The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 149 - How Would You Change Rampage?

Oct 27, 2022
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

Last week saw riders face the crumbling red cliffs and chutes of Red Bull Rampage where Brett Rheeder took his second win at what is arguably the world's scariest freeride competition. The sixteenth edition of Rampage also saw the first rail to drop courtesy of Dylan Stark, Szymon Godziek taking commitment to new heights by spinning the first of two massive double drops, and plenty of other rowdiness in the Utah desert. Wind delays, commercial breaks, and questions about judging were also on everyone's minds after the event wrapped up by canceling the riders' second runs.

Today's podcast sees Sarah Moore, Matt Beer, Mike Kazimer, and I chat about all that and more from Rampage, including some ideas on how to improve the contest and if it should still be held every single year.

October 27th, 2022

More wood or no wood?

Podcast presented by Trailforks


Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, LibSyn, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 67 0
 Create the Norbs Award and give it to the most robbed rider that year
  • 4 0
 Agree. I am thinking this could turn into a podium style ranking. Fifth worst miss-scoring, through most egregiously prejudiced (first place).
  • 40 0
 Less time between riders so they can get two laps in before the wind.
  • 19 0
 I had to watch the replay in multiple chunks because they packed so much boring ass bullshit between runs
  • 4 0
 @drakefan705: I tried to watch it and gave up. Four hours for one run per rider? That's almost as bad as an NFL telecast in terms of the ratio of actual action time to broadcast time.
  • 1 0
 It is important that they give each rider 10min to wait for the right wind. We could have done without the backstory in between each rider for sure. When I watched the replay I skipped 5 min of content each rider and it was perfect.
  • 39 0
 I’d like to see that Kia do a run. That thing had more coverage than some riders.
  • 23 0
 All you need is a USB cable and it could be yours.
  • 9 0
 ...The Kia dominated the feed, Judges Pizza was a close 2nd
  • 31 4
 I think they need to decide what Rampage is.

*Personally*, I really enjoy the lines that aren't bike-park smooth, that really don't even allow for park tricks. My recollection is this is what Rampage used to be, but for many riders those are now just the transitions between park jumps.

The same thing happened in "extreme" skiing; I guess I'm just old but in the 80s extreme skiing was finding lines that were natural and rugged, and skiing them with style. Somewhere in the 90s it became finding those same lines, then building kickers and landing zones and seeing how many 360s or backflips you could do.

Not complaining about the latter, it just feels like a very different event. If that's what Rampage is angling for, that's fine, but if we're coming up with our own fantasy event, I'd take the former.
  • 22 0
 Andreu said it best in an interview when asked what freeride is: Q: "What is freeride?" A: (andreu stares at person in disbelief) ... "freeride is ... freeride".

It can be whatever these guys want it to be.
  • 4 0
 @cougar797: Exactly
  • 27 0
 Have a Pinkbike Commenter division where we all get to see just how easy it is to straight air huge drops.
  • 20 1
 Rampage definitely needs a "put your money where your mouth is" class.
  • 24 1
 Peer judged, by that I mean only the riders themselves can judge each other. Also voting only happens after all of the riders have taken all of their runs. They can’t vote for themselves. Each rider votes for the top three runs using a ranked voting method. Also less BS between runs.
  • 17 0
 Also fire the helicopter cameraman and the computer graphics arrow guy and hire whoever flies the drones for the natural selection snowboard competition.
  • 9 0
 Peer judging sounds FAR too liable for tactical voting. Surely having people who have previously competed, so they really understand what it's like to hit these lines, but are no longer competing, so they can be unbiased in their scoring, would be the way forward?

... Wait
  • 5 0
 Yeah, the riders are busy trying to get in the right head space for their run. Or they're enjoying a crazy adrenaline high/relief after their run. Expecting them to be able to pay close attention and be analytical about others runs is probably not realistic.
  • 3 0
 That's why it would happen after all of the runs. If you had good drone footage with a clear view of each riders run it wouldn't be hard.
  • 18 1
 I think a judging platform where each judge focus' on one thing.

Judge 1: Amplitude
Judge 2: Style
Judge 3: Line choice
Judge 4: Tricks
etc etc.

