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Movie Review: Wired To Win - Surviving the tour de France

One of our stops on vacation to give the kids a break from the car was COSI Columbus.

Their IMAX theater was featuring the movie "Wired To Win - Surviving the Tour de France". While the kids were off playing, I took the time to see this movie, which presented footage from the Tour interspersed with computer graphics and medical imagery to demonstrate how the brain deals with what some have called the ultimate test of the human brain.

The movies follows the efforts of Francais de Jeux riders Baden Cooke and Jimmy Caspar as they pursue their destinies in the 2003 Tour. We watch as they struggle to avoid danger, fight crushing pain and fatique, control their emotions, seize opportunities and stay motivated. Apparently, the movie producers originally planned to follow Tyler Hamilton, but his doping scandal at the Vuelta a Espana forced them to change to focus to Caspar.

Caspar was caught up in a huge crash in the first stage of that year's Tour and the cameras followed him as he struggled with his injuries through later stages. They used his injury, and the associated pain, to good effect, demonstrating how the body processes pain and the electrochemical interactions that take place in the brain. Caspar dropped out of the race in the high mountains and the focus switched to Cooke, who was challenging for the green sprinters jersey.

Of course, for me, the big highlight of the movie was watching the Tour on a 70 foot screen. The larger than life footage of the Tour winding through the French countryside and mountains was truly spectacular. The production staff captured the footage with a special remotely controlled IMAX camera mounted to a BMW motorcycle. There were also some amazing helicopter shots of the Alps.

If this movie comes to a museum near you, take the opportunity to see it. You'll feel like you're racing with the pros, or at least watching the race in person.

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