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Lightning strikes MY Place

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Disorder IV showcases gap of the Tour de France

What : New World Disorder IV — Ride the Lightning Premiere

Where : MY (Millennium) Place Theatre

When: Sunday, Oct. 12, 7 and 9 p.m.

Tickets : $9.99 at the MY Place box office

For mountain bikers the teaser for the fourth instalment in Freeride Entertainment’s New World Disorder canon is like heroin. It brings on a sense of euphoria that ends much too soon, and induces a manic scramble to play it again, again, again!

Producer/director Derek Westerlund, however, is sounding every bit like the world-weary junkie right now.

"Everybody thinks it’s the dream job. But if they were sitting in my shoes right at this minute, after I’ve been editing for six weeks and melting down over it, sitting in my office for 16 hours a day for the last seven days trying to master it, they probably wouldn’t think it was that fun anymore," he says, holed up in his production office in Nelson, B.C.

While many mountain bike film production houses chill out through the winter months to prepare for a springtime season-opening premiere, Freeride decided instead to go out with a bang. Hence Westerlund is racing to make sure every last tweak, huck and drop is edited to perfection in time for the film’s unveiling this Sunday night. The U.S. premiere will take place at a party during the Las Vegas Interbike trade show while the Canadian premiere lights up the screen at MY Place in conjunction with the Whistler bike park’s season-ending Huckfest.

Besides, notes Westerlund, this isn’t the end of the season for bike aficionados in California, Arizona, Utah, and other global locales with no winter.

It’s a testament to how hard he’s been going that he can sound weary describing such mind-blowing film highlights as Timo Pritzel’s double backflip attempt, and "old guy" Richie Schley’s smooth jumps in future Whistler bike park expansion territory. And of course, there’s the event that is enjoying word of mouth infamy even before the film’s premiere: Dave Watson’s gapping of the Tour de France peleton.

Watson sacrificed the Grouse Mountain World Cup and Whistler Gravity Festival events to pull off the stunt, a brainchild of photographer Scott Markewitz and a French magazine. While amateur spectator footage made the rounds on various news networks, Westerlund says the official take is spectacular, despite the logistical challenges.

"We should have had more footage than we do, but for something like that you can’t just set up 10 cameras," says Westerlund. "It was a fairly covert mission."

It wasn’t covert to the point of the Disorder crew wearing Euro Spandex to fit in. However, they did have a double agent in the field. Production manager, and road riding fan Carey Bokser had enough knowledge of the Tour’s quirks and customs to write Watson’s name on the road, as fans of Tour riders are known to do as a form of encouragement on a tough climb. Viewers can see the name as Watson sails across the gap, and the entire event is included as an add-on feature on the DVD.

Other than the big hucks, Westerlund is excited about the film’s street riding segments, although fans of unicyclist Kris Holm will be disappointed in his absence.

"There’s a killer street segment this year that we’re super proud of. It’s not bouncing around on a spool, it’s street and urban riding. That’s a fully relevant facet of mountain biking right now that’s going off. That whole scene is thriving," says Westerlund.

While once a drop-and-stunt scene made up of riders in downhill gear with heavy bikes, the new film showcases urban riders on nimble hardtails with a more progressive, technical style.

"When you watch these guys doing really technical grinds, then alley-ooping back in 10 feet off a wall into a transition, that’s what I appreciate," says Westerlund. "It’s like skateboarding. If you don’t know what you’re watching, then you don’t know what you’re watching. To bring that style of riding, cruising around jibbing off things, but also throwing technical tricks in, is super crucial," he says, adding the strongest street riding in the film is a New York City segment filmed by local cinematographer Travis Robb.

While right now Westerlund is likely looking forward to the kind of break only Vegas can provide from the film game, he can look ahead enough to confirm a New World Disorder V on the horizon.

"Yeah, five’s going down," he says, his laid-back Nelson drawl making each word count double. "We’ll be making mountain bike movies until someone makes better mountain bike movies, and then we’ll put our feet up and do something else."

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