The 2017 Red Bull Rampage Weekend

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HOLD MY JUICE BOX, MOM — WATCH THIS

Mountain biking groms and their families spend a weekend at 2017’s Red Bull Rampage

Written by Liz Mallen. Photos by Ted Bell, Dan LaRiviere, Steven Lloyd, Liz Mallen. Published on November 12, 2017. Read all the shout-outs here.
Cam Zink, freeride mountain biker at the 2017 Red Bull Rampage
Freeride mountain biker Cam Zink, one the the many fan-favorites, backflips his bike at the 2017 Red Bull Rampage near Virgin, Utah. Photo by Liz Mallen.

WHAT IS THE RED BULL RAMPAGE?

Red Bull Rampage is an invitation-only freeride mountain bike event hosted just outside of Virgin, Utah. This year, riders on Finals Day consisted of 18 incredibly talented athletes from around the world. Red Bull Rampage is THE mountain biking event to watch. It is the “Superbowl” of freeride mountain bike events.

There are many kids who attend the event with their families, dreaming of some day receiving the same invitation to ride with the best. The kids, who at home pour over YouTube videos and Instagram, looking at great ones like Cam Zink, Andreu Lecondeguy, Kurt Sorge and Graham Agassiz for inspiration. What new trick or air are their role models are coming up with? And, will the kids be able to copy it someday?

RED BULL RAMPAGE 2017, GETTING THERE

HAVE TRAILER – WILL TRAVEL

We pulled into the Zion River RV Resort at midnight, Wednesday before the event. With all intentions to have arrived about 8 hours earlier, the whole “I have to work” thing got in the way. So there we were, setting up in the dark…shusshing each other, as to not wake the other campers. I look at my husband and ask, “Do you think they turned the sprinklers off yet?”. Twenty seconds later we hear the familiar “poppshhhhhh” of water. So there we were, setting up in the dark, in the sprinklers.

If you choose to stay at the resort, make your reservations (even without tickets), the minute they release the dates of Rampage, as their spaces reserve quickly. We have stayed here for the past few years as they have a pool, beautiful clean amenities, and just made it easier to be hooked up in the RV with the kids – especially when they were smaller.

They also have a list of fun events happening in the evenings, such as movies, Halloween Bingo and other fun contests for the kids in the clubhouse. A word of warning however, they are very strict on their rules, and asked that the kids not ride their bikes after dark or go in the hot tub if they are under 18. If you, or your kids choose not to abide by the rules, they will ask you to leave.

Testing the Bob trailer. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Carving pumpkins at the Virgin, Utah RV park
A little camp fun! Rampage usually falls around Halloween making it extra special for these kids. Photo by Liz Mallen.

BEING PREPARED TO ATTEND RAMPAGE

YOU NEED TICKETS

This is always a small source of anxiety, as in years passed, they sold out online in 5 minutes. The key is to follow all of Red Bull Bike social media channels, and then be poised and ready the minute (or before the minute) they are released to buy on the chosen date and time. You will only be able to purchase two tickets at a time, and must match each ticket by name to each family member.

Once you have your ticket confirmation, it is a good idea to actually print them out in case anything were to go awry. A few days before Rampage, the actual tickets are released. Again, be sure to print them and have them in hand, as there is no cell service at the gate.

ARRIVING AT THE VENUE

When you finally arrive in Virgin, it is a good idea to pick up your wristbands and any swag you want to purchase the day before the event. This way you are not scrambling at the last minute at 7 am in the morning to get your proverbial stuff together, and out to the venue. Some of the coolest swag sold out this year by Thursday evening!

We were lucky to pull in right as the ticket checker station opened. The kids do miss a few days of school, but as they have become older, we find that Rampage is a good motivation for them.

The kids and parents showing off their wrist bands and Rampage swag. Photo by Liz Mallen.

MAKE YOUR DAY MORE COMFORTABLE

Actual preparation for the day, does wind up taking a little time and forethought. It is an extremely primitive site for an event, they actually state in an email with the tickets “NON-ADULT SPECTATORS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.”

