2016 Disposable Rampage

This was my fourth year covering the behind the scenes of Red Bull Rampage for Pinkbike.com. Going into the event there is always a mix of excited about seeing history made as the boundaries of what's possible in mountain biking are broken, but also apprehension about safety and fair treatment of our friends. This year Red Bull came the closest ever to closing the gap when they worked with feedback from the athletes and participated in our industry rather than exploiting the talents in it. From that perspective it was an incredible year - despite injury and our absent McGazza. 

Below are the images from my disposable cameras behind the scenes.

Here are the links to the coverage I produced with our talented Pinkbike.com team:

New Digs

Canyon Cowboys

No One Gets Robbed

True Grit

The Magnificent 18

The Kelly McGarry Spirit Award

The B-Side: It's About the Riding, Not the Soft Tissue

I have never really considered that being a girl has anything to do with writing. I think that growing up without running water and electricity, being chased by whales, and that one time I hit my head really, really hard, has had more of an impact on what I have to say, than the fact that I sometimes get free drinks in bars. 

In the past year there has been a shift, and a bigger focus is being placed on women in mountain biking. Awesome, right? The problem was that a bunch of people, really-great-not-sexist-at-all people, had a vague notion that women needed to be represented better or more or just. . . something in our media. They identified a void, but the solution wasn’t quite there yet. Being that I have the prerequisite ‘soft tissue’ the request was put to me a few times to provide ‘women specific content’. 

Read more on Pinkbike.com. 

Pinkbike: The Mongolia Bike Challenge

When I first set foot in the Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar the idea of travelling to Mongolia had only been a reality for roughly fourteen days. I had agreed to photograph the 

Mongolia Bike Challenge

 at the encouragement of my travel partner and Videographer, Darcy Turenne, after exchanging only a handful of Facebook messages with the Race Director, Willy Mulonia. I had no idea what to expect, but knowing that I didn't need any vaccinations to enter the country somehow made me feel surprisingly confident about the trip. I had also received advice from those who had gone before us; photographers and videographers who have all documented the race previously were sure to tell us about everything they experienced from the flash floods to the lack of toilet paper, and especially to beware of the fermented horse milk – it is for sipping, not chugging. The most valuable piece of advice, however, came from Aaron Larocque who said, "if you want the experience of a lifetime, you should go." 

More words and photos here.

Pinkbike: Exploring the Kootenays

Take six people, some of whom have never met, and put them on the road for a week of big 'Kootenay' rides, close living quarters, and beer sampling at every stop, what happens? They form a travelling family that is full of laughs even when the going gets tough, the sun gets hot, and the tires go flat (over and over). Our trip took us, along with the Mountain Biking BC contest winner, Jason Wright, to Rossland, Kimberly, Fernie, Nelson and Retallack. We played with foxes in the woods, drove through thunder storms, drank margaritas, and stayed off the grid. We braved the rapids of the Slocan Valley and got some of the earliest tracks on the Peak to Creek trail, not to mention that we almost won at 80's music trivia in Nelson. There is a good chance we also bought too much homemade candy in Kimberly, but that was really an unavoidable inevitability. 

The photos below capture just some of the highlights from an area that is rich in history, mountain bike culture, and community. As a group we feel lucky to have experienced the balance of the warm welcoming people and rugged, natural trails. And of course we can't wait to go back!

Check out the photos here.

Pinkbike: Behind the Rampage Trophies

I know Jeff just well enough to know that he is brilliant and, like most geniuses, probably a little crazy. When he told me “I feel like I am a messenger,” I braced for what I was expecting to be the convincing dogma of a, not yet recognized, new religion. And, because he is charming, I would join. In actual fact what Jeff had to say was much more practical and sane, “if you can’t be the one jumping off the cliff then you can still be the one helping design the thing to jump off it with.” As the machinist and the creative mind behind the Red Bull Rampage trophies, he wants the next generation to understand that they can find ways to pursue their own skills and still have a hand in the bike industry, like he does. If you drink his Kool-Aid, you will see that these are the people who will progress and evolve our sport, perhaps more than the athletes who are pushing the limits currently. 

Read more on Pinkbike.com 

Pinkbike: The Godfather Speaks

The Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons, tells us about what Rampage was like back in the day, offers some advice for the next generation at their new site, and explains why he isn’t old enough to go back to Utah yet. 

In contrast to the heavily marketed, cyber-accessible, airspace-navigating event it has now become, the first Rampage was ‘grassroots’ and existed in a time without social media, texting, or live-streaming. “Things were different then,” says Wade “there was no official invite, we were a small community. The organizers just got all the guys together to ride who they thought would make it out alive, and put on a good show.” As with the current roster, in addition to the expected freeride names, there were also racers at the event. Wade explains that there has always been a little competition between racers and freeriders, “racers hate freeriding until they are forced to retire, and if they still love riding their only option is to become a free rider.”

