How to pick a line at Red Bull Rampage

With a blank canvas, where do they start?

While Red Bull Rampage is known among mountain bike fans for exposed, scary lines and giant gap jumps, the week before the event is all about creative vision and hard work. Unlike most events, the course is not pre-determined; athletes are given a mountainous zone packed with perilous terrain – How they get from the top to the bottom is entirely up to them.

“It’s pretty insane to look around and see what other people think they can ride,” said Brandon Semenuk in the video above.

For 2014, Rampage competitors arrived in Virgin, Utah, to a fresh canvas and the result has been a burst of concept and creativity. Each rider and his dig crew interpret the mountain differently and then they fight to make it happen. How they select their line and build it is as important as how they ride it.

Cam Zink pauses to contemplate his line. Photo by Mike Berard/Red Bull.
Cam Zink pauses to contemplate his line. Photo by Mike Berard/Red Bull.

“My favorite thing about Rampage is that you show up here and the canvas is completely raw,” said Wil White. “You get to incorporate your own line into the hill, so you get to bring out your own individual style.”

With this year’s course being steeper than ever, the quarters are close and many competitors are challenged to dig deep into their skillset in order to claim their own line.

Test tracks on the Polaris moto booter takeoff. Photo by Mike Berard/Red Bull.
Test tracks on the Polaris moto booter takeoff. Photo by Mike Berard/Red Bull.

“In hindsight we probably should have come here earlier,” said Brendan Fairclough, who arrived on site two days behind most of the other riders. “We wanted to find a main thing to do but it seems everyone got here before us.”

Once a line is selected, athletes put their dig crews to work trying to make the impossible happen. But since it’s Red Bull Rampage, what might seem impossible to some can be possible to others, and vice-versa.

“It’s pretty insane to look around and see what other people think they can ride,” says 2008 Rampage champion Brandon Semenuk. “[It’s] typical Rampage; some people are just going for it. Maybe they think what I’m doing is crazy, but it just works in their head, whatever their line is. It’s all about what you’re experienced with.”

More from Red Bull Rampage 2014:

SRAM/RockShox athletes ready for Rampage

Scott sends seven to Red Bull Rampage

Red Bull Rampage 2014 invite list

Video: Rampage riders share first impressions of new site

New Red Bull Rampage course unveiled