Kyle Strait Talks Rampage

Oct 8, 2013
by Dan Severson  
 
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With the world's biggest freeride event right around the corner, the mountain bike community is eagerly awaiting the mayhem that will ensue out at the Red Bull Rampage. Who better to dish out the goods on this historical contest than Kyle Strait. Kyle is one of the few riders who have competed in all 7 events, and seen 'the good, the bad and the ugly' go down (cue in theme song). With his last win back in 2004, you can bet that Kyle is as hungry as ever to leave his mark once again on the brutal and rugged terrain that awaits in the Virgin, Utah desert.


What have you been up to lately? I heard you had a chance to do some line scouting out at the location recently, how's everything looking out there?

Lately, I have been traveling a ton! Even with all of the contests, filming and airplane rides I was able to make a quick two hour drive after Interbike to go scout some lines for the upcoming Rampage. Things are looking huge out there, as usual, and I can't wait. I have done that the past two years and it really helps me get into the mindset of hucking some meat in the desert.


Do you think there is still a lot of life left in that zone, as far as building new and creative lines, or is it close to being exhausted?

To me, I would say the site is at 'its last leg of being a Rampage site. With so many riders there just isn't enough ridge lines and cliffs. We have pretty much done every line that is worth riding in that zone without making a ton more wood features.


What's going on with the new "All lines are open" rule? How much will riders be fighting to keep their hard work from being pillaged?

It pretty much goes down to there are only so many ridges that are on the mountain. With 40 plus riders, you are for sure going to be on someone else's line. There isn't much raw real estate that you can find.

1st run during finals. Unfortunately his 2nd attempt didn t end quite as well.

As far as line etiquette goes, is there a big difference between the first time riders and the veterans, as far as knowing what is "off limits" and what lines are open?

I think that back in the day it was a bigger issue. Nowadays, a lot of riders will just ride the lines that have already been built with some minor changes added. But, I do know that if a rider were to try and ride a line that someone else has built that year, things will go down... It's an unspoken rule that sometimes needs to be broken out.


What are the restrictions on how many people can help a rider build, and how many days do you have to work your line?

We will have three official days to dig and are allowed three diggers per rider.


Are there any limits as far as tools and materials that a rider can use?

Ha ha I see where you are going there... As far as I know, the only thing they are limiting would be the use of sand bags. They will be providing the correct ones that we are allowed. If they deem it necessary to use. I do know it got a little out of hand last year with the sand bags. They are very useful.


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Are you in favour of the wooden features being added, or would it be better to go back to natural terrain only?

Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of them being at Rampage, but they are usually one of the biggest / baddest features out there, so I am more than happy to hit them. Also with the progression of this sport you have to build things to make them bigger in certain zones to keep up with riders' demands.


Having to ride a gnarly line with the wind howling has got to be pretty sketchy. How big of a factor has the weather been for you in the history of Rampage?

I would say it's damn near the only factor beside your own brain telling you what's possible. You just have to tell it to "shut up" and "I got this" to keep it going. I try to put the wind out of my head, along with trying to plan out lines that are not affected by it as much.


When you look back to the first three events, riders were pretty much wearing football outfits to protect themselves, compared to nowadays where T-shirt, knee pads and a helmet are standard issue. Can you explain the evolution of protective gear in this event from the riders perspective?

To be honest... I believe it was from riders like Zink and myself and a few others that decided we didn't want upper body protection. For the first 3 years my good ol' pops made me wear it, but as soon as I was old enough, I ditched it. Partly because I didn't feel a difference between having it and not when I crashed in that area. Chicks dig scars anyway! Since then, I think that a lot of riders have gotten used to the look of seeing someone ride Rampage without it.


Can we expect to see some custom Fox kits on the team again this year?

You will just have to wait and see...

Last year, a few spectators accidentally knocked over jump markers (AKA: rocks) and walked over crucial areas of riders' lines, which ultimately may have affected their run. Have you ever had any bad incidents from people walking on your line, etc.?

Yes, I have had a few people standing on my landing before. It's one of the other gnarlier things that you encounter at Rampage. It has been a while since something like that has happened though. It can really mess you up when someone moves one of your markers. Those two little rocks can set you up between crashing and cleaning a drop. Everything is so blind out there.

  Kyle gets in a few hucks close to home before heading out to the desert.

What is the craziest thing you've seen from spectators in the early days of Rampage?

I would have to say '04 when a lot of fans dressed up for Halloween. I saw a Clown and a giant baseball running around the mountain.


How did it feel bringing home the win at such an early age (17) back in 2004? Did you do a lot of preparation leading up to that?

