Expectations are high for ex-champ Kyle Strait as he readies for his eighth Red Bull Rampage.
[Watch Kyle prep at his local spot in the video above.]
Ask any real rider: what is the gnarliest event in mountain biking? They’ll tell you: Red Bull Rampage, without a doubt.
Held annually from 2001-2004 with massive consequence, the event went into hibernation from 2005-2007. When it re-emerged in 2008, the contest was offered in an every-other-year cadence, until an incredible and dramatic 2012 event called for Rampage to return on an annual basis for the first time since its infancy.
If you’re Kyle -- a staple of progressive mountain biking and an athlete who pushes the limits on the regular -- it is virtually guaranteed you will be invited to qualify. This is Kyle’s scenario. However, it's also expected that you train for the event; in fact, the terrain demands it… It’s serious business out there at Rampage.
What's unique about Kyle is that he has won the event before, at the tender age of 17 in 2004. As a testament to his all-around ability, it’s also worth mentioning that in the same year Kyle finished third in junior world championships for downhill racing and placed third at Crankworx slopestyle. Clearly Kyle is a massive talent with a diversified skillset and remains an essential player in the sport.
Even at the relatively young age of 24, Kyle doesn't need much introduction, but we did get to catch up with him for a few minutes of his training for this iconic event.
The riding spot is Pine Valley -- a notorious yet discrete playground deep in Southern California. Big-name gravity athletes show up here during the off-season and throw huge whips, tight scrubs and just spend time getting rowdy with friends. Tailor-made for sending big lines, Pine Valley is the perfect off-season training ground for any rider looking to push it to the next level.
The sandy and arid terrain helped set the tone to start getting into “Rampage mode.” After a few hours of grooming lines with a small crew, Kyle started getting after it and found ways to get creative with some interesting lines and started pushing the limits in no time flat.
After witnessing Strait attack this all-natural amphitheater, it’s apparent he has one goal in mind: best his performance last year and walk away with the glory of becoming the first repeat Red Bull Rampage winner.
Kyle is not the only athlete capable or hungry for the win, so this year will be interesting, to say the least.
Watch Kyle and the world's best riders take on Red Bull Rampage during the live webcast of finals on October 13, 2013, starting at 1:00 p.m. MT on the Red Bull Rampage site.