Flash flood warnings, red clay staining the streets, age-old petrified wood surfacing in muddy rivers that were once a trickle of a stream -- this is Virgin, Utah, with record-breaking rainfall. It's as though the desert is cleansing itself and giving the surrounding artifacts an opportunity to scratch out an existence in the vast buttes and canyons that fill the expanse that is southern Utah.
With a feature build list in hand, supplies ordered, and a trains/planes/automobiles/moto journey to make it to the desert, head builder Jeremy Witek stands on a ridge and looks down upon the Red Bull Rampage site from high above.
Surveying the venue from Gooseberry Mesa, Witek notes how much different the site is than anything in the surrounding area. A solo ridgeline peak inlayed with steep, eroding, connected spines, ribboned with white and red layers of earth and slate rock, the site does stand out from the rest of its surroundings. It is one of a kind.
From this vantage point, it might never cross a person’s mind that this ridgeline could even be utilized as a place to ride two-wheelers, much less the fact that it has indeed played host to the most influential curators of freeride mountain biking since 2008.
The builders spend a month in the desert heat securing resources and manifesting ideas into rideable terrain for the competitors, who will then connect their own hand-built lines through the spines and canyons.
Unlike other event venues that are tirelessly built only to be torn down moments after the most deserving shredder has been crowned, many of the lines and features from prior years remain nearly intact, making the area look like an archaeology site. These slightly degraded and weathered features could potentially give riders an opportunity to make refinements and other additions to their lines, elevating the riding once again, to an all-time level.
It's as though the desert has retained these artifacts and kept watch over these features, silently awaiting the return of the best freeriders in the world, inviting them back to this highly revered place. Here they will expand upon their best ideas, combine that with their talents and give the world the best showcase of freeride mountain biking anyone has ever witnessed.
Bookmark the Red Bull Rampage site to experience all of the content leading up to, during, and after the October 11-13 event days. Watch the live webcast of the finals on October 13, follow the Road to Rampage video series, and mark your calendar for the December 21 Red Bull Signature Series highlights broadcast on NBC.