Like I always say, ''winning is bitchin'" and you can't feel better than that. I had an amazing season racing world cups and filming and just felt really good on my bike. Nowadays I do way more to prepare for upcoming Rampage's.


There has never been a repeat winner in the history of Rampage. Is that a major goal for you to accomplish? Where does the motivation to succeed come from?

Of course! That has been my goal since I won in 2004. It comes from being the first person to ever win that event twice. It gives you so much drive.

Mid flight ejection. This was by far the craziest thing I ve ever seen happen on a bike...or perhaps anywhere. It s a miracle he walked away after this crash.

Last year, Cam Zink survived one of the most insane crashes ever seen over the massive 65-foot canyon gap. Is it getting to the point where you literally have to put your life on the line to get on the podium?

Zink's crash was super gnar! I still think of how crazy it is that he is okay from that. There have been the manliest crashes of all time at Rampage, so I think you always have to put your life on the line. All the dudes that have competed at Rampage have pushed the limit every year and we will never stop.


How crazy is it seeing one of your best friends crash like that?

I have seen Cam crash a billion times over the years. Like he says, "When it goes really bad, it doesn't end up that bad in the end". So for that dude to be in that much pain to not be able to ride, I was worried. He is one bad dude. You never want to see any of your friends crash, or any of the other riders. You have to keep that out of your head.


Can you tell us a bit about your bike setup that you plan on running at the next event?

I run just about the same set up as home. The only thing I do different would be to throw on a 2.5" front and rear and up my spring rate by about 100lbs. Not a whole lot different.


Are there any special tweaks or customizing that you do to your bike to ride this type of unique terrain?

I run pretty big tires. I am really accustomed to that terrain, so I just ride a little further back on the bike due to the soft dirt.

A few more Rampage goodies... http sonofasever.blogspot.com

Did Norbs really "get robbed?"

Ha ha ha the year old Pinkbike argument! I definitely think that anytime you are one of the first riders to drop in at a judged event you get robbed. He had an awesome run though and I was stoked for him. But at the same time with judging and going first they do not have a scale of where that rider needs to be since there hasn't been any other riders. I pretty much always throw out that first run and hope that they are paying attention on the next if I have to ride at the beginning of the start list. All in all, judged events are tough. And that would be one of the reasons why I love racing.

Previous Rampage winners:

2012 - Kurt Sorge
2010 - Cam Zink
2008 - Brandon Semenuk
2004 - Kyle Strait
2003 - Cedric Gracia
2002 - Tyler Klassen
2001 - Wade Simmons


Good luck to Kyle and the rest of the competitors!
Must Read This Week

103 Comments

  • + 99
 i am cheering for the CLAW i really hope he get's it this time. He gave so much to the freeriding! He deserves it, he is getting a bit old but he should have an rampage in his shoulders.
  • - 8
 [YT=www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK7LyxgrWS4]
I'm looking forward to the time "he gets this"
  • - 18
 The only fat guy that can pedal the hell out of any racers.
  • + 8
 I have a signed poster of him no handing the Oakley sender on my wall, such a nice guy! And his bike is beautiful too..
  • + 9
 Me too, CLAW deserves this.
  • + 5
 Hope Claw can do the best.
  • + 2
 There are two lines I want to see; Claw's and Bourdo's. The site might be exhausted but it seems there were a few lines that weren't hit last year due to riders being injured or not making the cut for finals.
  • + 1
 haha Yes thee old school freerider BOURDO! Yes i think he could do it , wouldnt that be amazing!
  • + 2
 I love Bourdo man he's such a badass. And he's been around since I first started free-riding, to ride at this level for so many years impresses and inspires me.
  • + 5
 This article should've been named Kyle strait talks Straight rampage.
  • + 1
 There is a difference between deserving it and earning it. We all know what he has to do to earn it and its getting crazy and fuck up there.
  • + 1
 ^ really? I thought deserving it was a result of earning it... interdasting.
  • + 1
 @Scott-Townes I suppose it could be perceived both ways
  • + 1
 claw, semenuk or zink
  • + 1
 just saw that tweet, such a bummer! was really hoping he'd take it this year!
  • + 2
 is Bourdon invited?
  • + 1
 Shit that tweet, didn't expect it! Really bummer, does anyone know's what exactly happened ??
  • + 2
 I cant freakin believe it dam it. I feel apart of me is empty now!
  • + 1
 L5s1 disc extrusion.. so it's his back again
  • + 0
 fuck, rampage is ridiculous
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  • + 19
 Kyle straight said Norbs got robbed so everyones argument is invalid.
  • + 15
 this year will be norbs redemption
  • + 9
 What if he gets perma robbed?
  • - 1
 hes got backflips off drops, hes gunna win
  • + 21
 Steve Smith said norbs got robbed and hes the PM.
  • + 1
 so hilarious he was asked and Stevie answered that in the interview last weekend. So if much of the competitors think he got robbed. Norbs, seems we're all with ya except for those 3 dudes that were judging that day.

