Pushing beyond the norm: new Red Bull film chronicles Justin Williams' journey in cycling

After feeling like an outsider in Europe, Justin Williams formed the first all-Black cycling team.

Justin Williams
(Image credit: Chris Taylor/Redbull Content Pool)

Red Bull Media House today debuted a new film chronicling the journey of cyclist Justin Williams to the top of American cycling.

The documentary, titled Dear 39th Street, portrays the highs and lows of Williams’ career in bike racing and the effort it takes to be at the top of the sport. 

“This documentary is the journey of me going so far beyond myself,” said Williams. “ I’m pushing so far beyond the norm that my life spirals and evolves into new areas of what's possible that my season on the bike becomes more and more challenging. And even through all of that, I found a way to enjoy it.”

The American-Belizean has spent nearly his entire life in the world of competitive cycling and saw early success as a junior on the track. But, as a Black man in a sport where representation is severely lacking, his experience and introduction to the sport was vastly different from his peers. 

After a season of racing in Belgium, Williams briefly left the sport but his passion for cycling was reignited by his brother, Cory Williams, who also showed extremely high potential. Through collaboration, teamwork and support from the cycling community they have built a cycling program that is unrivalled on U.S. soil, L39ION of Los Angeles.

Directed by Jen Stafford, the 21-minute film reveals the backend work, the sacrifice and pain, camaraderie and bond, behind the team’s ubiquitous gold chains and podiums. 

“I really wanted to showcase what it actually takes to be in the position that I’m in,” Williams stated. “I think this documentary does a good job at showing the glory and the good moments and the team camaraderie and the soul of what L39ION is. But it also shows the backend of work of what goes into the sacrifice and the pain.”

You can watch the documentary now, on Redbull TV

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.