With all of this in mind, here are suggestions which may make your family’s experience better:

A little shade at the Red Bull Rampage
Grateful for some shade in the desert! Love our Manta pop-up tent!. Photo by Liz Mallen.
  • Shade (the designated spectators’ areas are exposed and it can be windy)
  • Sunscreen
  • Drinks and water (Camelback provides drinking water refill stations)
  • Lunch and snacks
  • A buff for the moon dust
  • Hats
  • Binoculars
  • Solid shoes for riding/climbing
  • Blanket or easy to ride a bike with or carry chairs
  • Wet wipes
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Extra layers of clothing/rain slicker
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Drybag with ice (hard case coolers are not allowed)

IT’S OK TO BE A GROUPIE AND DRESS THE PART

Unlike a lot professional sports and events, the athletes strive to be accessible. Bring a marker and items for them to sign. In the past, we have brought: hats, posters, race plates, helmets, photos, and magazines. We put a Sharpie marker on a lanyard so they don’t have to worry about holding on to one more thing as they are billy-goating around the site. If you really want to get into the event – accessorize and bring bells, noisemakers, glitter and costumes! My friend and I remarked one year, as we were perched on the edge of a cliff surveying the madness, that this was the closest to Burning Man we would ever get.

THE RIDE OUT

It is a looonnngg hot day. The ride out us about 3.5 – 4 miles on a very moon-dusty road, one way. It is a gentle pedal up out there with a few tricky spots here and there. My husband attaches a Bob trailer to his bike and we load in all of our gear, including a small bbq and brats, our drinks, chairs and shade and of course a trash bag. With all the kids, it takes between thirty minutes, and an hour. We usually have someone speedy in the group, they cruise out ahead, and stake down some land for the rest of us.

A group of spectators heads out to the Red Bull Rampage
Riding out to the Red Bull Rampage
Wearing a buff to keep out the dust
Headed to to the bike valet at Red Bull Rampage
Photos by Liz Mallen.

RED BULL RAMPAGE 2017, THE BIG SHOW

MOUNTAIN BIKING ON THE WORLD’S BIGGEST STAGE

With a collective deep breath, the first rider of the day, Brett Rheeder took his first run at 10:00 am. I don’t think a person can really understand the physics of what happens in this little area of the desert on this particular day. Until you are able to see it for yourself – it is something to put on the bucket list.

These men are some of the most incredible athletes in the world. The pure physical and mental strength it takes to perform these maneuvers is mind-blowing. The fact that just after these guys come down, from literally risking their lives, they make it a point to sign and take pics with their smallest of freeride fans, proves their dedication and love for this sport.

Can you name all the pros shown below? Click on each image to show the rider’s name.

Photos by Liz Mallen.

These professional athletes are some of the nicest guys in any sport. I think all the kids were levitating (and maybe some of the dads). This year was the largest year for the kids, with most of the Outlaw Bike Team present, as well as a ton of other groms running around, for the sport of freeride mountain biking, it looks like a promising future. The moms had just as much fun, although as we were watching all of this unfold, we could not help think that maybe our kids some day will be the ones in the start gate.

Liz and her twin boys
Liz Mallen and her twin boys - Luke and Alex.
More moms at the Red Bull Rampage
Tricia Kirschenmann (Finley's Mom) and Sarah Flinders (Dillon's mom) are all smiles at Rampage!

A MOM’S WORRY NEVER GOES AWAY

I have had the chance to chat with some of the athletes about how their mom’s feel. It seems a lot of them choose not to watch. This year however, Brett Rheeder’s mom was in the audience for the first time. Apparently she had a hard time even watching it live on tv! A few years ago, I had the chance to talk with Graham Agassiz about how his mom felt. He said she wanted to watch, but he felt better, and less nervous when his family were not there in person. As a mom of kids who are interested in pursuing this sport, I can begin to understand what it is like to watch your child drop backwards and upside-down and over the edge of a 50-foot cliff… on a bike. We are already beginning to experience that feeling, on a smaller scale, for now.

Logan Binggeli at the Red Bull Rampaage
Utah local Logan Binggeli sending it in the middle section of the venue. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Lay of the land at the Red Bull Rampage
Drops for days... where the big kids come to play. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Spectators at the Red Bull Rampage take it all in
The kids watching it all unfold. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Big crowds at the Red Bull Rampage
Spectators line the edges of the freeriders' lines. Photo by Liz Mallen.

THE RIDERS SHOWED WHY THEY’RE THE BEST FREERIDERS ON THE PLANET

As the event played out, you could see that the gloves were off between these heavy hitters in the freeride mountain biking world. The main competitor in the past being the wind, this year, luckily it did not make an appearance allowing the guys to send all of the massive tricks they had planned out for their runs. This was also the first year there were no catastrophic crashes or injuries. Everyone was happy about that.

