Spotted on Social: 2 Wild Saves From Valparaiso

Feb 13, 2019 at 3:14
by James Smurthwaite  
Urban DH is scary as hell when it goes wrong, but we spotted two clips of some wild evasive action. They both happen on the same corner, just after a gap jump leading into the whale tail. Sometimes keeping it real goes right, too.

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bigquotesThat’s the true Brazilian flow!Bernardo Cruz

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bigquotesWhen it could’ve gone bad but worked out real good, like a cat landing on my feet slid out above this section in my race run yesterday at #redbullvca then forgot to brake for the jump! Least I had time for wave and a helmet adjustmentWyn Masters

On a more sobering note, we're glad to see that Tomas Slavik is relatively okay after his brutal crash, with "only" a concussion and some torn ligaments in his ankle.


  • 38 0
 To everyone saying get rid of these events cause of the danger, if you don’t want to enter the event you don’t have too. And I see the dangers in the street racing but there are dangers in any form of mountain biking, in World Cup Downhill it’s super high too as you are trying to find the absolute limit and sometimes going too far.

This event is one of the best for bringing the sport to the people and getting more people excited about mountain biking which is a good thing in my eyes.

While it felt scary to ride at first you take it step by step and slowly build up, my crash in the race was purely my own error as I forgot to brake for the jump in to this section.

I enjoyed the event and the energy of the crowd and fans was awesome something you don’t see at many races, I’ll be back again for sure.
  • 67 33
 Between these urban events and Joyride it seems like riders are being asked by means of sponsor pressure and team commitment to put themselves at ever higher levels of risk for the express purpose of increasing the spectator 'value' of possibly seeing someone get seriously hurt. When someone does eventually paralyze or kill themselves at a Joyride or one of these urban DH things (look how close Franz Elic Grossman came to this in 2017) are the organizers going to be okay with that? Will they decide to dial things back at that time and act like our entire community didn't see it coming years before?

I get that these are professional atheletes and they all want every chance they can get to prove themselves in a very difficult professional climate - none of them are going to really want to step up (especially new pro riders) and stick their neck out to ask other riders if they feel it's getting a bit much. I wonder if an anonymous poll has ever been taken to see whether these riders would prefer an actual downhill course.
  • 34 29
 The exact reason I stopped watching Rampage.
  • 61 1
 I don't think it is sponsors, I mean if you look at something like rampage, the riders all together sometimes refuse to do a second run. If it were the sponsors, the riders would likely have to do the run. If you look at some other sports, the athletes do it for themselves, for example, in rock climbing, Alex Honnold did el cap alone without ropes, North Face didn't make him do that. The riders like these events, they don't make it a goal to get hurt, they have fun competing.
  • 22 15
 I've always thought the urban dh was just plain dumb. Somebody will die eventually, it's just too sketch.
  • 135 2
 I am a coach, as well a big fan, and I live in Chile. I spoke with Remy who also raced and spent time with Slavik whom stayed at my bosses house during his stay here. I was also in Nevados de Chillan bike park during the RedBull camp selecting national riders for this race.

Every rider wanted to be there, was stoked on the course and didn't have too much issue with this topic. The course is designed and made by Felipe Vasquez, ex-pro downhill racer, who raced Valpo many many times. He speaks with the riders every year to make the track better and safer (this year he made huge improvements on the Antualpa wallride to gap that took out a couple racers last year). He and his team have one main concern and it is rider safety, having ambulances and paramedics always nearby, obstacles that don't put them at risk while managing to have a good technical challenge etc.

Being selected for valpo is so f*cking hard. You should have seen the level of talent some riders had at the camp and were left out. The judges at the camp (Slavik Remy Rojo and Guga) really put emphasis on riders psycological capacities to pace themselves well, to be assured that those on track would properly gauge the danger and risks and how much to push themselves. The other guys, such as Wyn and Berni Cruz are legends in their own right and have the ability to ride on the edge.

The riders and people behind these events know how to take care of athletes. The athletes know how to take care of themselves. The course designers know how to recolect this data you mention and put it into play.

Look at what people did for darkfest and what the guys at rampage do the rest of the year on instagram. They're pushing the limits by their own will all the time. The fest series is f*cking insane and it's 100% rider built. The series themselves were started by those riders wishing bigger and gnarlier jumps and obstacles than what sponser organized events had at the time and today. Each person there paces themself to push their own limit.

Trust the good people behind all of these events. If something of the magnitude you mention where to happen, it would economically be devastating to that said event and the community. Trust me, they won't push it that way anyways.

Don't pull your viewership and support from limit oushing events, it's those guys salaries and the peak of our sports evolution. Do you really believe that rampage has not affected the way people ride trail bikes today? The realization of how far limits on bikes are free the weekend warriors mind to what they can trust their equimpent to.

