The Story Behind the World's Biggest Front Flip

Mar 10, 2015
by Anthill Films  
bigquotesOnly those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. - T.S. Eliot


On June 25th, 2014, Tom van Steenbergen landed the biggest front flip in mountain bike history, but it almost didn’t happen.

Views: 41,593    Faves: 207    Comments: 1


24 hours earlier, Tom dropped in for his first attempt at the 70ft jump with a straight air, just to test the waters. Mid-way through the jump, it became terribly obvious that Tom wasn't going to make it. The next 10 seconds would feel like a lifetime as we watched Tom ditch his bike and plummet into the knuckle of the landing. The moment Tom stood up after his crash and gave us all two thumbs up, we all let out a sigh of relief.

Tom VanSteenbergen successful bid at 70 foot front flip at Turtle Ranch Wyoming. Sterling Lorence Photo.

What Tom had just attempted was risky, but it was calculated risk. That being said, it was still scary as hell to watch, and it was hard to put ourselves in his position to encourage him to try the jump again. But Tom was determined to land it the next time around. So how did he build up the courage to make it happen?

First, it was all hands on deck to adjust the lip of the jump. Tom knew he only needed a few more feet to make it happen, so some height was added to the lip. This small change would have a huge impact and give Tom some peace of mind.

Tom VanSteenbergen successful bid at 70 foot front flip at Turtle Ranch Wyoming. Sterling Lorence Photo.

The second hurdle would be speed. In order to clear the jump, Tom determined that he would have to hit the lip at 60km/h. We fine-tuned the run-in, and with the help of a radar gun, Tom was able to make sure he had the right speed to successfully clear the jump.

Tom VanSteenbergen successful bid at 70 foot front flip at Turtle Ranch Wyoming. Sterling Lorence Photo.

The final hurdle, and arguably the toughest to overcome, would be building to confidence to hit the jump again. For Tom, having fellow Trek teammate Cam McCaul on set to provide some guidance and advice was a huge help.

Tom VanSteenbergen successful bid at 70 foot front flip at Turtle Ranch Wyoming. Sterling Lorence Photo.

bigquotesI couldn't have done that 70ft front flip without Cam! - Tom van Steenbergen

With the new lip in place, Tom in the right mindset, and the weather cooperating better than we could have imagined, it was game on. With Tom at the top of the run-in, we all waited patiently for him to make the call. This would be his first attempt of the day on the newly shaped jump, and after the previous day's result, everyone was pretty tense. When Tom finally decided to drop in and slowly started to rotate forward, we all just held our breath. Then he landed it... and total pandemonium broke loose. None of us had expected Tom to actually front flip the jump on this attempt. With so much on the line Tom had decided the moment was right and managed to pull off one of the gnarliest things ever witnessed on a mountain bike.

Tom VanSteenbergen successful bid at 70 foot front flip at Turtle Ranch Wyoming. Sterling Lorence Photo.

bigquotesI honestly don't know if I would have done it again. I was really scared to do it because I could barely clear the jump in the first place. - Tom van Steenbergen

Tom VanSteenbergen successful bid at 70 foot front flip at Turtle Ranch Wyoming. Sterling Lorence Photo.

unReal is co-produced by Teton Gravity Research and Anthill Films. Written, directed and edited by Anthill Films. Presented by Sony in association with Shimano and Trek. Additional support for the film is provided by the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Evoc, and Pinkbike.com.

To get the latest episodes of Mind the Gap, subscribe to the Teton Gravity Research and Anthill Films YouTube Channels.

Photos: Sterling Lorence / @eyeroam / @sterlinglorence

Music: Myles Away - Death Row


MENTIONS @anthill @TetonGravityResearch @trek @tomvansteenbergen @shimano @WhistlerMountainBikePark @evocsports @sterlinglorence


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Author Info:
anthill avatar

Member since May 17, 2009
179 articles

44 Comments
  • 185 0
 if only he had landed the one at rampage... by far the best trick attempt of the event
  • 44 0
 i literally had no nails left on my fingers during that run.
  • 6 1
 and he did it on the first run !! if he had landed that, his second run would have been pretty...
  • 26 3
 I can do that hold my juice box!!!!
  • 3 1
 He's going to win this year with that trick.
  • 78 0
 you know things are getting serious when you break out the radar gun
  • 64 1
 What's crazy is 5 years ago just a straight air of that jump would have made people's jaw drop. Video segments just keep getting more nuts
  • 2 0
 Wonder how much further they can push it! Next 10 years will be interesting.
  • 47 2
 Not even sure he had fun by doing this...
  • 62 2
 While doing it I doubt, but right after his wheels touched the ground... Smile
  • 6 37
flag Jammins (Mar 10, 2015 at 12:29) (Below Threshold)
 The feeling after must of been if one just cum and cum loads....
  • 19 1
 Easy there Schwarzenegger.... this isn't "Pumping Iron"
  • 29 0
 These episodes can't come quick enough. UnReal looks insane!
  • 29 0
 1. You are still walking 2. So stoked to be alive.
  • 25 0
 I look at Tom like he's an equal to me so it's easy for me to relate to him. Here are some reasons I look at him this way:
1) We both have the same TLD t-shirt


Thats about it
  • 11 0
 You could say that people who don't ride bikes wouldn't have an understanding of how's big that really is.... But even us riders could not comprehend how f*cking balls to the walls that was :O Props Tom Van Steenbergen, the soon to be Rampage CHAMPION! Big Grin
  • 6 0
 The commitment level needed to hit a 70 foot jump at over 37 MPH, and then immediately huck yourself forward to do a front flip thereby losing sight of your landing temporarily is beyond what I can relate to. I've done a 50 foot table top jump on a snowboard, but that was a straight air on a jump without a gap and with a more forgiving surface and it was still unnerving.
  • 9 2
 YOUR STILL WALKIN!!!! Cam takes my breath away
  • 3 0
 Wtf is right haha, something this big must require compression adjustment to compensate for the massive balls required... Stoked on the glacier edit
  • 3 0
 so lucky he cleared it the first time. they wouldve taken him out of there on a wheelchair. ankle/ leg buster hip displacement?
  • 5 0
 I'm Flipping out!
  • 2 0
 This encapsulated what I like to see. I'd rather see someone do one trick with massive amplitude than some super tech complicated trick.
  • 2 0
 Tom is a machine. Simply put
  • 2 0
 Holy crap do I ever love mountain biking Smile
  • 2 0
 Oh my, that doesn't look safe.
  • 1 0
 wow that was awesome, big props to him for doing something that made the ultimate fear creep in!
  • 2 0
 Holy flippin' $h!t
  • 1 0
 The dude has some massive BALLS!!!
  • 7 6
 Bring on the next episode already! Let's see some Aggy!
  • 1 0
 I like the cowboy in the first pic; you dont see that trick very often
  • 1 0
 So stoked to watch this clip.
  • 1 0
 Mega props to this guy, seriously , What a f'n badass!
  • 1 0
 June can't come soon enough.
  • 1 0
 Where is the side shot of this? They only show the helmet can shot.
  • 1 0
 "Mindless Hucker"...........we all know THAT guy. AmiRight?
  • 1 0
 Balls like coconuts....
  • 1 0
 fuck. yes.
  • 1 1
 Also... looks like a session. Haha
  • 1 0
 Holy flip!
  • 1 0
 Tease!!!
  • 2 3
 At least Cam didn't talk much.
  • 2 5
 I wish I could get that stoked on life.
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