A new short film shows how Flumserberg farmer s son René Wildhaber became a successful professional mountain biker who raced on all continents, participated in films and yet always returned to his homeland.
René Wildhaber's life is the stuff of legend. He grew up in Flumserberg as the youngest son of a family of mountain farmers. Sport was of no importance in the Wildhaber household – there was not even a bicycle on the farm. Nevertheless, René somehow learned to ride and one day miraculously came across his first bike. But even so it would be a long journey to become a world-class mountain biker, something he would achieve as an adult.
Where René found his first bike, what he did with it, how he balanced his carpenter's apprenticeship with fighting his way to the top in cross country mountain biking, how he got a taste for downhill racing and finally became one of the best in the world, what mountain biking really meant for him and why he stayed true to his roots even when he rode the most spectacular trails around the world – all of this can be seen in the film "René Wildhaber - Born to ride." It tells the story of an exceptional athlete and character, from his childhood to his most recent projects.
The secret star of the film is six-year-old Gian Andrea Girardi from Plons, who portrays René Wildhaber as a little boy. Of course, the mountain bike action also plays a large part. Archive images of "Wildi" as a racer, protagonist in mountain bike films and a mountain bike teacher, as well as new recordings, make it clear what an amazing journey the Flumserberger has had. The childhood scenes were filmed on two farms on which René grew up and which are now managed by his two older brothers. The protagonist himself thinks: “Gian Andrea captures my carefree nature and the freedom on the farm excellently. The locations have changed little since I was a child, so the film comes very close to my actual memories."
Stefan Michel, who has known him for many years and who wrote the script, explained that such a diverse career as Wildhaber's can also present certain difficulties: "Making a film about René's life is at times hard because you have to leave out a lot more good stories than you can include in the film." Filmmaker and photographer Christophe Margot spent even more time with René Wildhaber: “I've been working with René for 15 years. At last there is a film about his life. I am very proud to be able to contribute – this has already become my favorite project with him."
The film was shown to the public for the first time on Sunday, at the BikerBerg Flumserberg, of course, whose trails René Wildhaber designed and played a key role in building. Small group after small group watched the eight-minute film; in the end it was over 150 viewers, including friends whom the 44-year-old Flumserberg-native had not seen since his youth. “In retrospect, my life was quite astonishing. There are certain central themes, but also a lot of changes, and it stirs a lot of emotions for me to look back on them.” It would not surprise anyone if he implemented more unexpected ideas in the next few years.
Wortbüro Stefan Michel