PHOTOS: The Burliest Bike Contest
Red Bull Rampage highlights scary/heroic desert descents
"I came here pretty much scared shitless, and it all came together." So said pro freerider Kurt Sorge following Sunday afternoon's championship run in Red Bull's Rampage, which is easily the craziest mountain biking contest in the world (we summed it up pretty well here). Sitting atop his bike near Virgin, UT, Sorge looked out over the sun-baked desert and continued: "The run was gnarly...It was actually fun, one of the funnest lines I've ever ridden in my life. I'm just stoked to get it in the bag." We're impressed that he not only survived two runs down the near-vertical red rock course, but that he also had the presence of mind to perform tricks. OK, that's kind of the point of the contest, but still. From a no-handed drop to a superman jump to a backflip step-down, Sorge had all the elements of a winning run in the final. Check out the video here:
Not everyone was as lucky as Sorge, though. 2010 runner-up Gee Atherton withdrew following a crash during Saturday's practice session, Casey Groves crashed out during a Sunday morning warm-up, and Brendan Fairclough injured himself during Friday's qualifier. The biggest scare came when defending champ Cam Zink bailed from his bike midway across the massive jump at Canyon Gap. He landed hard on the other side (without his bike), but was able to limp away after five minutes on the ground (check it out here, but be warned it's a bit graphic). He was back to watch the contest Sunday, on crutches. Overall, though, carnage was minimal compared to years past, and that's a good thing for the riders as this contest continues to grow bigger and bigger.
Click through to the slideshow to see some of the action. If you have three hours free (lucky you!), you can relive the excitement here, or wait to watch it on NBC come December 8.