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Behind The Barriers Director’s Cut: CrossNatz


Whenever I watch baseball, all I can think about is the YouTube video “Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No.” If you haven’t watched it, go watch it right now. It’s an animated true story, retold by Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis. He regales the viewer with his crazy no-hitter pitched while tripping on acid.

I’m watching game 4 of the World Series, and I can see why these players, especially pitchers, would self medicate. There’s a lot of stress and anxiety out on that field. I don’t usually watch baseball, especially in October, as the last few years the Red Sox made it nowhere near the World Series. The last couple weeks, however, I’ve been doing a bunch of stuff I don’t usually get to do in October. This time last year, I was in Czech Republic, covering the Czech World Cups for Behind The Barriers. This year, these two weeks were reserved for rest and recovery for Jeremy as well as the entire BTB TV crew.

As a result, I’ve been able to take in the classic fall foliage that New England is famous for. I’ve been able to hang out with my cat, Sergio, who is usually kind of lonely at this time of year, and I’ve been able to drink beers and cook meats with my roommates. This is all stuff that usually doesn’t happen for me in October.

I also didn’t make an episode this week. Instead, I prepared a special treat. It’s a movie called CrossNatz that I made in 2008-09. It’s an in-depth look at five years of U.S. cyclocross national championships, told through race footage and commentary from all the big-name riders. It’s a movie that honestly never sold very well, and I always thought it was a shame that not more people saw it.

CrossNatz is not really your status quo sports documentary. It’s dark, it’s kind of moody, and parts of it are sort of experimental. This was all stuff I received criticism for right when it came out, but to me, that’s all the stuff that makes it awesome. I didn’t just say, “Here are some race recaps, throw in a couple interviews, and queue the canned orchestra music.” This thing has some style.

I think nationals is always one of the most interesting races of the year, for many reasons. This movie shows what nationals means to the people that race it, and is also a bit of a history lesson for any new fan who may be out there in Boulder, Colorado, in a couple months. Enjoy!

Sam Smith
Director/Producer, Behind The Barriers

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