Keep up the good vibes and always look out for each other, it's important because this sport will never be risk free.

It is important we have these conversations and we develop a better culture around bikes, and I hope to read on your reply to keep progressing this side of the community as well.
  • 8 6
 @jake28: the difference between Rampage and urban downhill events is that Rampage is a ride-built line to their own abilities.
  • 3 14
flag BrendanVDB (Feb 13, 2019 at 18:24) (Below Threshold)
 I don't think it's the sponsors either. But when athletes want to make a living from this sport and this is available then that's what they do. Urban DH should be saved for semi-cut rides home after a beer or two to unwind from a day riding in the mountains where these bikes are designed to be ridden. Making a spectacle of Mountain Biking in the city where most of the crowd don't fully appreciate the sport and will never be converted is just plain mis-guided.
  • 13 1
 As a sponsor of many riders, myself, our brand NOR many many many of my industry peers ever give a sense of PRESSURE to compete at this shit. Pretty insane perception, that simply is so far from the truth.
  • 20 1
 I can't believe people still subscribe to the belief that these riders are forced by sponsors to participate in races completely against their will. Good lord. The riders do this because they're either good at it or they find it fun as off season training. Its a bike race, no one has a gun to their heads. Its comments like this that I feel are most insulting because it leads to the notion that the riders are brainless monkeys who have zero sense of self awareness and are only driven to do things pushed by their sponsor overlords.
  • 1 1
 @BrendanVDB: With all due respect I'd contend that finding a way to bring the sport to the masses is healthy for growth through viewership. Becoming a mountain biker is not a requisite to watching the events, I highly doubt everyone watching Olympic swimming is an avid swimmer or that everyone at a Supercross race rides a moto every weekend, they just wanna watch someone swim real fast or throttle through a whoop section. Likewise, we aren't or shouldn't be trying to convert every damn person into a mountain biker although having venues and audiences for racers to demonstrate their craft makes the entire sport more accessible to the weekend warrior types. Spectator value carries substantial importance to any sport by adding additional value through sponsorship exposure or admissions that can ultimately benefit athletes and their own pursuits within the sport. They key component is organization and though our sport in particular has a long way to go, the general positivity within the mountain biking community permits grassroots racing organizers like those in some of these urban events to promote the sport for more than just a money grab. I agree that mountain biking belongs in the mountains, but these are versatile machines piloted by brilliant athletes, let them show the world what's possible on two wheels.
  • 2 0
 Professional sport = show business with physical training. They want to go big, because this is the only way to make money. Sponsors want their products to be exposed and in order to expose them properly there must be some kind of a show. Sports like MTB cannot be separated from risk - more risk, more watchers, more money.
  • 4 0
 Rider, spectator and media/marshal safety should be paramount at every race.

In the Bernardo video he takes a pole dance around that pole. There were obviously a number of riders hitting that pole, hence the padding that magically appears in the Wynn video.

What is more interesting is that the media guy filming (looking down the course) with his back to the action is stood infront of that post. The post that was identified as a risk (crash zone) as the organisers padded the pole. So why let media or anyone else for that matter stand in front of it?

Plus if you watch the POV winning run from 2:40-2:45, perhaps the fastest parts of the course, marshals/media stood in the course inches from the rider.

On a really good note, spectator safety was good with crowd barriers, good to see that in place.
  • 1 1
 I don't know everything but I don't recall a top level DH event where an athlete was killed. In the fairly recent histories of EWS, in XC, loads in road racing, yes. I don't recall any in DH, BMX or cyclocross though. If anything, road racing scares me most. It is beyond me how athletes going at these speeds with such limited protection are being sent in a mass sprint through a crowd waving with cellphones and assorted sponsored foam and cardboard junk which not only blocks their line of sight but also may drop and take the riders out. Of course these urban DH events look scary and they probably are. Yet at the same time they probably are more predictable for the riders. The race track is in the same condition as how they practiced it (unlike a DH race in dirt) and they don't have to deal with other competitors when on their race run. And a race run like that is short enough to stay fully focused and aware.

