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The Impossible Ride tells the story of one woman’s journey to become the fastest bicyclist on the planet.

In the early 90’s, Denise Mueller was a teenage cycling prodigy. Under the watchful eye of her coach, John Howard, Denise seemed destined for the Olympics. But when the pressure to win became too much for her, Denise quit racing cold turkey and walked away from her bike.

20 years later, with three grown children and her marriage falling apart, Denise found herself in a rut. So, she set her sights on an impossible challenge: to go over 167 miles per hour and become the fastest cyclist on earth.

The Paced Bicycle Land Speed record, where a cyclist pedals in the draft of a moving vehicle, has stood for 23 years when Denise arrives on the Bonneville Salt Flats. To succeed she will need to pedal the 5-mile course just inches away from an 800-horsepower drag racer. One wrong move could be fatal in the pursuit of the impossible.

  • Eben Hall
  • Adam Wolffbrandt
    Mama Dragons
  • Justin Beach
  • Drew Beebe
    Senior Producer
  • Sadie Bass
    Supervising Producer
  • Courtney Coupe
    Executive Producer
  • Denise Mueller-Korenek
    Key Cast
  • John Howard
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 2 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 2, 2019
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Eben Hall

Eben Hall is a staff producer at Great Big Story. Born and raised in rural Maine, Eben currently lives in Manhattan and has been producing short documentaries for over 10 years. He particularly enjoys capturing adventures in the great outdoors

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Director Statement

The Impossible Ride was nearly two years in the making. I started speaking with Denise in January of 2017 about filming her record attempt that September. Less than a month later Denise called back – she’d had a terrible training accident and broken her shoulder blade and rib. The attempt (and our film) was scuttled, and it was unclear when or if she might try again. One year later, Denise was back on the bike and training in earnest for a 2018 shot... all systems were go.

On September 10th, 2018 my co-producer Adam Wolffbrandt and I pulled onto the Bonneville Salt Flats to (hopefully) watch Denise make history. The salt flats are a surreal and beautiful place. They are also incredibly challenging to film on. For miles in every direction there is nothing but flat, white salt. The sun’s reflection is blindingly bright and there is nowhere to hide. Food, water, generators, toilets – everything has to be trucked in. Over the next few days we watched the empty flats transform into a hive of activity as the fastest cars and motorcycles from around the world arrived for their shot at a speed record.

As the sun rose on the last full-day of racing, my nerves, retinas, and body were shot. By that point there had been two failed attempts, innumerable mechanical failures, and a full course shutdown due to extreme winds. In the end, of course, those obstacles made the outcome that much more satisfying. I hope this film reminds viewers of the power of hard work and persistence. And how much fun it is to go fast