Rampage - A Blank Canvas

Sep 21, 2014 at 12:39
Sep 21, 2014
by Malcolm Mclaws  
 
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Rampage 2014 is closing in as the days tick by. This year a new site, a blank canvas has been given to riders to create a new masterpiece. It's on the other side of the start ridge from the old site that was used for the past 3 Red Bull Rampage events. To say a fresh start was needed is an understatement, last years event looked like a goat tracked mountain with lines crossing, it was hard to find a unique line.

The big ticket wooden features got the most press and Youtube hits. But that's not the true meaning of the origins of Rampage. We want raw dirt lines to be chiselled out the Utah rock with pick axes, the red dirt dug with shovels then packed for lips and landings by riders and dig crews. Take something raw and create a unique line way down the face of a insanely steep mountain filled with ridges and gullies that will eat you up if you didn't do it right. All done by hand by the same rider who will attempt to become the next Red Bull champion. Lets keep it raw with NO wood people post on the internet, let the riders do it all with zero help but maybe some bro's. Sorry but that's just not possible at this new site, the top is steep and scary. Get past that and down several ridge lines of your choice and into a chasm to a dead end run out is all you'll get.

The bottom isn't what the old site allowed and is flatter with a section you'll need to pedal. Pedal at Rampage no way! this is a gravity event right. That's why Red Bull built some wooden features - 3 of them, to tie the top to the bottom and help with the flow of the runs. Trust me the scary shit starts right after the rider leaves the start gate. The lines to get you down and through the first rock bands is where the gnar is, stupid steep and dangerous with zero room for error. If you survive that and the following 30 ft drops and reach a wooden feature you'll be one of the lucky ones. The wood will help some riders finish off their runs and add to the way into the finish coral. So what if Rampage has "Got Wood", get over it and enjoy what each rider tries to do with a blank canvas.

Signage at Rampage

I contacted some riders with this question before I was unsure of the possibility of no wood this year:

Can you give me an idea about how you feel and what a blank canvas at this years Rampage means to you? With a new venue to build fresh lines and "possibly" no wooden features we maybe getting back to the roots of Rampage, fresh, big mountain lines? This is what the riders had to say:

bigquotesThe new venue was necessary. I couldn't believe how there were even any new lines last year because that zone is too tracked out. Rampage started as a completely raw site built from scratch and this year is exactly that. I vote for no more wood and leave the zone for the riders to build 100 percent of their own line. That said, if they do build something awesome, it's kind of sand bagging yourself if you don't take advantage of it. - Cam Zink

Rampage 2014

bigquotesI'm stoked for another rampage, it's exciting to see it at a new venue . It's going to be a different mindset coming into the event, with no existing lines riders can ride any part of the mountain with no reference to how lines have been scored in the past, there will be a lot of digging and testing new features going on! It's gonna be rad! - Kelly McGarry

Rampage 2014

bigquotesIt will never go back to the roots! Rampage, it's a TV show now so it will never be the same! This is my year, that's all I can say! - Andreu Lacondeguy

Rampage 2014

bigquotesWe all know that there is no way that they will give us a complete blank canvas at the new site, which is a bit of a bummer. But, having a new site with no pre-existing lines gets everyone excited. Those who have the eye for seeing lines out of nothing are going to really excel here, and that's getting back to the roots. - Graham (Aggy) Agassiz

Rampage 2014

bigquotesI feel it will be the same, everyone is going to war and a new venue is not gonna change the game, the North American riders will come with a big crew to shape their lines and we are gonna be just a few per team. But what I like with this game is to have the opportunity to do my thing and do what I like the most, ride my bike in the desert - Pierre Ferry

Rampage 2014

bigquotesYeah I'm stoked for sure. Blank canvas I think will put everyone on a similar level. There are guys who have ridden the now old venue year after year and know what to expect. But with the venue change the rookies and the vets of rampage will all be starting from scratch. - KC Deane, Pro skier

Rampage 2014

bigquotesWell yes I am very stoked that they changed the course . New opportunities and sick lines to do . I can't wait to see the new venue. The wood parts aren't bad at all but I've already seen too much . This time it's gonna be a real Rampage. - Thomas Genon

Rampage 2014

bigquotesI'm really excited for a fresh zone. Making riders pick and create their entire runs is the best thing Rampage could do. I feel like this fresh slate will be a huge equalizer and at the same time a huge separator. I'm psyched. - Geoff (Gully) Gulevich

