Pivot athlete and storyteller Brice Shirbach traveled to Central America to meet World Ride founder Julie Cornelius and ride trails where Guatemalan women are among those building local mountain biking culture. Launched in 2020, Sight Unseen celebrates discovery: each film captures the first run on a trail not previously ridden or scouted by the team, documenting in “one take” the joy of exploring new terrain and getting outside your comfort zone. In this new film, Brice discovered not only new trails but also a new culture.
“Sight Unseen has been a very personal project for me, and Pivot has encouraged me to continue expanding the narrative in personally meaningful ways,” says Shirbach. “We were looking for destinations outside the U.S. when I learned about the brand’s broader partnership with World Ride. Sight Unseen Guatemala with World Ride was a no-brainer. The destination took our Sight Unseen’s deep commitment to discovery to new levels. It was a profound experience for all of us, and it’s obvious why World Ride is in Guatemala. It’s so much more than the trail.”
Traveling from Antigua to the volcanoes of Guatemala’s western highlands, Brice discovered steep, rough hews, ancient trails, and connections with the alluring and generous Guatemalans with whom they shared the experience. Videographer Drew Bennett [A Place For All; 2022] has anchored Shirbach’s Sight Unseen creative team since the launch in 2020. “Community and resources surrounding mountain biking are limited in Guatemala,” shared Bennett, “but people are so excited to ride. That type of pure passion is contagious and made an impact on the project.”
World Ride builds bike libraries for women in developing nations. These bike libraries provide a pathway to recreation, career, and competition for local women. World Ride supports first aid training, helps women get mountain bike guide and instructor certifications, coordinates destination trips that employ local female guides and provides financial support to a select number of racers. “World Ride is committed to the long-term vision of helping create more opportunity for women,” says founder Julie Cornelius. In addition to Guatemala, World Ride runs programs in Nepal, Peru, and Lesotho.
Brice Shirbach became a Pivot athlete in 2016 and also serves as Athlete Coordinator for Pearl Izumi. Previous Sight Unseen destinations include Durango, Colorado, the Oregon Coast, and the Tetons. Shirbach and Bennett were accompanied in Guatemala by photographer Kevin Horstmann, who did most of his shooting on 35mm film.