Bucket List Item #11 - Attend Red Bull Rampage

After 2 days of hard work, it was time for the main event - and boy were the crowds pouring in! With the riders at the gate, we were free to simply watch the event and saw some spectacular runs down. We watched Nic do his first full run and nail it! Catching him on our way down to lunch, we stopped to have a chat and congratulatory high-five in front of the watching crowds. Feeling like minor celebrities and pumped full of Red Bull, we were buzzing for the next round of qualifiers.

Due to be in Phoenix by the next day (a 7 hour drive), we cut our viewing short and left once the top 11 had been decided. We said our farewells and thank you to Nic (such a legend!) and slogged out 4 hours of the journey, revelling in the afterglow of the Rampage experience…or perhaps it was the orange dust.

Rampaging Part 2

Day 2 of digging was just as surreal as the first day. Slightly less awkward and starstruck, we navigated our way with ease up the cliff faces with plenty of spectating on the way. The site was buzzing with activity and the atmosphere was definitely beginning to ramp up (especially with the abundance of free Red Bull). We spent the morning learning hard and fast about trail building and helped prepare a section of Nic’s proposed trail. Fortunately for us, Nic turned out to be a very chilled out guy and was quite happy to knock off for lunch after just 1 full practise run. After eating our lunch in the company of some famous bikes, we went back up to check on the trail - and do a lot of spectating. We were still struggling to believe the guts of the riders and the sheer insanity of the event itself. And the fact we got to see so many pro riders on the trails in real life! It was an incredible privilege.

Rampaging

Conveniently in the right place at the right time for the Red Bull Rampage (funny that), Sack had offered to help one of the competing riders, Nic Pescetto, with his trail construction. Not expecting anything to come of it, he got the surprise of his life when Nic accepted! Some brief organisation ensued and it was confirmed - we were going to be ‘diggers’ at the Red Bull Rampage!

Up and at ’em much earlier than usual, we trekked to the site entry and caught the 4x4 shuttle to the new Rampage site (the only way in!). It was a surreal experience to be among all the pro riders and people we had only ever seen on TV, not to mention the scale of the landscape around us. We spent a good 1-2 hours scaling the sketchiest of cliff faces before we finally located our rider. The rest of the day was spent digging (trail building), chatting and spectating some test runs. We struggled to comprehend the insanity of some lines and vertical drops - unreal! We stayed to witness a sensational canyon sunset and more practise sessions, and missed the last shuttle down. However, the camaraderie of the day lived on and we ended up in the back of a very nice guy’s ute for the long, bumpy ride down.

Back at camp, we endured a conversation with our ‘mini-celebrity’ neighbour before finally enjoying a long, hot shower to remove the orange dust and return to human colour.

Losing Our Virgin-ity

Our next destination was Zion National Park, and we got a sneak preview as Highway 9 actually wound through the park! Somehow it was even better than any of the other parks we had seen (photos yet to come). With no wifi and most RV parks fully booked, we drove for another hour and camped the night just outside Virgin.

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Having driven past an old Redbull Rampage site, Sack was very keen to go and check it out. We enjoyed a coffee and the most incredible cinnamon scroll at River Rock Roasting Co. (soon to become our favourite cafe) before setting out to explore the area. We drove up the towering mesa and put Josie through her paces over the lumpy, narrow ridge roads. Lucky we had the A/Ts on!

We caught some spectacular views and carefully surveyed the landscape for hidden trails. Forbidden to do the most extreme trail, Sack found one at much lower altitude that still allowed him to achieve some adrenalin-filled mountain biking.