CATCHING UP WITH AGGY
We took some time to chat with Aggy about his experience last year at Rampage; his crash, qualifying first, and the hard decision to pull out due to injury, as well as, looking forward to this week; choosing lines, sleepless nights, and redemption. One of our favourites to watch, we can't wait to see what he has in store for this year.
Do you have a pre-Rampage training routine?
It's funny because I see lots of people "training" for Rampage during the few weeks prior. They're either riding trails or dirt jumping, trying to learn tricks and get used to the feel of their DH bikes. For me, I've been riding my DH bike all season long. I know how it works, how it feels, how it jumps. Honestly I spend very little time on the bike before Rampage. Instead I like to clear my head and take the time to mentally prepare myself for what's to come, and the best way for me to do that is to go fishing or hunting. Pulling out of finals last year must have been an incredibly hard decision to make given that you placed first in qualies with a flawless run, are you looking for redemption this year?
It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make, but in the end I still know it was the smart one. I'm for sure looking for redemption, but most of all I just want to make this year's event as fun as possible and just let everything fall into place as it always has. Do you think you would have made a different decision last year about pulling out due to injury had you not previously experienced a life changing injury (as documented in Ashes to Agassiz)? Do you think you place more focus on the longevity of your career now?
Yes and no, I'm still hungry as ever but I've learned a lot over the years and have become a lot wiser. There's a lot of strategy involved with this event, and you really need to make smart choices out there. How is your MCL feeling these days?
100%. What you do on a bike, especially at an event like Rampage, is incomprehensible to most of the world, after crashing in qualifying last year on your drop, how did you get your head around hitting it again in you second attempt - and nailing it?
It was a mind f*ck to say the least! Deep down I knew I could do it, but having that immense pressure on my shoulders didn't make it easy. With only one chance left to get into finals I flicked the switch and dropped in. I'll never forget that feeling coming into the finish line though, never felt so alive! How is your process for selecting and building your line different with returning to a site that you know, as opposed to last year with it being a brand new location?
It was pretty easy for me, I knew I'd be going the same route but just adding a couple things. It will be really tough for those guys who weren't here last year, there's not a lot of options anymore. After seeing what everyone did last year, obviously everyone's going to want to go where the banger features already are - it's tough, respect for other rider's hard work is quickly tossed out the window by many. Last year you teamed up with Andreu to build a line together, it earned your first place in qualifying and Andreu first place in finals - do you plan to team up with him again this year?
Same, same. Who's on your build team this year and what skills/experience do they bring to the table?
Taylor, Miles, and Luke.
Taylor has been coming to Rampage with me since 2010, and his experience and knowledge with the desert terrain over the years is crucial when building out here. Matty is just a really good dude to have around and to keep the good vibes flowin', which is key in such a high stress environment. Luke is a young strong dude who really goes the extra mile, such a beast! He's dug for many riders over the years, and I can fully trust him with whatever build he puts together for me. As a package these boys kill it so hard, and I am very thankful to have them out here and in my corner. The mental aspect of Rampage can overshadow the physical part, last year had a lot of extra stress with the weather, how do you prepare for that?
The toughest thing about this event is getting mentally prepared. When you're throwing your life on the line for nickels and dimes your mind tends to wander. I like to keep to myself a little bit leading up to the event - go fishing, hunting, really just try not to think about it too much. Then the sleepless nights start happening, not because I'm afraid, but because I'm envisioning my run in my head over and over. You have had a busy season between premiering your movie to the world and organizing and participating in Fest Series, among other things, what happens when rampage is over? Do you get a break or are you on to another project?
By this time of the year I'm starting to become so burnt out, and Rampage fully drains you physically and mentally! Afterwards I'm doing nothing but hunting and chilling!