Proving Grounds, a place where riders can come to show their worth and compete to earn a spot at the biggest freeride mountain bike event of the year. The inaugural 2019 event had a total of 18 international athletes on the docket who were prepared to battle it out to take the top three spots. Due to a crash at Black Sage the day before Jordie Lunn was unfortunately out of the competition, as was injured Swedish rider Oscar Harnstrom. The remaining 16 riders woke up bright and early on event day in preparation for the big event and to squeeze in the last few practice runs in the morning.
After a thorough riders' meeting, the number one plate of Jaxson Riddle was set to drop in a 9:30. As has become the norm with freeride/freestyle events, the wind and rain proved to be the biggest challenge throughout the day. The first 12 riders were able to take their first runs before the wind became too strong. The next six hours became a battle with mother nature and we saw everything from howling gusty wind to a high desert downpour. After what seemed like days, the dirt finally dried enough for the riders to get back on course. The athletes took multiple test runs on the lower section before deciding that there was enough speed to complete a full top to bottom pull. Of course, the wind still decided to be a nuisance and never fully died down. Thankfully there was enough of a lull that the remaining four riders were able to finish their first runs and then everyone was able to flow directly into their second and finals runs of the day.
In the end, the young guns came out on top with 22-year-old Bend local Reed Boggs taking the first spot, followed closely by Johny Salido in second and Utah native DJ Brandt in third. With these wins, the victors earned their invitation to the big event in the desert next month. See you guys and Rampage soon!