Rampage 2014

bigquotesStarting on a new canvas means a lot to me, at the old site almost all the mountain was covered in old lines. It would have been very difficult to make a safe line down the mountain due to the lack of space to build. Starting on a fresh zone almost gives everyone a fair chance at building a line, and for me that means a lot. I don't consider myself a big mountain rider so any advantages I can get, ill take. I don't have any expectations moving into the last Diamond event of the year but I will work my hardest to deliver a line and a run that will impress myself. - Brett Rheeder

Rampage 2014

bigquotesI am stoked to ride the new site this year. I looked at it last year, but don't really remember much of it. I hope its steep, no wind and full of lines. I just wanna do full runs this year and have a good time. - Mads (Makken) Haugen

Rampage 2014

bigquotesThere's gonna be wood features I'm sure, they can't resist. I think it's a great fresh start. You're going to need to have a sold build crew sense 100% of your line is new. And the wind is a lot better on that side so that will help out huge for the riders. Can't wait to ride the venue. - Logan Binggeli (Injured now and could possibly ride)

Rampage 2014

bigquotesThe Red Bull Rampage was always an event that let the athletes use the terrain as their canvas, to interpret it any way or form. That in itself is why this event is and always will be the sickest form of big mountain riding. All the different athletes coming in and using the terrain in different ways is pretty dang rad if ya ask me. - Darren Berrecloth (shoulder injury - possibly out)

Rampage 2014

bigquotesI'm happy there's a new venue. I like the fact that there's no wooden features this year and the idea of a fresh start. I'm looking forward to look for a complete new line and try to find something fast and big mixed with a few sweet jumps and some flow. Can't wait to see what all the guys come up with and to hang out and ride with my friends in the desert. - Nico Vink

Rampage 2014

bigquotesI'm absolutely stoked over the new course, it means a lot for the riders and for the sport and you can be sure the riding that comes this year will push the sport even further. It's a very unique set of circumstances that should lead to shredding of epic proportions and I'm just as excited to compete as I am to watch it. We've got some of the most insane talent from the slope style scene showing up with some of the riders from the very first Rampage, so we have two diverse skill sets that'll play out completely differently on a blank canvas. Also this is the first time we've had a raw course combined with today's talent, and I think it's going to be very interesting to watch old school freeride attempt to mesh with the new meaning of "freeride" as taglined by the FMB with their slope style roster of events. I'm an old school hucker at heart and love the idea of no wood and getting back to our roots, which is simply a bike and a damn good mountain to play on. The zone provided this year has the potential to be one of the best zones yet to reveal the true spirit of Rampage, or at least the true spirit of big mountain. Just guys sending huge lines that have their own individual style, not being forced to ride existing trails that don't suit their style. The ability to build a completely new and raw line top to bottom that fits you perfectly is something I'm really looking forward too, and something I've yet to experience as a Rampage competitor - Wil White

Rampage 2014

So build it and they will come? I spent a day as a digger at Rampage this year and got an understanding of what it takes to create the lines these riders will try to ride. This is a unique event, the best one of the year, so wait and watch what these riders along with others create from a "Blank Canvas" I'm stoked and frightened to shoot this again, bring on Red Bull Rampage!

Words and all photos by Malcolm Mclaws.
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97 Comments

  • + 76
 No wood!!!
  • + 7
 Please?
  • + 50
 There will be wood. Which is a shame as the resounding answers from the riders is they don't want it.
  • + 9
 I think it would be better like how everybody else says: NO WOOD!
  • + 155
 Nothing worse then getting wood that not wanted...
  • + 5
 haha no doubt!
  • + 16
 There has to be at least one wooden feature with Oakley logos plastered all over it... gotta think of the sponsors now even it's not what the riders want Frown
  • + 19
 I have never minded the wood features, just as long as they look minimal (unlike last year). Having the rocky and steep top, and big airs with wood at the bottom makes sense to me. The wood also gives the euro guys with small dig crews a fair chance.
  • + 30
 When you see the site, you'll know it wasn't a bad choice and its not overkill by any means. The top of the course is super steep and that's where a lot of the gnar will go down (really only two big spines to ride on from off the top, the rest will go down the face) and where it seems a lot of riders will spend most of their time building. The wooden features (3 of them) are in places where it makes sense including another 72ft. canyon gap with a trickable lip, a big trickable step down that riders are stoked on and a big moto-style hip towards the finish. That's all and I already saw multiple people building their lines around some of the features. I can't really attest if an all natural line can win but some of the lines up top are going to be so insane that they can easily match someone tricking one of the pre-made features. Wood or no wood, who cares as long as its adding something and not restricting line choices. Oh yeah, did I mention its really steep? It felt like it took half the time to hike to the top than the old course... its nuts oh and if you're going to watch, its much more spectator friendly this year. You can see most of the action from certain spots.
  • + 5
 I got wood..
  • - 9
flag jhuckins (Sep 21, 2014 at 17:02) (Below Threshold)
 Scott-townes...that was long,....like WooD
  • + 10
 What can I say? I love Rampage... and lamp.
  • + 2
 We like it "raw".
  • - 3
 Touche'........
  • - 3
 In the PNW we like it wet too.
  • - 8
flag preach (Sep 21, 2014 at 19:23) (Below Threshold)
 everyone that is all "no wood"....seriously... remember when evel knievel did his thing...? yeah, I'm glad for wood.
It's called "enhancing" ...get over it and shut the f up.
  • + 0
 shoulda kept it 100% dirt
  • + 11
 I hope there's a water slide.
  • + 5
 I like where your heads at, maybe a zipline??
  • + 15
 Let the bitching and whining about "Redbull doesn't support the riders enough!", "Norbs got robbed", "The wood features aren't 'core enough bro!", and "Mountain biking is too commercialized now" begin.

