Bienvenido Aguado Alba came fourth at the Marzocchi Proving Grounds qualifier and was set to be sitting on the sidelines during the 2019 event until an injury forced Gee Atherton out of the competition. We caught up with the first-time competitor from Spain in a brief moment where he put his tools down.
What are your first impressions of Rampage?
This is a lot of work. Those hills are so steep. Super dry. Luckily we have hoses so that makes the work way easier. I'm pretty stoked with my digging crew. They work a lot and they're good. They're made some super nice walls. Then just a bunch of feelings - happy to be here, tired from shaping, can't wait to ride my bike. So many feelings at the same time.
How was finding a line?
There were 17 lines already, which makes it tough to find a new line. But with Johny Salido, we managed to do something new, which is so sick. We are working together from half of the way to the bottom. Then I have my own section on the top. And I'm really stoked on it. It's steep.
I will say that I was ready to do some slopestyle course since it's what I'm used to since I'm a dirt jump guy and I've been riding DH for two years now. But I found some steepness, so I'm tricking on the top and on the bottom but on the way down it's steep and techy and should be fast if I get comfortable with my bike. I'm stoked I'm doing something out of my comfort zone but I have time to get comfortable.
What was the Proving Grounds competition like?
We had some bad weather but luckily my first run got me fourth which was out of the straight qualification to Rampage but in the end, I got my opportunity. Not luckily for another rider - Gee. I have so much respect for him but that's my opportunity and I take it. I'm super stoked to be here. I hope to make him proud and everyone else.
What was it like to get that last-minute call?
I will say I paid 30% extra for everything - the car, the Airbnb, the flight. I had just 10 days to figure out how to bring my diggers here, my bike, get sorted with new gear and a new helmet. I had a helmet but it was f*cked. I just wanted to have a new one. The guys from Spain - Living This Bikelife, they killed it. In a week I had a new helmet, gear, my bikes. The guys from YT they also killed it with a custom frame. I feel ready.
The only thing I regret a bit is that I couldn't come earlier and get used to the terrain and the exposure. I was supposed to get three days of riding but my bike got lost so I got two days of riding. Those two days were epic. I did Kong and some chutes, some lines, some jumps, but I was jetlagged. Hugely jetlagged for those first two sessions. Not the best and most comfortable riding ever but enough to get on steep spots to get used to steepness. I feel ready. I just can't wait to relax my body a bit because I'm tired and then go again. I need to go up the mountain with my bike now. Tools are exhausting.
Have you ever ridden any terrain like this?
Two weeks ago! Proving Grounds was such a slopestyle course. I mean big, but just features - drops, berms, step-down, on-off, and stuff. Stuff I was used to. The steepness over there is techy. The King Kong lap here made me realize what I needed and my set-up is going to be a bit smoother than what I'm used to. I'm normally just going hard and super slow rebounds because I'm a jump guy, but I need be able to put those wheels onto the steepness and feel in control.
How did you find your build crew on such short notice?
One of my guys is from La Poma Bike Park. It's such an epic spot in Europe. They've done dirt jumps for 15 years. Ivan Carmona, he's a downhill racer as well so he knows how to see the lines over the terrain and he's such a nice digger. He loves to do some beauty shaping. My other digger is Henry Wilkins, such a good guy with experience as well. They're killing it. I'm trying to do some work but they do three times more than me. I suck as a digger and a mechanic, I'm a rider you know. I'm used to riding not digging.
Any thing else you want to add?
So thankful for being here. Just trying to enjoy the experience and to make everyone stoked on my riding. Leave my mark - that's what I want.