That way there's no discussion, and each judge is only having to deal with one thing, instead of trying to mash together a number they think is fair based on all the criteria every time.
  • 9 0
 I like the idea of not tallying scores until everyone does their first run. So they can all be compared and contrasted and more accurately ranked. The ranking the first guy super low thing and going from there is a pretty flawed system IMO
  • 3 0
 Next question - do you think each of the 4 criteria should be weighted equally? It's Rampage. Shouldn't amplitude be weighted more heavily? Ditto for line choice? Just funny/disappointing that they say Rampage is about the progression, and when you think progression you see all of Zinks famous runs, but in the judging - he isn't necessarily rewarded as someone else can focus on smaller hits with more style (maybe the fact they aren't afraid they might die or break their back has something to do with their flow?) and get judged higher.
  • 14 3
 Anyone that makes it down alive should automatically get a score at least 90. Handing out a score of 62 is basically saying that was a C- effort and a huge insult to the rider and kills the emotional excitement for the viewers. Keep the stoke, stop giving out these barely passing grades to these superstars risking their lives for our entertainment!
  • 9 0
 Idk about 90 but definitely agree that some of the scores are very low relative to how difficult it seemed.
  • 4 0
 But why, you arent comparing it to your school report card.
They arent the same thing.
If you get an 85 in algebra and Lacondeguy gets an 84 at Rampage, the comparison is meaningless.
If every complete run gets a 90+, then you may as well ignore the 9 and just call it a score out of 10.
  • 14 0
 We need some interviews with that guy who does the countdown at the top. He's got to have some stories.
  • 2 2
 my wife convinced him to let him f*ck Smile
  • 11 0
 Rheeders run was so good. He made it look so easy and thats why I think everyone is mad. The style on his tailwhip drop was insane. Looked like a videogame. Perfect catch straight to pedals.
  • 8 0
 Make a more condensed show that’s played later. Give the riders more freedom to drop sooner to beat the afternoon winds. Less arrow graphics showing lines. Rob Warner for annoucer!
  • 8 0
 Make it a two day event. Two runs per day weather permitting. If conditions don’t allow for 4 runs then at least you have 2-3 runs in the 2 days. And, get rid of Sal..
  • 7 1
 Yes get rid of Sal Masekela. His comments about what is going on are equivalent to someone who has never even seen the event before.
  • 6 5
 @srsiri23w: least put Elliot Jackson on, knows about bikes and checks the “diversity” box
  • 2 0
 @srsiri23w: Or get Rob Warner!
  • 7 1
 I would love it to be not live to give riders free reign to go whenever the conditions allow. Also please change the finish area it is anticlimactic to watch a super gnar run to have to pedal on flat ground then uphill. I would love to see a jump right before the finish area.
  • 5 0
 It feels like there is this invisible cap on each riders run based on a predetermined difficulty of their line. If the judges know this before they drop in- it would help if, like diving, they just said that the max a rider can score on this line is blank. I think the whole argument around AL's score this year hinged on that. Commentators looked at the style, variety of tricks, and general excitement but it seems judges had already determined that what he was doing regardless of how well done would score a little less because of the perceived difficulty of his line (the whole DB comment on no drops over 20 feet). Transparency there will help with a lot of the emotional sentiment around scores. Super grateful for all the riders putting their meat on the line and really showing what is possible on the bike. Always terrified for them.
  • 4 0
 More transparency in jduging would be great. More communication between judges and audience before and during event. Look at how pro surfing does it, the judges release their criteria before the event, and the scores from each judge are released for every wave. this lets the fans udnerstand exactly why a run/wave was scored the way it was. For example, in surfing we can always see some surfers get bette scores because they are brazillian. It is very transparent.
  • 4 0
 I’d really like there to be a 30-60 minute lag between filming and airing. That way the wouldn’t have to have riders waiting (like TMac) while they do an interview or advert on TV. It would also mean that they would have more flexibility with wind and weather as each year the wind turns up and seems to bugger up someone’s second (or first) run.