Redbull is footing the bill for an awesome event, Norbs can try again, wood features will probably be there for advertising and a "focal point" for spectators/TV/photos, and considering the risks these guys take and the talent required, they deserve prime-time TV coverage. Andreu Lacondeguy is right, it IS a TV show... if it wasn't, no one would be footing the bill for the event, so I won't be complaining.

Rampage will be awesome, as it always is!
  • + 5
 I love the idea and spirit of having no wood. but if means less flow and watching riders pedal through a flat section versus wood features that allow them to carry flow, I'll take the wood so the overall event is a higher level of riding.
  • + 2
 If the riders really want it to be a no wood event they should all get together and agree not to ride the wood, simple as that, plenty of other line choices.
  • + 4
 Norbs got robbed for sure though
  • + 1
 woods no goods
  • + 2
 I don't comment much because I'm not a very good, I just like to watch the videos, but I wanted to comment on the "No wood" opinion.

As a mountain biker now, I agree. I get a thrill off watching them shred the natural drops and self made trails and jumps dug out of the dirt. However, it was about 2-3 years ago watching a Red Bull Rampage that got good coverage because of the wood features. That got me into mountain biking. I don't think it would get the coverage it does if it didn't have that ridiculous sender. It created a focal point that, as a non-mtb viewer, had me even more interested in watching. Every run I'd be watching to see if they'd hit the big silly sender or not. It was watching this program that actually got me into riding.

Now, when I watch, and as someone that understands the sheer talent of just riding and dropping those spines, I could care less if they hit all the wood features. The wood features pull in viewership and attention that in my opinion wouldn't be there otherwise. In order for events like this to grow, it kind of need the silly balance of the wood features to draw in spectators.
  • + 2
 Or just give the riders a month to build rather than a few days , half of them won't even get to hit their lines till the big day , give them more time to build , more time to session.
  • + 1
 That's what they used to do but being private land and an organized event where people have to sign waivers and such, its not possible. Also the fact that being a more structured event and part of a series, you cannot give riders an advantage over others. The same time building and the same time practicing riding what you built should be equal for everyone. It has its downsides for sure but people forget that there was a very good chance this event was never going to return after 04... I'm happy its back even with these very minor changes.
  • + 64
 Hoping Andreu takes the win this year.
  • + 12
 Yep...sounds like he wants it to........."This is my year, that's all I can say"!
  • + 3
 Or someone like Will White. His run was massively underscored last time around. Will had a crazy line that was right at the heart of the spirit of Rampage but clearly missed out from not being able to flip the more groomed or wooden features which is a massive shame for the event.
  • + 4
 I was hoping that I was going to take the win this year, but guess my invite was lost in the post.
  • + 1
 I've been incredibly stoked for him for 3 years now and was so disappointed for his result last year. I'm cheering so hard for him this time. He is such an inspiration in freeride MTB + he is such an artist and awsome person! BUENA SUERTE ANDREU!!!
  • + 0
 There's wood on the course this year don't worry. I dug last weekend and can say this is one gnarly course these guys have to ride this year!
  • + 41
 For f*ck's sake, is it really that difficult to edit an article you've written?
  • + 14
 Seriously. This is pretty bad IMO
  • + 7
 Kill it with fire ffs! I have never gotten a headache trying to read a pb article until now.
  • + 4
 Thank you! All I could think while reading this was "Did this guy take high-school English... or pass it?"
  • + 43
 Lets go Andreeeeuu!!!!!
  • + 3
 Opt for any FEST riders to grab a win.
  • + 1
 That's what I was thinkin........
  • + 19
 My brain hurts from reading this crap. It's like a third grader trying to capture the tone of a conversation with no understanding of punctuation or run-on sentences.
  • + 12
 Dude, Will White knows what's up! Nailed everything right on the head in his statement.
Is Nico Vink riding this year? For some reason I thought he wasn't? If so, SICK!! Big Grin
So stoked for this new zone and what the riders come up with. Should be pretty exciting!!
  • + 12
 I've got wood.
  • + 7
 Andreu and Aggy telling it like it is!

