, is played by Matthew Modine.
"Hard Miles" tells the story of a week ride from Colorado to the Grand Canyon. The journey included climbs over Wolf Creek Pass and the Mesas of Utah. Across the miles, they faced fears and found triumph.
"It's pretty neat to see these guys develop even on a week-long period of time. They all kind of finish that day," Townsend said.
Townsend took ten teens on the trip each of which have struggled in school, in jail, or in gangs. The movie chronicles the trials and tribulations of the trip.
"There's a lot of Hollywood in the movie," Townsend admitted. But he also said that the movie makers got some key moments right.
"It's about inspiration to anyone who wants to get into this field, or to be a better coach, or be a better parent, or a better person," he explained.
Townsend continues to work with young people and uses cycling to inspire them.
LINK: Denver Film Festival
"Hard Miles" screens Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The Denver Film festival wraps up on Sunday, November 12, 2023.
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