Here's my take on things as we come up to this year's event, and this is still the "white elephant" question a YEAR later...hehehe. Like any subjective sport, leaving "room" for the others is tough. It's why other subjective sports like gymnastics and figure skating put in specific technical skill requirements in the first place, to stop the judging issues. The argument is we don't want this to go that route, having to throw specific tricks to get certain points takes away from the flow and creativity these guys all have. It's fair to think that each run should be judged on it's own merit and without thought of what is "yet" to come. But Norbs, so it seems it certainly didn't go that way for you last year, although all the other guys had sick runs too. Really sick. Had Semenuk landed his full run, WITHOUT A DOUBT he would have won. That guy has a bigger bag of tricks than anyone out there. He just couldn't land. F**K, I'd hate to have to judge this event personally. :-)
  • + 23
 But what do we do if Rob gets norbed?
  • + 9
 I have to be honest here, in regards to the "norbs got robbed" and the judging ect, ect.....all of these guys, every single dude that climbs to the top of this ridge and sends it.. get my 100% respect. No clear "Winner" in my mind. I enjoy watching the whole thing, and even though it's fun to judge and pick a winner, it's not what it's all about to me.
  • + 2
 I understand the idea if leaving room for other guys in the early scoring but if done right it shouldn't matter. While they do assign numerical scores, essentially whet they are doing is simply ranking the riders as they come down, slotting them in where they see fit.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 For anybody wondering about the "narrow" 2.5 inch tire, a kenda nevegal 2.35 is significantly wider than a 2.5 inch maxxis minion. In other words, his 2.5 inch tire is about the same as a 3 inch maxxis. Dang.
  • + 1
 Yea kendas run big. I had a 2.7 nevegal in the front and the thing barely cleared the arch of my Boxxer.
  • + 2
 true. maxxis minion dhf 2.5 iso width is 55mm which is actually 2.2 inches. 2.35 would be closer to 58mm
  • + 3
 Ya the 2.7 kenda's are hilarious big. 2.5 is all anyone needs unless your riding on Mars. Nexcavators are awesome tires, Straight for the win!!
  • + 1
 Yea I didn't realize how large they were. I had been running minions 2.7 up front 2.5 in back which was good. I was able to pick up some Kenda's dirt cheap and thought I try them so I just went with the same size, not realizing the size difference. They worked fine though.
  • + 1
 The maxxis "2.5's" were too heavy.. so they made them smaller to get the weight down.. They're now making "2.4" tires that likely use the same mold spec as the old 2.5. They're getting closer to actual, one step at a time. Conti and Kenda are really close to accurate. They look massive next to a maxxis the same size.
  • + 1
 ^ i found it funny that greg minaar was running a 2.4 highroller2 rear and 2.5 minion DHF when the iso widths are 60mm and 55mm, respectively. just looking at the bike in pics and you could tell the rear was bigger than front.
  • + 1
 My friend Fred Patterns taught me everything I know about casings, surfing, and herpes. Now I ready to move to Cali and hunt some golden slash.
[Reply]
  • - 8
 ... looks like a trek session.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 He's right about this location be on its last leg - it's exhausted now and Rampage needs a new venue - or like he says otherwise it'll just be more and more wood features.
  • + 1
 I totally agree, there's other areas in Virgin that they could use and I think they should switch it up a little bit and get a fresh start next year.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 "I saw a Clown and a giant baseball running around the mountain." *thinks about giant baseball running around the mountain while he's shredding.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 I wanna see a "Bikes of Rampage" !!!!!Please :-)
  • + 1
 Go to vitalmtb
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Chicks dig scars....
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Kirill Benderoni FTW!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 They are all winners, or should I say survivors,but I have to say watch out for Josh White. Last year he killed it for his first Rampage and he might just be up on the podium. Pulling for Zink though and Bearclaw and Kyle. The crushers ......
  • + 1
 I ment Will
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If Cam Zink backflips the big drop on the oakley sender, he will win. Would be great to see him win after last years terrible crash on the canyon gap. Norbs did get robbed and I think that will motivate him this year. He will go big.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Call me whatever you want but why was rampage not run in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 & 2011? Was it sponsarship, weather or legal stuff etc? I admit I have probably been living under a rock.
  • + 1
 No man, it didn't run cuz too many riders were hurting them selves, that's one of the main reason's that i know if am not wrong, that's what i did read somewhere, and they tried to reduce it! There might be also different reasons probably.
  • + 1
 I think the reason for the four year gap was due to them trying to find a new location, then again I could be wrong. But on the topic of location it makes you wonder the direction that rampage is taking and where it might end up, like Kyle said there really isn't anything new too ride at that spot.
  • + 3
 Found this on Wikipedia:

