The fourth annual "Red Bull Rampage" was held last weekend (Oct. 30-31) in the majestic desert surroundings of southern Utah, just outside Zion National Park.
The "Rampage" is more akin to a free-skiing competition than a traditional downhill mountain bike race with preset courses.
At the "Rampage" riders are free to choose their own lines of descent and are judged on their style, difficulty of line selection and control. The rugged surroundings and the skill and swagger of the free-riders made for some spectacular thrills.
The beautiful and intimidating landscape of Kolob Reservoir in Virgin, Utah, served as the breathtaking venue for the fourth Annual "Red Bull Rampage" last weekend.
Thirty of the world's best riders attacked the red sandstone cliffs - combining skills like downhill, dual slalom and overall free-riding as they competed for a US$15,000 purse.
Unlike traditional mountain bike contests with set courses, riders were able to take advantage of the burly terrain and choose their own lines. Judged similarly to a free skiing competition, difficulty of line selection, control, amplitude, fluidity and style all factored into the overall scores.
The loose dusty soil, jagged edges, mountainous terrain and desert sun made even getting to the starting gate a challenge. The riders spent two days hiking up and riding down the 1500 vertical feet to familiarise themselves with the challenging terrain before the weekend's main event.
Despite their preparation, many riders still took the hard way down the course.
Spectators witnessed some spectacular high speed crashes as just one wrong move or a touch too much bravado could send a rider quickly tumbling down the cliff face.
After Saturday's competition the field was reduced from 30 to 12 riders for Sunday's final round held on the the steepest terrain in the area.
In the end it was American Kyle Strait who took first place.
Strait thrilled the crowds with his fearless aerials and blinding speed down the hill.
Putting his own signature on the event in more way than one, Strait ascended the winner's podium in an elaborate dog costume.
"Rebel Rampage went really, really great this year. I'm so stoked. I didn't know if I could do it. I'm so stoked. I was hoping I could pull off all my runs and just keep it clean."
SUPERCAPTION: Kyle Strait, first place
An informal consensus of the riders deemed the sport of free-riding as the overall winner though, snatching up new devotees with each new thrilling event.
SHOTLIST: Kolob Mountain Reservoir Area, Virgin, Utah, USA. 30-31 October 2004.
1. 00:00 Wide shot of Mountain
2. 00:04 Wide shot of bikes near course entrance
3. 00:08 Pan up to contestant
4. 00:10 Rider enters course
5. 00:14 Various action shots of riders on course
6. 00:36 Various crash shots
7. 01:00 Slo-mo replay of crash
8. 01:12 Various of Kyle Strait, first place, on course
9. 01:48 Podium shot
10. 01:53 SOUNDBITE: Strait
11. 02:05 Various of Kyle Strait, first place, on course