"Downhill Speed" documents the lives of three professional downhill mountain bike racers, the consummate professional and racing legend Eric Carter, privateer and journeyman Orlando Martinez, and on-the-rise 22-year-old Australian superstar Johnny Waddell.
The film reveals the racers at home, training and at play, while shadowing them through the ups and downs of a race season. The race action begins with the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, followed by the Southern California NORBA National at Snow Summit, and finally the Grouse Mountain World Cup in Vancouver, Canada. "DHS" gets under the helmets and goes deep into what drives these racers, each coming from different walks of life, but with one underlying passion—racing mountain bikes.
Eric Carter is the closest thing mountain bike racing has to a household name. Evolving from BMX, Carter modestly accumulated four World and nine National championships before crossing over to mountain bikes. He's the reigning National downhill champion, one of the most dominant mountaincross racers ever, and is even a character in the PlayStation 2 video game "Downhill Domination".
Orlando Martinez, a 38-year-old full-time longshoreman from San Pedro, California, doesn't fit the mold of the average pro racer. He isn't pampered like factory riders, relies on his own resources to race, and that makes him a favorite at international events.
Johnny Waddell, a 22-year-old Australian with incredible bike handling skills, is a rider everyone pegged for greatness. A horrible crash suffered before the Grouse Mountain World Cup leaves Johnny's promising career in question.