Read more.

Pinkbike: Endless Biking - Where have all the ladies gone?

In 2007, Kelli Sherbinin created the EB Chickas Downhill Race Team and spent a season travelling to local races around BC with eight other women. This is twice the amount of ladies who raced in the BC Provincials Race in Golden this year. With a continual decline in attendance on the local downhill front for the ‘fairer sex’, it has left us all wondering, where have all the ladies gone?

A quick look at overall attendance in BC Cups between 2010 and 2013 shows a slow and steady 20% decline in downhill racing; however, the 2014 registrations reported a small but promising 4% resurgence of participation in the sport. Looking at women’s attendance, specifically at the Dunbar Summer Series - some of the few DH races offering equal cash prizing for pro men and women - the participation in women’s categories has decreased 40% since 2011 without any sign of making a comeback. 

Read more.

Pinkbike: Canadian Bacon

“I had seen photos of the place and I had lost my mind, just completely lost my mind.” Rookies on the Norco team in 2001, Mike Kinrade and Darren Butler had their sights set on this new big mountain contest; Red Bull Rampage. With a simple phone call from a friend to one of the organizers, they were both granted entry. Since then, Mike has been in attendance at every Rampage, taking in the changes and challenges over the years as both he and the competition have matured and evolved. 

Read more.

Pinkbike: Behind Deep Summer with Paris Gore

If you have not yet seen Paris Gore's second place winning Deep Summer slideshow from Crankworx this year, do yourself a favour and

click here


In delving into the behind the scenes of his project it is clear that Deep Summer is much more than shooting photos. In fact the contest is more about communication, planning, ethics, team work, and simply surviving without sleep the longest, than it is about pointing a camera. Paris' crew, that included Kenny Smith, Kevin Landry, Jackson Goldstone, Graham Aggasiz, Kate Holden, James Doerfling, and a host of other support people, spent three days intensively shooting, riding, and waking up before the break of dawn. Read on to find out exactly how unglamorous but completely worthwhile the experience was, why Jackson does not always need his own bike to make the shot, and exactly what it takes to get a killer super moon image. 

Read more.

The B-Side: Sidelined

When, as a mom and a wife, Marilee decided that she needed something just for herself, she found mountain biking. It provided her with an identity outside of the home. As Marilee fell in love with riding, she introduced her then four year-old son Jake to it. The pair rode a loop of hills, roots, rocks, and berms year round – even in the snow. It helped them form a close and unique mother-son bond, a strong relationship that would help them survive the break up of their family and would continue to span many years and many bikes. Three years ago, after a failed shoulder surgery, Marilee discovered that she would never ride again and is now assessing what a life without bikes means to her. 

Read more.

Pinkbike: The Ultimate Pumptrack Challenge - Chrystal Viper Five Cinco de Die-O

Last Thursday night Crankworx hosted the Ultimate Pumptrack Challenge and crowned a new Queen and King; Caroline Buchanan and Barry Nobles. Adam Billinghurst and Kenny Smith make up half of the team that has built the track for the last five years. Possibly suffering a little with hangovers and definitely having spent too much time together over the years, Kenny makes a good Statler to Adam’s Waldorf. 

Within an hour I had learned everything I needed to know about kangaroo hunting, Kenny had been fired twice, and I had stopped the interview when I started to learn a little too much about the twosome. 

How many years have you two been working together on this?


 Too many. And by the way you’re fired. 




 We’ve done it every year together. It has been me, Kenny, and Gunner, Chester has been there for four years now. 

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Pinkbike: The Purple Haze of Provincials

After a few dry, but chilly, days of practice the sun finally came out and scorched us on Sunday at the Western Open/Provincials this past weekend. While flesh obsessed black flies that swarmed like repellant was a pheromone, the Dunbar Cycles crew taped the course on Thursday morning. By Friday racers were slowly arriving for practice laps and the camping areas filled up while the lift lines began to stretch as far as five people deep. Tippie's voice rang out across the land, or at least over the mic for Saturday, and it really started to feel like a race weekend!

Read more. 

Pinkbike: The Road to Provincials

The week between the Silver Star BC Cup and The Western Open (Provincials) has become a bit of a road trip tradition full of bad ideas, riding, and general shenanigans. No one has ever died, but this year we narrowly escaped serious injury from flying go-kart tires, excessive amounts of sushi, falling trees and lightning strikes. We competed in the Summer Championships which are totally made-up, have nothing to do with bikes, are very official (completely unofficial) and extremely competitive. Only one could win but many would eat giant balls of wasabi for randomly assigned points. The winner had to show prowess at go-kart racing, mini golf, and bowling. Bonus points were allocated for consumption small green balls of death at all you can eat sushi and the reward came in the form of a much sought after and forever cherished plastic gold medal and the sweet satisfaction of earned bragging rights. 

Read more.