"The competition was held from 2001–2004 and then canceled due to the increasing risk competitors were taking. The Rampage however was re-introduced for the 2008 season. In 2010, the event was held October 1–3."
  • + 1
 There ya go, i thought it might of been in search of a new location from the into in NWD 9
  • + 1
 Yeahhh... that's one of the issues behind it. Although no one was ever hurt seriously, this event was really new and years ahead of anything else going on in terms of action sports and that worried some of the sponsors. No one wanted to be associated with an event where someone could potentially die.

There were other factors but that always seems to be the "friendly" version of it.
  • + 0
 Higher ups of blm werent fans either(gov shut down wld have cancelled but now its private land)
Which makes the "capacity" issue odd. Insurance?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 props to Kyle and all these guys riding, they are my heroes. risking life and limb to advance the sport and give me inspiration to man up and do a little twelve foot gap or drop.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Kyle has to be the most under rated rider out there, and yet he is way up there on the scale of most talented dudes ripping it up.Keep it up bro, u are awsome.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Why not use chalk for trail marking?
Lame this event is sold out..capacity?...its the middle of the dezert, geesh.(insurance/permits blah blah)
They gna have spec ops patrolling/glassing gooseberry?
Bring ur camo!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Kyle Strait is what ya call a fuckin' bike rider! I'd love to see him nail it again. Him or Claw.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I kinda wanna see semenuk win because them he would of won rampage and joyride twice.
  • + 46
 You must be 14
[Reply]
  • - 1
 I don't get this stubborn attitude towards protective gear. It's almost childish. "I think that a lot of riders have gotten used to the look of seeing someone ride Rampage without it". So... It just 'aint cool seems to be the theme of the day! Seriously, a broken neck or back 'ain't cool either! And does anyone think that the guys who gets bust up badly will be remembered for looking 'cool' or for being the dumb ass that was only wearing a T-shirt?! Personally think it should be mandatory, especially considering the reasons behind Redbull pulling the plug on the Rampage for so many years....
  • + 1
 Its because body armour only really stops cuts and. bruises. It ain't gonna stop a leg or arm snapping
  • + 1
 dude it should be what ever the riders personally feel comfortable riding with. if you don't like it then don't watch it. This is mountain biking! its supposed to be rough!
  • + 2
 Yeah honestly, there is nothing safe about this... let them wear what they want.
  • + 4
 Neck braces do not just stop scratches, they are proven to protect against hyper extension. And back braces will do more than protect against scratches if you land on your spine on a rock, it could be the difference between bad bruising and not walking.
  • + 3
 then if you want to wear a neck brace im not stopping ya! but i dont like it when people try to force others to wear equipment that others dont like or dont want to buy or whatever
  • + 1
 Ah the good old neck brace lol. Proven by no one! There is no way what so ever you can prove a neck brace works or not. Virtually none of the real fast guys use them,even Dan atherton who used one for one season then stopped and he actually broke his neck b4. So I assume one of his many doctors and specialists told him to sack it off cos they don't work! However it has been proven they do transfer all the load from even small crash and snap your collar bone like a twig! But spine protectors do work so yeah wear that,but not the toilet seat around your neck lol.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Kyle Strait, Redlands CA still knows your one bad mofo! Get em at rampage !
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  • + 2
 Going to Rampage in a couple of days! I'll try to upload some photos of the contest. This years Rampage will be sick!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 so if the use of sandbags is getting limited then we prob won't see semenuk's legendary transfer drop, unless his team will use the sandbags from last year Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's a little sad because we already know we won't have back to back wins this year because of sorge's injury
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I want kinrade to win
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  • + 3
 壮哉我大久裕
  • + 18
 I was going to say the same thing!
  • + 1
 did anybody else google translate this?? you should.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 this year will be an awesome rampage
[Reply]
  • + 2
 It's not wise to do a line before Rampage.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 $10 bucks says the at least one of the new GT frames go snap crackle n pop.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 WILL WHITE!!!!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 GEE would show us his strengs?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 so what is tyler klassen doing these days?
  • + 2
 I think he runs a bike shop in b.c.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 im waiting for that fury to snap first run, first trick.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Norbs still got robbed ....
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Can't WAIT to see what Stevie Smith Does here!!
  • + 3
 Stevie its on the rider list, but he will not ride he said in a interview.
  • + 1
 Neither is Gee riding it this year. Having ankle surgery.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Shaums March was robbed.
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