They could then wait and announce the scores/winner live at the end so the results aren’t leaked on social media.
  • 8 1
 Gravel bikes class, E-bike Class, Vintage Class.
  • 5 2
 More build time.
Allow for structures
Reduce the amount of time the online/TV viewer waits for runs
Increase the number of riders and include woman
More transparency in judging
Change the venue every year, esp to avoid wind issues

=> This year I was so frustrated with all the talk and BS line break down and graphics, that I only watched the three top runs.

This ^ is not what you want from someone who previously watched the entire "show".

The question for Redbull is how to regain lost viewers ... cuz this guy ain't gonna watch that show unless it's changed up A LOT.
  • 3 4
 eh I only think more riders including women and reduced time for online/TV would help. I would like less build time and more raw big mountain lines.
  • 5 2
 Would love to see it more like freeride snowboard and skiing. Just look at what's there and ride it. Obviously would be hard to do. But something more natural with less digging would be cool. Somewhere like the big shale hills
  • 2 1
 they should have multiple stops. They could have this in a place like green river
  • 2 0
 Shale riding is so damn boring to watch i don't know how anyone expects that to be a long lasting more entertaining event. Tricks and dialled lines are progression in the sport. The old way was a joke.
  • 1 2
 I agree. We could even make it like the freeride ski tour where the athletes get no practice runs. They stand at the bottom and figure out a line with binoculars and then ski it. Rampage would be so much better if they adopted this approach
  • 1 0
 @CM999: Tell me you haven't truly been to virgin without telling me you havent been to virgin. it would also be impossible, boring (because the lines would be so mellow) and extremely dangerous for the riders
  • 6 3
 I lost interest because it looks too artificial. I preferred the raw descends and drops, this just looks more and more like any slopestyle contest. Still would like to see it in person, maybe that would change my mind, it's impressive for sure, but I just don't watch it on TV anymore.
  • 3 0
 One thing I'd like to see change is bring back the use of power tools while building your line. I don't understand why they'd want to make the riders suffer picking away at rock for days when you could do the job with an impact hammer in a matter of minutes or hours. Or maybe bring on a bigger dig crew. I noticed a lot of riders not having enough time to finish their line.
  • 1 0
 Or maybe get rid of dig crews so it all becomes about time choice like the skiing / snowboarding one is.
  • 3 0
 I'm here for the comments.
Rider judged for sure - the riders by far best know the merits of the best overall run because they're riding the course, it would crown the true deserved winner every time, it would spurn progressivity creativity and originality in a massive way and would for sure make it safer for the athletes due a different atmosphere for the event. Also can have peoples choice awards and interactive content to involve the public.
Definitely need to hold for best weather/wind window day similar to big mountain ski/board events.
Make it so the lines can't be so perfectly groomed and smooth, yes line making and choice and tricks are the progression of the future but this is on a mountain and should be more raw and this would highlight the especially talented riders ie riding variable surfaces or pinpointing their speed/braking/turns on their run.
Increase the # of riders by 6
Andreu got robbed
  • 2 0
 Just add a very slightly higher scoring for creativity and originality. That's all that's needed. The same people would still be at the top, but it would be enough to encourage more of the kinds of things that it seems like people really want to see.
  • 7 0
 Ebike category
  • 3 0
 Rampage hill climb edition?
  • 3 0
 Build a big dome to go over the area to block wind… no, but seriously I think you should give these guys a bit more build time. Maybe one extra person on the team? Gives the riders a bit more practice hopefully.
  • 5 1
 Take a leaf out of formation's book and get rid of the scoring and contest element. I think the event is amazing but let down by the contest element.
  • 2 0
 The event is amazing and always has been. But they need to change judging. I've been watching for as many years as Rampage has been an event, and every year there's one or more riders getting screwed. Lacon this year wasn't even the worst robbery I've seen, fml.
  • 4 0
 My biggest complaint was how they kept comparing mountain biking to every sport under the sun. Can we just not talk about the mountain biking for mountain biking sake?
  • 4 0
 No Salema Masekela. So many more competent commentators who actually have a MTB background. Why do they make us listen to this guy
  • 3 0
 Just like XGAMES. Live leaderboard. No actual number or score get announced. Hate seeing large gaps in points. If anything post scores after podium.
  • 1 0
 I know Hardline has similar features but it is Race. Just happens to be on the (deliberately) hardest race track in the world.

