This morning was fresh here in the Utah desert. It was cold and crisp – and incredibly dusty – as we rolled into the new canyon that will be hosting Red Bull Rampage this year. Being the first day that media is allowed onsite, most were more eager than the athletes, arriving onsite before them. But there is something incredibly cool about standing at the bottom of the Rampage course in nearly complete silence and imagining what the riders will make of the lines they’ve etched into the rock.
The new location has succeeded in shedding the skin of last year’s drama surrounding line ‘stealing.’ In appearance it’s not any bigger, but it already has a calmer and friendlier vibe. Athletes seem less tense, even more jovial than in the past; perhaps it has to the do with the mandatory rest day or less pressure with media not allowed on site until today. They might have less anxiety with the lack of a qualification round; allowing everyone to focus on the same goal or it could even be that there are simply less riders this year – whatever the key is, this year already seems to be leaning in favour of the athletes.
The athletes and their dig crews spent much of today still building – some teams working together to cover more territory. When the sun finally dropped behind the ridge, riders began to session some of their sections and some of the gnarlier and most anticipated lines of the competition.
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