Turlock High grad Ben Cornell wants to take you on a ride.
The Modesto native, who grew up in Turlock, helped retrace the route taken by riders in the 1928 Tour de France for a documentary created by “The Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan. The Emmy-winning TV personality wrote and directed the project, which saw the men try to recreate the race down to its vintage bicycles. The 1928 Tour de France is famous for being the first year an English-speaking team competed in the grueling competition.
Now Cornell is bringing the finished product, titled “Le Ride,” to a special screening 7 p.m. Sunday, April 16, at the Regal Modesto Stadium 10 theater. The screening will raise funds for Jessica’s House in Turlock, which provides grief support to children, teens and their families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
The film, which has screened at various film festivals including South by Southwest, the New Zealand International Film Festival and American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs, follows the men as they pedal 3,338 miles in just 26 days. In the original race in 1928, 164 riders riders started yet only 41 completed the course.
Keoghan called the project “the most brutal challenge I’ve ever faced.”
Cornell, who graduated from Turlock High in 1990, works as a physical therapist in Southern California. He is also active in endurance sports and has completed four Ironman triathalons. This wasn’t his first ride with Keoghan. In 2009 he was part of Keoghan’s “Phil Rides Across America” project where he cycled across the United States.
The two men first met through their wives, who also race bikes together, and became friends. Cornell said Keoghan knew he would make a good riding partner because of his riding Ironman background. Plus, the two guys just hit it off.
“We were kindred spirits and got along well immediately and knew we could handle spending hours riding next to one another,” Cornell said.
Cornell’s own interest in cycling started when he was a student at Turlock High and would ride during the summer to keep in shape for cross country season. He went on to ride for the University of California, Davis, cycling team.
Filming for “Le Ride” began in the summer of 2013. Cornell kept a road journal online about their adventure which can be seen at https://benpeetee.wordpress.com.