Kurt Sorge wound up on the podium in first place for the third time. Throwing down some massive flips, and a smooth run, he earned the top spot with a total score of 92.66 . Proving to the world that he is the one of the best, and can still hold his own after fathering two kids, family man Cam Zink stomped into Second place with a hair raising run down one of the steepest chutes in Rampage history named “The Scar” He then proceeded to back flip off his drop, before the road in the same steep upper section.

An emotional Cam was seen blasting through the finish of his first run into his wife’s arms. Cam’s bike unfortunately got away from him on the second run as he attempted a front flip in the bottom section, leaving that top spot just out of reach and in the hands of Kurt Sorge. Local Utah resident Ethan Nell, threw down and claimed his stake on Rampage 2017, and wound up in third place, solidifying him as a new force, and someone to be reckoned with in the years to come.

Antoine Bizet earned the People’s Choice Award with one of the “flowiest” runs of the day. Commencal team rider Pierre Edouard Ferry earned the McGazza Award for channeling the late Kelly McGarry’s enthusiastic and aggressive style.

VIDEO: KURT SORGE’S 1st PLACE RUN

VIDEO: ANTOINE BIZET, PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Kurt Sorge wins the 2017 Red Bull Rampage
Winner, winner chicken dinner! Kurt Sorge in the top spot on the podium.. Photo by Ted Bell.
Luke Mallen gets his podium moment
Luke on the podium... some day? Photo by Liz Mallen.

WATCH A REPLAY OF THE EVENT!

In the end, it was one of the most successful Red Bull Rampage events to date. You can watch the live replay on Red Bull TV, and see what all the insanity of the biggest event in the sport of freeride mountain biking has to offer. Rampage is part of the Red Bull Signature Series, and will air a highlighted program on NBC Sunday, December 24th. Happy Holidays!

RED BULL RAMPAGE 2017, FINAL RESULTS

PLACE RIDER SCORE
01 Kurt Sorge 92.66
02 Cam Zink 90.33
03 Ethan Nell 90.00
04 Brandon Semenuk 89.66
05 Brett Rheeder 89.33
06 Thomas Genon 89.00
07 Carson Storch 87.66
08 Kyle Strait 87.33
09 Tyler McCaul 87.00
10 Tom van Steenbergen 84.33
11 Andreu Lacondeguy 83.00
12 Antoine Bizet 81.66
13 Darren Berrecloth 81.00
14 Vincent Tupin 78.00
15 Pierre Edouard Ferry 76.33
16 Logan Binggeli 69.66
17 Bas Van Steenbergen 68.66
18 Ryan Howard 67.66

MTN RANKS FANPAGE

SHAPING THE FUTURE OF FREERIDE MOUNTAIN BIKING

The day after Rampage, there’s a lot of excitement and buzz in the air. The kids, fueled by the big show the day before are ready for the chance to go out and mimic their idols at the original Red Bull Rampage site. MtnRanks, a lifestyle clothing company based in Park City, Utah, puts on an event every year called MtnRanks Fanpage. It’s “Freeride for the People!” They bring music, give-aways and cold hard cash for the sick tricks performed by the fans of Red Bull Rampage.

Alex Mallen at the MtnRanks Grompage - photo by Steve Lloyd
Alex Mallen boosting at the MTN Ranks Whipoff 2016. Photo by Steven Lloyd. Follow Steven on Instagram at @stevelloydphoto and his website at www.stevelloydphoto.com/.

Our friends from Worldbikeparks.com wanted to get some shots of the groms, so to gather them all together (as it is like herding cats), we decided to initiate an “Unofficial Grompage Ice Cream Social”, which took place just before the main event. Grabbing some ice cream and bowls, we were able to get the kids to sit still for a hot minute before they sent it on the dirt jumps showing some of the heavy hitters in the industry what they were capable of. Needless to say, they turned some heads. People such as professional adventure photographer Steven Lloyd captured some amazing shots. Steve, a father of two sons in this “grom army”, is right on point with photos. This year we were able to bring it together again, and have the kids and the adults show off their stuff at the same time.

