talus turk
Talus Turk soars during the 2022 Proving Grounds competition; (photo/Transition Bikes)

Inside Proving Grounds 2022 With the Transition Bikes Team

This year’s freestyle course allowed for diverse styles, with the USA’s Brett Rheeder and Argentina’s Camila Nogueira coming out on top.

Proving Grounds took a choose-your-own-adventure approach to this year’s course, hoping to offer riders a fun experience that transcended final results.

Listening to the Transition Bikes’ team during the event this weekend, that’s precisely what they got from the competition.

“There’s options for everyone,” Jaxson Riddle said. “If you’re just like me and just want to ride jumps, you can just pick and choose. It’s so fun.”

jaxson riddle
Jaxson Riddle at Proving Grounds 2022 this weekend; (photo/Transition Bikes)

Proving Grounds partnered with Natural Selection this year, bringing together 30 of the world’s best freeride mountain bikers. These MTB pros pursued their personal styles in Oregon’s Flying Blind Dirt Park. The 2022 course provided enormous features, dirt jumps, berms, and wide gaps.

Ultimately, the top score for men went to USA’s Brett Rheeder, a surprise winner who hadn’t competed in the competition in 3 years. Using a downhill bike modified with a single crown fork, Rheeder shredded the course like it was made for him. He pulled off flat drop backflips, flat spins, tail whips, and a massive Bomber Drop to win a score of 93.25.

Among women, Argentina’s Camila Nogueira defended her title from 2021, again delivering the best run of the competition. Nogueira tackled the course’s most prominent features. She even hit the 26-foot Bomber Drop at the bottom — the only woman to do so. That earned her the top women’s score of 82.75 and the i9 Heart & Soul Award.

View the full results here.

Transition Riders Embrace New Course Style

But perhaps the real star of the competition was the course itself.

This year, Natural Selection and Proving Grounds worked to build a course that combined the best of big mountain freeriding with slopestyle tricks.

Rather than watching riders perform the same tricks in the same order, spectators saw each rider look for the best features that suited their styles.

Listening to Transition Bikes’ team, they clearly had a great time — even if they didn’t get what they wanted from the final results. Talus Turk, for example, made it to the finals after a stellar opening run. Then the wind picked up, and he had a few mishaps, including a chain falling off. Yet his enthusiasm for the course hardly diminished.

“Honestly, I’m just so stoked riding here,” Turk said. “It’s been the best experience on my bike in a while.”

proving grounds
Talus Turk at 2022 Proving Grounds; (photo/Transition Bikes)

The company said that each of Transition’s riders got to enjoy the best of what they do. While Turk focused on flat spins, Johny Salido felt enthused about the shark fins. Dusty Wygle went for every big drop, including a 30-footer that boggled the minds of other freeriders. Jaxson Riddle opted for technical skate park tricks and big jumps.

“I did the runs I wanted. I did the tricks I wanted,” Riddle said. “My score was not the best … but I did what I wanted to do. I definitely felt that I rode way better than last year, so that’s all that counts for me.”

If you want to see some MTB action up close, a one-hour competition show airs at noon (Pacific time) on Friday, September 23. Watch it on NaturalSelectionTour.com.

Failing that, ESPN2 will also broadcast the show on Sunday, September 25, at 3 p.m. Pacific time.

Natural Selection Tour 2022 lookback (Screenshot Travis Rice YouTube)
Wishing for Winter? Look Back at Natural Selection 2022 With Travis Rice
Grab a cold one, cozy on up, and let snowboarding's brightest young stars transport you back to the days of bluebird skies and alpenglow. Read more…
Andrew McLemore
By

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.