Rampage on the other hand is a 'Freeride Event' - whatever that means. The best people qualified to judge IMO are experienced freeriders, ie the judges. We should trust their experience and professionalism more than we do. I guess it's fun to disagree, and TV never does it justice, particularly at a Rampage site.
  • 1 0
 Pretty convinced that next year or soon we are going to see these guys backflip-tailwhip some of those features, but anyway insane level! Actually I like the fact that this is happeing every year, not only to be able to watch it but also for the athletes, I'm afraid that the 1 year gap may convince some sponsor to support them less, or push them to do more to fill that gap. I would also like to see the split scores, but I'm pretty sure that will not convince those who want to rant about the result Smile
I wouldn't mind if they would compress the time between riders though, especially when the forecast say wind later on. The athlete profile/background is nice though, I guess not everybody knows all the riders so well.
  • 1 0
 All they need to do is be honest and admit is a slow motion slopestyle invitational promotion event to sell drinks. It takes far too long with huge gaps between runs which means it will never be a TV thing for all but the most diehard fan. Its only watchable as an edited 30 minute package.
  • 3 1
 Since Judging is so subjective and from what I can tell has no true guidelines- they should offer an "e-vote" or a peoples vote...

So the people can judge
  • 6 1
 More rails!!!
  • 3 1
 Add another day or 2 for a bit more digging and practice. Riders where stressed and riding unfinished features that led to a few injuries.
  • 4 0
 Have the riders also be the judges...
  • 4 0
 Imagine Henry on this podcast...
  • 3 3
 I would say I'd like to see more natural lines. Maybe they could have two categories: Natural and Slopestyle.
Have a rule for the Natural category saying that you're only allowed 10% groomed lines in your run or something like that.

Personally, I don't really care for Slopestyle and would prefer Au Natural Baby.
  • 4 0
 Now we need a podcast with the guy who edits the Friday Fails videos
  • 5 2
 1. F**k off the judges
2. Turn it into a race against the clock
3. Warner to commentate
4. The end!
  • 3 0
 I’d make an impact…. crater
  • 1 0
 Maybe add a public vote for ‘People’s Choice’ although looking at which bikes people liked before the event I think that would be fairly bias.
  • 1 0
 Dig teams of 5 per rider ,more practice time,a second run in and more line sharing . That way the lines would be more epic and the riders primed to shred.
  • 3 0
 38:55 Levy is sparking a
  • 1 0
 I love how Levy is always trying to get Matt to admit to being nervous or something and Matt always stoically denies everything.
  • 1 0
 A big part of what was wrong with Rampage this year can be summed up in 4 letters... E-S-P-N. It's Rampage dammit! Stop the fu-fu and let the riders ride.
  • 1 0
 I’d like to see a Rampage event happen in the PNW. Raw forest lines with jumps in the trees, cliff drops, all the good stuff.
  • 1 0
 A rider judged (top 3 run ranking) progression and stoke style jam event sounds good Levy
  • 1 0
 Run it over multiple day window so if it gets blown out, riders can finish the next day
  • 1 3
 "riders that go first get lower scores." I don't really think that's the case. If the first rider gets a 75 and nobody has a better run, the 75 wins. Its not a letter grade like a test lol, its a scale to compare riders to other riders.
  • 1 0
 Mulitday event but still limit the number of runs. More transparent about how runs where scored.
  • 2 0
 Change venue to Himalayan mountains
  • 1 0
 Was rampage allowed to morph too freely over time without a clear consensus about what its supposed to be?
  • 3 3
 Have a women’s division on the sam3 weekend (or let them compete with the guys)
  • 1 0
 It's so good you only want to watch it every other year?
  • 4 6
 Boring to watch, just go riding!
  • 1 0
 it was boring to watch, next year i wont bother watching.
  • 2 4
 two day "jam" style event with less build time for the riders
Below threshold threads are hidden

Copyright © 2000 - 2023. All rights reserved.
dv42 0.038048
Mobile Version of Website