I doubt anyone is interested in seeing danger and carnage. We want to see a display of skill and speed and I wouldn't mind if the gaps were turned into tables. Or at least the front of the landing padded for whoever comes up short. It doesn't take anything away for me. I also am not buying the statement that athletes are being pushed by sponsors to put themselves in danger. That said, there is a more indirect motivation that if you do well, your sponsors are going to be happy and will try to cash out on that (being used in ads and all that). So not competing may not be a minus, competing will be considered plus. Which in the relative sense is basically the same thing.
  • 1 0
 Overshoot a jump has not really link with sponsors pressure to me. Just a misjugement by the rider as you can do it in every ride. You engage, you're in race mode so off lines and mistakes happens if YOU push too much.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike posted a video not too long ago about Rampage, and in it, a lot of riders said that if they weren't being paid to do it, they would be out there doing it anyway. That says a lot. First, if they would do it on their own anyway, it begs the question why sponsors would pay them at all (and must devalue what it's worth to some extent) and second, if someone is going to pay them for something they would do for free, that's just gravy as far as these riders are concerned. At any rate, there doesn't seem to be any pressure involved here from sponsors.
  • 2 0
 @JaToledo: amén compadre !!
  • 2 0
 Just realized I messed up the course builder, its sebastian Vasquez not Felipe, they are brothers! haha
  • 1 0
 @JaToledo: Thanks for taking the time to write this interesting and well thought-out reply. I'm happy to learn that the courses are being designed by experienced riders and not some marketing executive from red bull trying to set up revenue-generating clips for their instagram account.

You're correct of course that riders themselves are already pushing the limits every year both privately and via invitation-based events. I absolutely still watch rampage (with trepidation) and can't claim to be above viewership of these kinds of events - although I do wish they'd add many more races to the WC DH season.

Good luck with the national team this coming season and please shoot me a PM on here if you make your way up here to Whistler this season for some training!
  • 1 0
After Bass went down I haven’t watched it since
  • 1 1
 @joose: That risk has always been a part of freeriding/big mountain riding. If you watched Rampage previously thinking the risk of serious injury is not a possibility, then you didn't understand what you were watching. Its odd to me because whenever someone passes away in a FWT comp., the ski/ride community doesn't yell its too dangerous or the athletes are being pushed too hard by their sponsors. The community collectively understands these participants are doing what they love and there's always an inherent danger in doing what they love.
  • 9 0
 "feeling blessed and happy to walk away without any broken bones with just broken ligaments in my ankle and concussion"

I'd rather break a few bones than get concussed to be honest. Glad he's mostly alright though - that crash was nasty.
  • 4 22
flag scott-townes (Feb 13, 2019 at 16:45) (Below Threshold)
 Eh, my bones are worth more than my brain.
  • 15 1
 Ligaments also are often more crippling injuries than broken bones. Broken bones suck but once they are healed you're fairly good to go, the same can't usually be said for damaged ligaments.
  • 7 1
 @gnarnaimo: or a bashed up noggin
  • 6 1
 Glad they got away with that. Honestly, I'm not convinced that Urban DH is any more unsafe than traditional DH (especially on a local track) or any stupider than Snow I'm happy to support it!

I have a technical question though...tyres for urban DH. What the heck is available in DH tyres that would actually be suitable for a streetscape?
  • 1 0
 if there were no patches of dirt in these courses they'd probably run something like this:
  • 2 0
 no tyres, just run the rims.
  • 1 0
 @BobLogiii: That's for railroad DH
  • 7 0
 Crossover sports are great fencing while mountain biking
  • 5 0
 That first video was like Spiderman wearing green with a fullface.
  • 1 0
 I was riding bmx and filming for a long time. Got too old and started riding mtn. I was talking to a young shredder about the lifestyle of riding and filming and he gave me some insight..filming, sponsors, content...souless. Riders make rent. Companies generate wealth. dudes making money off your knees getting blown out (including PB) can eat my ass.
  • 2 0
 Mario Jarrín's crash in Valparaíso is the gnarliest crash I've ever seen, really surprised there wasn't any serious injury after that.
  • 1 1
 @scott-townes: Ding Ding ! I. This corner...the winner! Your words were almost identical to my thoughts reading through this. Personally looking at either of these clips, the speeds they looked to be going and the height and or obstacles they may have went off or into, not looking to be too death cheating. So wether you hate urban dh, feel as though the sponsors use them as pawns for profit, or other, at the end of the day Mr . Townes nailed it, and it’s just some peeps racing a bicycle because they can.
  • 2 3
 I think that the organisers in urban downhill should make it compulsory to wear more body protection, a full face helmet, although majorly important, is not enough to negate serious injury to other parts of the body, there are few, if any, soft surfaces in this discipline so protection is paramount.
  • 1 0
 And my wife said we have a gap in our fence; I should probably show her this
  • 2 0
 Seems like an awkward corner to me
  • 2 0
 Should be titled '2 Wild Savs'
  • 1 0
 I always think for this kind of event they should mod the tire more than just cutting the knob, maybe super soft compound
  • 1 0
 I wanna’ crash with style. Sigh.
  • 1 0
 what about Mario Jarrin? Is he ok? he had a massive crash too..
  • 3 3
 watching urban dh makes me cringe the whole run
  • 5 7
 I always considered a "save" to be a near fall. These are both actual falls, albeit very graceful ninja tumbles; ammiright?
  • 2 0
 Or sometimes fails which ended without no apparent drama but possibly with style
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