With all the builders in town and fully enveloped in desert life, the Red Bull Rampage build is nearly halfway over, and every day the crew runs at full tilt. It's very obvious while scurrying around the deep gullies, canyons and ridgelines of the site that every builder is deeply committed to constructing some of the most progressive and challenging freeride features ever seen for this year’s event.
In utilizing the same location for the third consecutive Red Bull Rampage, a few things have become apparent: revisions of features, refinements in building techniques, and sheer quantity and selection of lines. Once your head stops spinning from the sheer size of the features, you might start thinking, 'How is creating any of this even possible?'
In order to sculpt this archaic desert into a full-on shred zone, it takes serious vision, quite a bit of creativity, building skills, and the ability to forge ahead every day. In essence, to build at Red Bull Rampage takes an insane amount of resourcefulness. The ability to thrive in an environment where very few living things can even set roots embodies this whole crew's existence through every day's build.
Each day's work bleeds into night, when more planning and preparation must be done in order to ensure that when everyone wakes up, the tasks are clear and the building schedule is not interrupted. Super top-secret plans are scribbled down on old pieces of cardboard, generating wood orders large enough to build a modest house.
Huge loads of wood are 'precisely' loaded into the backs of pickup trucks and driven on roads reserved for recreational 4x4 use. Desert buggies are rallied 'precisely' to and from the job site to get builders and supplies deep into the desert in a timely fashion. Builders make runs deep into the desert to procure rough-cut lumber, only to narrowly dodge being conjured into joining polygamist colonies -- desert life can be strange.
Builders Jeremy Witek and Russel Shumaker recently completed one of the new wooden features on this year’s course, resembling a broken-down bridge from the pre-World War I era. The gap across the nothingness ends with a substantial quarterpipe, either to a left hip or a spine over the ridge it backs up to.
Looking at the larger-than-life quarter, Witek commented, "Yeah man, they told us not to build anything unless the riders are gonna go at least ten feet out on it." It's a slopestyle sender for sure, but be careful to extract the feature from the rest of the line, which is made up of a high-speed, 50-foot step-down and massive hip leading into the wooden feature.
While people may have differing opinions about the purity of such features on a big mountain course, the fact of the matter is that when an entire line is taken as a whole, it will be a true testament to that rider's overwhelming skill and aptitude to step up to the most technical terrain.
Hanging around with this crew, you get the feeling that they've been up to this kind of stuff for a while and that they're damn good at it. Like any diverse band of traveling people, when the right skill sets are combined in the right environment, good things are going to happen. One look at the Red Bull Rampage course for 2012 shows each builder's vision and dedication to making amazing things happen in the world of freeride mountain biking.
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