The hot ticket one Friday night a few weeks ago was the premier of Steve Peat's film Wont Back Down at Sheffield University which told the story of his career over the past 20 years.
I have been lucky to have known Steve throughout his career and shared some special moments, the highs and lows, it has been an interesting journey. The run up to the event was full of the finishing touches that makes events like this so unique, one such project was to produce the labels for the Beer to be consumed on the night, 1700 of them, at least I didn't have to stick them on. I went with the family and when we got there we made our way through the crowd towards the bar, we made very slow progress as introducing my family to everyone I bumped into that I knew in the room was quite a task, it was like a birthday or wedding when you know everyone and want to talk to them all but you get broken off mid conversation by someone else who spotted you from across a crowded room, turning and appologising with a quick ''I see you in a bit'' followed by a short shuffle in the direction of a beverage, progress was slow as everyone I spoke to wanted to know about a recent project I was doing, Joe's Bikes my new shop which I will do a write up on soon.
I enlisted the aid of my darling wife Lynne to get the drinks in, sounds a bit sexist but I was caught up in the occasion chatting to mates and Lynne was getting thirsty. It was important to get one of the Wont Back Down beers that Rich Norgate and myself colaborated on and toast the Big Guy which is only right.
It was really good to see all the familiar faces, Steve and his family Rob Warner, Berty, Dickon, Jim Mcroy, Josh Bryceland, Kathy Sessler, Brendan Fairclough, Ricky Bobby, Andy Kyffin, Doug Hadfield and local mates Berg, Marples and Paddy the room was full of exactly who you would expect to be there in the Mountain Bike world.
Before we knew it it was time for the film to start just before the party was getting going, wandering in was quite entertaining talking about new things and old, It was a packed house and It suddenly occured to me that although I knew every inch of the story I had no idea what to expect.
I had been at Steve's house on a few occasions when John Lawlor and Clay Porter where planning the film, drinking and chatting while looking through old video footage and photos with Andrew Titley who insidentally was a very good source of material for the film, or at least his dad was, he must have constantly had a super 8 strapped to the side of his head.
The introduction by Rob Warner was delivered in his usual style and after some banter with the audience the film was on it's way. There were some great sections of film footage that very few people had seen before and I felt very lucky to have shared some of those moments in person and viewing some of the footage prior to the film, but reliving the times in my head and filling in the gaps with facts that few know was quite a funny emotion, you don't usually get to see a film about someones life that you have been so closely involved with, there were lots of bits that would be left on the cutting room floor, but it's nice to keep those private.
A nice part I thought and typical of Steve was the section dedicated to Jason Mcroy, it was a big part in the film and quite rightly so, Jason was a big influence in Mountain Biking and particularly in Steves life, I remember back in the Boltby Bash, Nemba and Malvern Hills Classic days racing along side them and all those memories came flooding back while watching the film.
Most of the people that appeared in the film where there at the preview, Will Longden could not be there, which was a shame, he was at a family wedding down south unfortunately but he more than made up for not being there by his well worded comentary, he has a great way of putting things and is himself worthy of a film of his career.
Getting towards the end of the film and the subject got on to his World Champioship win in Australia, seventeen years in the making was the book title, and what a relief it was when he won, memories of sitting watching him win on an intermittant freecaster feed with Rob Warner going wild jumping up and down on his chair, I downed half a bottle of whisky as the realisation hit home, It was just like one of those all american hero last minute goals that saved the day in the final seconds.
The film will be out to download soon so I'll not spoil it with too many facts, it is a film that traces mountain biking history or a large part of it well, it is very rare that a competitor can actually keep up with technology and his fellow competitors for so long evolving with the sport and it's equipment as Steve has.
Most athletes only have a small window in their career where they can be at the top of their game which is why his career is so remarkable, and he has not finished yet, he has over the years made things interesting in downhill racing and also xc mtb, you have to wonder what would the sport be like without his input or presence.
After the film finished there was lots of photos taken with fans and then on to the pub until the early hours, but before the pub I talked about the film with Steve, Rob and Berty, it was the first time Steve had seen it all the way through and he was as bowled over as we all were, hats off to John and Clay.
I haven't seen him since the premier as he has been in Santa Cruz at the premier there but Lynne and I are going out for a meal and maybe even a drink tomorrow night with Him and his wife Adele so I've no doubt the subject will come up. Let hope we have quite a few years of racing with Steve Peat, lets hope he ''Wont Back Down'' for a while yet, I for one am interested with the next chapter of the story. Cheers Steve.