“From day one, the second I saw [Ryan McNulty] come down the skills park at Mt. Bachelor, [I thought] ‘that kid is different,’ ” says Kyle Jameson, Red Bull Rampage judge and trail builder.
“The moment I realized Ryan McNulty has that full package, the ‘X Factor,’ the staying power to make it somewhere in this sport was when he showed up to Proving Grounds  on a borrowed bike,” says freeride icon Cameron McCaul, “And no guarantee that he was going to be allowed into the competition.”
“Ryan maybe had a week of riding on that [borrowed] bike,” says Jameson.
“When he was put into [Proving Grounds 2021], everyone was like ‘okay, this is a little bit of a dice roll,’ ” says McCaul.
“Everybody is talking about [Ryan McNulty], he is impressing people everywhere he goes,” says McCaul, “And that’s taking him one step closer to where he wants to end up.”
Most recently, McNulty earned Volcom’s Best Whip award at the Todo O Nada freeride event in Chile (Jan. 8-14) topping some of MTB’s best—among Brandon Semenuk, Ryan “R-Dogg” Howard, Andreu Lacondeguy and others.
“The other thing with Ryan: He has a work ethic,” says Jameson. “He had a [regular] job before this whole thing [with mountain biking]. He knows what it takes to have to work, so I also feel that plays a lot to what Ryan’s doing and his whole path [to success].”
“I think a pro mountain biker is just someone who puts all their effort into their passion,” says Ryan McNulty, “And wants to be fully-involved in that scene.”
Last year, McNulty was an alternate rider for Rampage—while unable to dig his own line in 2022, he eagerly joined the dig team for current competitor Ethan Nell. “[The digging and camaraderie] is just as good as riding your bike,” says McNulty, “That’s why we all gather anyways—so just being part of any of those events where it’s all about having fun [is what] I’m all about.”
“[Rampage] is my number one goal—not even to be competitive with it, just that I want to be a part of it, part of the digging, and it’s something I want to [continue] to experience.”
“I’m personally proud of Ryan for opening those doors,” says Jameson. “He’s motivated to ride, he’s going to put himself in situations to ride with the right people in the right places.”
Rider: Ryan McNulty
Produced by: Take Shelter Productions
Additional videography by: Caleb Ely
Photography by: Alexa Christensen
With support from: Canyon