Let's hope some of the true big mountain guys take it again rather than a trick pony. Stait/ Zink/ Sorge/ Super T/ Simmons/ CG are hardly known for their tricks and represent the type of rider who should be taking Rampage (as they all have in the past). Let's hope this year continues in the same vein
  • + 7
 Jeezusss the first 3 paragraphs were barely readable. I kept trying to re-read sentences but they made absolutely no sense!
  • + 3
 It's awesome to change locations, but the event still needs to fufill the wants and needs of NBC. This is the main mountain biking event that the public sees, and big wood hucks and drops make good TV. Anyway, so stoked to see some new, more natural lines!
  • + 1
 I agree. It's the nature of the beast, so lets just embrace it. I couldn't believe how many people bitched and moaned last year about the FREE event they were enjoying.
  • + 5
 Wish Red Bull would base their decision from a rider vote. They can still slap Red Bull logos all over the desert for the spectators at home.
  • + 2
 thats not a bad idea, i do think that this event must be the hardest to judge
  • + 5
 I agree, they should listen to what the riders want.... They also need to pay these guys a lot better and offer a bigger prize purse for the amazing show they put on!
  • + 1
 There definitely needs to be a bigger rider purse. Common. There is definitely more money somewhere. I say 50K minimum for first.
  • + 2
 Been watchin the weather forecast.......suppose to be thunder storms those days! For practice an finals,??? I really hope not , what if tho......what if it gets rained out? What will happen....change days, make practice finals? I really hope the forecast is wrong, we don't need any interruptions like last year!
  • + 1
 I wouldn't look to much into the forecast this far out. It's pretty much just a guess at this point. I've read that forecasters don't really nail down a solid forecast until a fee days out.
  • + 0
 Rain rules wind sucks.
  • + 2
 I think they should take the wood out, it seems to add to the risk of this event...

Unfortunately I think a death at Rampage will happen eventually... giving everyone who participates an "eye opener" as to why they are choosing to endorse lining the pockets of corporate Red bull; at the expense of young talented men.

I think the risk outweighs the reward for those who participate.
  • + 2
 It's not so much the prize money. It's the endorsements that come from winning. Look at CG as the prime example. Guy has a Ferrari!
  • + 1
 ^ Not this BS again. CG didn't make money through endorsements as such, certainly not in this day and age. His pennies come from investing the large wages from the days when DH payed very handsomely. There isn't any money like that in any form of MTB nowadays regardless of how many endorsements you may have.