This year, we also had some of the companies that sponsor the kids donate some awesome gear for the multitude of groms that show up and strut their stuff. A big thanks to Demon United and Zoic Clothing for the grom-sized swag additions! Some sweet body armor was presented to some of the smaller kiddos, who were really stoked! Just before the event, continuing on the tradition started last year by our friends Natty and Trey from Worldbikeparks.com, we decided to have an ice cream social. Celebrating all the groms who want to get into the sport of freeride mountain biking, and get them all together (and give them a little sugar boost).

Some Of The Pros Showed Up To Cheer On The Groms

Andreu Lacondeguy and his crew at the MtnRanks Grompage
Andreu Lacondeguy watching grom talent from above, wondering who will be nipping at his heels in a few years!. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Nico Vink hanging out with freeride mountain biking kids
Nico Vink hanging out after the boys finish a session. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Pro mountain biker Aaron Chase with a couple of kids
Aaron Chase with the groms. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Aaron Chase at the MtnRanks Fanpage
Aaron Chase about to enjoy a little ice cream in the desert. Photo by Liz Mallen.

The Groms Were On Fire This Year!

The young shredders are earning their places in the desert among the MTN Ranks Fanpage fans. It was full-on entertainment.

Grom freeride mountain biker
Lots of tricks happening. Photo by Dan LaRiviere.
Grompage venue
Pushing bikes to the top of the kickers at the old Rampage site. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Getting advice from dad at the Grompage
Getting a little fatherly advice. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Getting a neck brace adjustment
Adjusting a grom's neck brace. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Andreu Lacondeguy in the queue at the MtnRanks Fanpage
Andreu Lacondeguy waiting in line for his turn to rally with the kids. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Andreu Lacondeguy with the kids
Andreu poses for a photo with some of his youngest fans. Photo by Ted Bell.
Step-up no hander at the MtnRanks Fanpage
Learning to fly. Photo by Fred LaRiviere.
Getting up there
The groms are setting the bar high. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Whipped out at the MtnRanks Grompage
Whip it – whip it good. Photo by Liz Mallen.
MtnRanks Fanpage 2017 - money talks
Money talks! Photo by Liz Mallen.
Dillon at the old Red Bull Rampage site
Commencal Development Team rider Dillon Flinders finding some vertical terrain. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Signing the waiver for the MtnRanks Grompage
No sign – no ride. Tricia signing the Fanpage waiver. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Young freerider, Fred Lariviere one-footer
Fred Lariviere showing off one of his signature one-footed moves. Photo by Dan LaRiviere.
A young freeride mountain biker at the 2017 MtnRanks Fanpage
"Yeah- I can do that." Photo by Liz Mallen
Two of the youngest mountain bikers at the event
Two of the youngest shredders in the group, but don't let their size fool you! River and Sam send it!. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Young mountain biker at the old Red Bull Rampage site
Clearing the big step-up like a pro! Photo by Liz Mallen.
A young mountain biker doing a large step-down
Finley Kirschenmann channeling his inner Kurt Sorge. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Base camp at the MtnRanks Fanpage
Basecamp at the MTN Ranks Fanpage Whipoff. Photo by Liz Mallen
Look out below - MtbRanks Grompage
Luke Mallen spotting his landing on one of his favorite drops at the old site. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Alex Mallen drops Canadian Bacon at the old Red Bull Rampage site
Alex Mallen drops “Canadian Bacon” Photo by Dan LaRiviere.

These Young Mountain Bikers Are Getting Noticed

With all of the media surrounding these kids, it is no surprise these kids have caught the eye of a few companies. Under the watchful eye of coach Tyson Henrie, leader of the Outlaw Bike Team, these kids have been invited to be a part of Commencal USA bike Rider Development Team. They have also caught the eye of several other companies who have shown interest in working with the kids. Demon United, Poc, Magura USA brakes, Kenda Tires, Zoic Clothing, Level 9 and Leatt Protectives to name a few.

Exciting things are ahead for all of them and with the guidance and support from family, friends, coaches and companies, this next generation of grom freeriders are ones to watch.

A group of the Commencal development group at the MtnRanks Fanpage
Part of the Commencal USA Development Team. Photo by Liz Mallen.

About the Author

Liz MallenLiz McDonald-Mallen hails from the outskirts of Salt Lake City. Liz, husband Tony and her twin boys - Luke and Alex are looking forward to spending the winter on skis and bikes. Follow them on Instagram @thosemallentwins.
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