Well, that was a hell of a show – the 2017 Red Bull Rampage did not disappoint. Then again, with a recipe that includes the most skilled, bravest riders this side of non-motorized, two-wheeled machinery, and some of the hairiest terrain imaginable being sculpted to their liking, the Rampage is always going to be an edge-of-your-seat way to spend a few hours. All these guys, from Ryan Howard in 18th to Sorge in 1st
, leave more skill their sweat-soaked knee pads than most of us will ever possess, a fact that was most apparent while watching the live stream last Saturday.
This was the twelfth running of the burliest event in mountain biking, and it's a competition that's evolved over the years from a raw, big-mountain huck fest to something that's akin to a slope competition held on Mars and tilted to near 90-degrees. More than a decade ago, it was a matter of doing a rake-and-ride off the biggest plumb-bob drop on the course while trying to keep your face off the handlebar, and now we see 720s on downhill bikes, flips and spins off of cliffs, and meticulously prepared lines being ridden with precision.
Just watch Simmons' winning run from 2001 below to see how much things have changed.
Things have progressed, no doubt, and there's no stopping that, but is the Rampage still what it should be? Or, after twelve years of desert drama, is it time for Red Bull to look at changing things up? Should it move to a jam format instead of two judged runs? The prize fund in 2001, the first year of the event, was just $8,000 USD and was up to $200,000 USD last year - is that enough? What if more restrictions were put on time and crew size when it comes to building lines to bring back some of that old Rampage rawness? Does there need to be more or less wood features? Is it time for a change of scenery?
Let's pretend for a minute that you're running the big show - vote first by choosing all that apply, and then tell us in the comment section why and how you'd change Red Bull Rampage.