One of a Kind: 2017 Red Bull Rampage in Pictures

This image is Red Bull Rampage to a “T.” Launching into the unknown, there are few events like it in the world.
This image is Red Bull Rampage to a “T.” Launching into the unknown, there are few events like it in the world.

On a day in late October, a lone mountain biker points his wheels straight down a desolate bluff in southern Utah. Within one pump of the pedals, he is careening towards a cliff without any sign of slowing down. A small but fervent crowd cheers him on as he hurls towards almost certain doom, and just at the point of no return, when 99.999 percent of people would be clutching to the dirt for dear life, our rider flicks his head back and up towards the sky. He pulls up on the handlebars as bike and body become aloft.

In a split second he is completely upside-down while falling through the dry desert air. As he plunges closer to the ground 60 feet below, his rotation to being upright once again is nearly complete. Simultaneously, his reunion with terra firma and backflip are achieved as the bike’s wheels land perfectly inline and the suspension compresses. The crowd erupts both in celebration and anticipation as the rider prepares to launch himself over yet another cliff only seconds later. This is Red Bull Rampage.

Mountain biking as a sport has come a long way since its inception in the late 1970s and there are now many disciplines that fall within the MTB acronym; Rampage draws riders from many of these. Originally it called upon Downhill racers and the like, but as the event grew so too did the requirements of the job. Downhill racers are not quite as accustomed to pulling 360s and backflips off of cliffs, so overtime more and more riders have come from genres like Slopestyle and Freeride, which Rampage itself has helped to foster and progress.

Set at the footsteps of Zion National Park in Virgin, Utah, Rampage has grown into arguably the premiere mountain biking event in the world. Arguable because there is very little peddling involved and because this gravity festival is really in a category of its own.

Below is a look at images from the spectacle that was the 2017 Red Bull Rampage.

The bikes of Rampage have progressed greatly since the early days of the event. Suspension, frames and wheels are now designe
The bikes of Rampage have progressed greatly since the early days of the event. Suspension, frames and wheels are now designed to handle the impacts that riders throw at their equipment. Borrowing greatly from motocross machinery, bikes are robust while remaining light enough to be carried up the mountain.
Randy Spangler has been involved with Rampage since the inaugural running back in 2001. He began as a participant, becoming o
Randy Spangler has been involved with Rampage since the inaugural running back in 2001. He began as a participant, becoming one of the first riders to traverse the slopes of Virgin, Utah and is now a judge for the event. Randy is right in the middle of a collection of die-hard enthusiasts who make this affair a reality.
While Rampage began as a natural terrain run down a mountain, things have changed. Teams of builders now spend nearly two wee
While Rampage began as a natural terrain run down a mountain, things have changed. Teams of builders now spend nearly two weeks constructing lines for each individual rider. Here, what looks like a crude rock wall is actually the base for the landing of a 60 foot gap jump.
Don’t Tread on Me! Despite all of the work that goes into building each obstacle, not much effort is required to ruin one. A
Don’t Tread on Me! Despite all of the work that goes into building each obstacle, not much effort is required to ruin one. A pair of shoes atop a carefully crafted take off ramp signals to others, “This is completed. Please don’t touch!”
Each of the 20 riders participating assembles their own build team of friends and supporters. As the event is laid out on a m
Each of the 20 riders participating assembles their own build team of friends and supporters. As the event is laid out on a mountain side in the middle of the desert, construction is grueling and dirty work.
After two weeks of building and prepping, the first rider of Rampage prepares for his first run as the mid-morning sun begins
After two weeks of building and prepping, the first rider of Rampage prepares for his first run as the mid-morning sun begins to flood the valley with light and heat.
Red Bull does not really know the meaning of small. With Rampage being one of their premier events, no expense is spared to c
Red Bull does not really know the meaning of small. With Rampage being one of their premier events, no expense is spared to capture every angle. Twelve cameras were placed in and around the venue including three drones and one helicopter for use in both the Red Bull TV and NBC broadcasts.
Riders come from various disciplines to compete in Rampage, and there is no doubt that they are 20 of the most talented rider
Riders come from various disciplines to compete in Rampage, and there is no doubt that they are 20 of the most talented riders in the world. Here, Ethan Nell navigates a mid-mountain drop.
Riding along a steep ridge line is tricky enough. Throw in some cliffs, jumps, and judges and you have a recipe for something
Riding along a steep ridge line is tricky enough. Throw in some cliffs, jumps, and judges and you have a recipe for something special as Bas Van Steenberg demonstrates.
Step away from the spectacle of Rampage and you are reminded of the beauty of this region of Utah that is only a stone’s thro
Step away from the spectacle of Rampage and you are reminded of the beauty of this region of Utah that is only a stone’s throw from Zion National Park.
Former Rampage winner, Brandon Semenuk appears to be backflipping only a few feet above the ground. In truth, he is 30 feet a
Former Rampage winner, Brandon Semenuk appears to be backflipping only a few feet above the ground. In truth, he is 30 feet above his landing while soaring past a cliffside photographer.
Andreu Lecondeguy completes the rotation of a flat-spin-450 midway through his first run. Another former victor of Rampage, A
Andreu Lecondeguy completes the rotation of a flat-spin-450 midway through his first run. Another former victor of Rampage, Andreu also spent time as a pro freestyle motocross rider.
The only rider to win Rampage twice, Kyle Straight has participated in the event every year since its inception in 2001…when
The only rider to win Rampage twice, Kyle Straight has participated in the event every year since its inception in 2001…when he was only 14 years old.
MTB Mission Control: At the base of the mountain, among a paddock of trucks and trailers, the Red Bull TV crew helps bring a
MTB Mission Control: At the base of the mountain, among a paddock of trucks and trailers, the Red Bull TV crew helps bring a live HD video stream from the middle of the desert to the masses around the world.
While spectator numbers are not huge, those who do attend Rampage are MTB enthusiasts and make the most of their journey. As
While spectator numbers are not huge, those who do attend Rampage are MTB enthusiasts and make the most of their journey. As the venue is four miles from closest paved road, many choose to ride their bikes in. So many, that the event now has a bicycle valet service.
Judging covers a variety of areas including variety, technicality, difficulty and amplitude. Carson Storch goes for variety,
Judging covers a variety of areas including variety, technicality, difficulty and amplitude. Carson Storch goes for variety, throwing a quick no-hander on a ridge line jump at the beginning of his run.
Each rider is given three minutes to complete their run. Midway through his second attempt, Brandon Semenuk pauses before…
Each rider is given three minutes to complete their run. Midway through his second attempt, Brandon Semenuk pauses before…
…hucking another backflip off of a cliff.
…hucking another backflip off of a cliff.
When throwing yourself off of a cliff on your bicycle, things are going to go wrong sometimes. A mistimed 360 resulted in Car
When throwing yourself off of a cliff on your bicycle, things are going to go wrong sometimes. A mistimed 360 resulted in Carson Storch getting thrown from his ride. Fortunately, the American walked away bruised but not defeated.
When Rampage began, simply making it down the mountain without crashing was really the goal. Today navigating sections like t
When Rampage began, simply making it down the mountain without crashing was really the goal. Today navigating sections like this ridge, as Thomas Genon demonstrates, is simply a means of traversing from one jump or drop to another.
Another former Rampage champ, Cam Zink leaves the ground as he backflips down a 60 foot plunge to the landing below.
Another former Rampage champ, Cam Zink leaves the ground as he backflips down a 60 foot plunge to the landing below.

If you want to learn more and/or watch the entire event, you can watch the Red Bull TV live stream replay right HERE.

Follow Bayo Olukotun on Instagram: bayodome.

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