Red Bull Rampage: Even Practice Day Is Crazy

Redbull Rampage is one of the most extreme events in any category.

TylerMcCaul
Tyler McCaul gets in some practice on the Red Bull Rampage course; photos by Eric Hanson

The world’s best mountain bikers come from all over to build out their dream lines, with no limit to the creativity they can pour into the wild, absurdly steep red dirt of southern Utah.

The place is a playground on steroids.

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For how much is at stake in this event — $45,000 is on the line, the terrain is huge, and the margins for error are slight — it is amazing how relaxed and low key the vibe is. For most of the day Wednesday, it was pretty quiet outside Virgin, Utah.

Riders and their crew were busy digging, smoothing, and perfecting their custom-built lines. The general atmosphere was one of camaraderie and stoke for what each competitor was practicing.

Red Bull Rampage Practice

But as soon as the sun dropped below the ridge that holds the course, things turned downright epic. Cheers erupted in unison each time a rider hit one of the (many) big features. Simultaneous “oohs” announced when a rider came up a bit short on a jump. For two hours, the action was constant.

Anywhere you looked, something crazy was going down.

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Thursday is qualifiers. The vibe will likely change as the shovels and rakes are put to the side and riders are competing for a slot in Friday’s competition.

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Those attending Redbull Rampage should know that, due to weather, the competition has been moved from Saturday to Friday.

–Eric Hanson is a photographer, writer, and adventurer who just returned from seven months of trekking in South America. He is reintegrating to society driving around the Southwest crashing on couches and covering the Rampage. Find him on Instagram @ericrhanson.

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