Got to say on the OP's point , when Tom vS is talking about front flipping a canyon gap or you wonder what guys like Zink may have in their minds.... it doesn't bear thinking about the consequences of getting that wrong
  • + 1
 All of these guys WANT to be there. No one is making them do this insane shit. All that crap about the riders not getting paid enough and Redbull not treating every rider like a Hollywood celebrity and paying out massive insurance premiums is ridiculous. These guys want the glory (and the rewards that come with it) but they all seem to enjoy doing this. This kind of event separates the men from the boys, and if they don't want to do it, they don't have to.
  • + 1
 Sure they want to be there but for the money Redbull make on this they could at least factor in the riders needs a bit more- that was the discussion last year. I'm not sure of the details of this year's event, but things like not running finals around a TV schedule regardless of weather, having more time for practice, etc. Not just money for the riders but some more safety considerations too. It isn't to say that every rider has to be flown in to the site each morning in a private heli sipping champagne but more that the organisation, format and pennies could be rethinked slightly to try and readdress the balance of the event taking so much from the riders but giving back comparatively little.
  • + 1
 Separating the men from the boys.... hummm.. not sure you call putting your life at risk for glory, money, or status being a man. I'm going to have to review what being a man is, but I'm pretty sure that's not it.
  • + 4
 If they abandon the old site I'm curious as to how much effort is put into replacing it into it's natural canvas?
  • + 7
 A bottle of lighter fluid and a match for the woodwork and a few winter storms and she'll be all good.
  • + 2
 The only thing that was done was they took out all the wood features and removed the sandbags. Most lips and lines are still there
  • + 5
 The location of the old course needs some serious rehab. That's a serious question Red Bull needs to address, and I hope they do. The old course will be a scar out there until someone gives it attention.
  • + 2
 Given the soil and rock is so loose I would have though it would rehab itself over a few years of wind and rain?
  • - 3
 Even though it is still a popular riding destination the majority of what's left at the old site will return to it's previous state withing a few short years. Like I already said all the sand bags and wood features are gone and the crypto biotic soil will grow back. It's really not that huge of an impact.
  • + 0
 Ya just think about how that place formed. Its gets a lot of weather and naturally deteriorates. That said, its now and will forever be an historic sporting site.
  • + 1
 @alexshirley, Do they take out the sand bags each year, or did they do it when they retired the site? As far as I remember, it seemed like Semenuk's landing and Brendawg's take off were still there last year after a year of the elements. There are plenty of old trails out there that are likely not getting much work done or many riders, and are in about the same shape each time I ride them.
  • + 0
 The sandbags were just barely taken out last week.
  • - 2
 "the crypto biotic soil will grow back. It's really not that huge of an impact."

Uhh, did someone skip science class? Try a minimum of 45 years to redevelop and potentially 10,000 years (geochange.er.usgs.gov/sw/impacts/biology/crypto). I love watching rampage but we can't expect riders to get a "fresh canvass" every couple years on which to wreck havoc. What is wrong with riding somewhere that already has a line down it? this isn't 18" of utah pow. it's ancient soil. Our rampage hero's can get creative on the previous years venues too. after this event they should consider only going back to 'old' venues to change it up. the impact is enough already.
  • + 1
 Thank you, snomaster. The land didn't reclaim itself between 2008 and 2010, and it sure didn't from 2010 to 2012. Idiocy to think that a few short years is all it will take. Not to mention the fact that some of the canyons have become landfills for red bull cans. Snomaster upped the ante, so any other points as to how quickly the land will get back to its previous state should be slightly more than pulling an assumption out of dream land. Building a trail in crypto does not make you a geologist, neither does being a local.
  • + 1
 My head hurts after reading the start of this article. Is it really that hard to find someone who can write a proper sentence? Or perhaps an editor to look at the copy before this goes up on the site? This article feels like it was written by a high school student 30 minutes before the assignment was due.

"Dude, did you finish your Rampage article?"
"Is that due today? Damn, I was playing Grand Theft Auto all night"
  • + 3
 I'm looking forward to this years rampage no matter if it has wood or not. It will be gnarly and it will be rad. Just one week to go! Smile
  • + 2
 Couldn't be more stoked about it! Keeping thumbs for both nadreu and Aggy, two most steezy bastards out there...
  • + 1
 i kinda like the woodwork. but i'm not riding there, even if could, my balls arent big enough . therefore my opinion is meaningless...
  • + 1
 Sounds like a good compromise to me. Hitting the wood or not it's going to be amazing to watch. It's further away from slope style so that's a good thing. Bring it on!
  • + 2
 Dude please learn to write because this is terrible!
  • + 1
 Why did they choose this venue if they had to put wood there to keep the flow???
  • + 1
 Needs wooden features to keep it popular to the masses
  • + 1
 2015 send the RAT to rampage!
  • + 1
 This is USA, so there are stickers with warning on each stone.
  • + 2
 no bearcaw again. Frown ?
  • + 1
 Got robbed or got wooded ? :-)
  • - 1
 No wood. After, take back our local trail. ... or at least some machine built ones.
  • + 1
 Will White!!
  • - 2
 Why don't we have the next venue in china. If the dudes from where the trail ends say that its the best big mountain riding in the world.
  • + 5
 It was in Gobi desert, Mongolia.
  • + 0
 Not too sure I'd be risking my life without Obama care close by.
  • + 0
 This event is giving me wood
  • + 1
 Can't wait...
  • + 0
 I think the Main contest here is the fest vs fmb...
  • - 1
 andreu stop being gay and take the oppertunity that you have.. If its a tv-show.. then goo home!
  • + 0
 No video yet? awe.
  • - 1
 does anybody know if they're gunna use WOOD in this year's event?
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