The feature-length directorial debut of Arkansas-based filmmakers Harbottle and Hill, Relentless Ride follows a diverse group of amazing riders who take on the grueling 2021 Arkansas High Country Race, known to be one of the most challenging bike races in the U.S.
The presentation of the film dovetails with this year’s Arkansas High Country Race, which will be hosted by the City of Hot Springs for the second consecutive year, with more than 70 competing cyclists crossing the starting line the morning following the October 6th Opening Night gala celebration on at Oaklawn.
HSDFF Executive Director Ken Jacobson said, “We’re thrilled that, for the first time in our 32-year history, all of the Opening Night activities — from our annual champagne toast to the Opening Night movie and party — will be held at the spectacular event center at Oaklawn. We can think of no better way to open the festival than by screening the incredibly engaging documentary “Relentless Ride”, which is so much more than a story about a bike race. Through their extraordinary cinematography and intimate portraits, Arkansas-based directors Adam Harbottle and Brian Hill brilliantly capture the universal human desire to test yourself against the outer limits of what you think is possible. With the 2023 Arkansas High Country Race kicking off right here in downtown Hot Springs the day after our screening, we fully expect our audience to offer a spirited sendoff to these brave souls competing in this year’s race.”
Relentless Ride follows the cyclists taking on the Arkansas High Country bike-packing race, subjecting them to 1000 miles and 80,000 feet of self-supported ultra-endurance backcountry riding. Some riders push their limits to achieve the fastest known time to compete the race, while others try to find themselves on the course. Exploring the depths of their own humanity, these athletes must carry or find everything they need to complete the course and finish the race.
More than one hundred participants for this year’s race, including cyclists and racing supporters, are expected to attend the gala presentation, which will include red carpet entrances and pre-screening introductions by directors Harbottle and Hill, and documentary subjects Chuck Campbell (Creator and race director of the Arkansas High Country Race), Ernie Lechuga (winner of the 2022 Arkansas High Country Race and holder of the fastest known time for the race), and Josh Allen (racer in the 2021 Arkansas High Country Race).