Photos: Alexa Christensen, Izzy Lidsky, & Brian Park
If I hear "the Super Bowl of mountain biking" one more time I'm throwing myself off Gee's drop—but it's Rampage time again and we are back out in Virgin, Utah to witness our sport's crowning spectacle. The 2023 event is staying at the 2022 site, with many of the returning riders improving and refining their previous year's lines.
Historically, the second year of a venue at Rampage sees more built up stuff and bigger tricks, as the athletes have had more time to get comfortable with their lines. There's lots of new stuff this year too, the Gee/Brendog/Szymon line off the top to lily-pad onto the "Battleship" is absolutely psychotic, and several of the athletes have mentioned that Brendan's new canyon gap needs a ridiculous amount of commitment. Most of the rookies and riders who weren't at this venue last year are smartly choosing to evolve older lines. There are no extra points awarded for your build, because it'd be unfair to the first timers.
I'm sure the "it's too slopestyle" brigade will be out in full force, but even the crustiest of commenters will be able to appreciate some of these lines. The top section especially has riders choosing between impossibly steep, and impossibly tech and exposed. So many iconic moves (see what I did there?) have gone down on this course, and the stage is set for a massive week.
Today saw a bunch of folks put tires to dirt—notably Gee was flowing the top of his line, and Szymon flipped his canyon gap (and I believe sent a double lower down on course). Bienve flipped that canyon too. Usually riders don't start linking their lines up until later in the week, so this bodes well for a massive show on Friday. We say it every year but it bears repeating: everything is way bigger than it looks in the broadcast, and everyone will be pushing hard to make their mark on the mountain.