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Raging in Utah

…I’m not sure where to start, this is the first time we have had too ourselves since arriving in vegas a week ago. Upon arriving I went straight to the slot machines (when in Rome and all that) and proceeded to turn a dollar into 5 dollars, so I knew it was going to be a pretty good trip! We drove a few hours to virgin, Utah, the birthplace of redbull rampage. I’ve never been before and it was dark when we rocked up but when I pulled back the curtains in the morning, holy moly! the view was unreal.

Surrounded by the Utah desert, massive book end mountains and pancake stacks as I call them, red dirt, inner tube trees, random cows, and endless riding opportunities stretched out before us. we met up with Christie from redbull UK, matt ray from means health, the new world disorder crew, John Gibson photographer, Todd barber the man behind rampage and his shovelling sidekick ted, who is the only person I’ve ever met who is as in love with spade work as Affy! We also had our trainer Darren with us, not forgetting Browny and Stevie Bell, so there was a right crew.

we headed to the old rampage sight and I was so stoked to be there, I could recognise everything from videos but to see it first hand is nuts, I couldn’t believe how big some stuff was and how amazing the landscape was. we scoped out a few existing lines and hit them up, getting used to the new short travels and the weird dirt that just crumbles away, and just soaking things up and getting to know everyone

Then we headed to the new rage sight, Rage 2008 is going to be big timeeee! Todd had been umming and arrring over a few sights and had just decided that this was it and we could see why. Nestled at the edge of a massive dessert plain, the ridges rose upwards sharply, growing into huge cliffs, curling around slightly to make a natural arena. With the old rampage sight in the distance it’s the perfect place. It was hard to get used to seeing it, the endless amount of lines and gaps and drops and things to build, ridges to ride and perfect sun all day. I kept running up to something I’d seen, climbing to the top then looking up again and there’d be something to hit before that one, and so on and so on all the way to the top, it was so rad. Affy was in his element and for the first few days whilst we waited for the wind to go we built solidly, it was hard going, midday it gets so hot and there is no shade but it’s worth it.

Everyone was so excited, the NWD boys are dead on, really sound, we got on so good with them, and ted is like a breath of fresh air, so happy and funny all the time, he’s the guy that is the manpower behind rage. gee built this gnarly line down the mountain, it was so steep I couldn’t believe he rode it, snaking his way down it was amazing, Iffy built a wicked wall ride and I built some bog standard drops, trying to go bigger than I’d ever gone before was scary, and judging things was hard because the light is so full on and the dirt so similar.

Gibson built Affy this gap over this round cliff gap thing, I looked at it and thought it would be on, the landing was way off camber, then I looked at it from the side and was like, holy shit no way, too big! I reckon it was 20-25 feet out and high, anyways I hit it a few times and it was fine so I was stoked on that. Stoked that Gibby built such a cool gap too, we are going out get t shirts made that say ‘I sent the Gibby gap! ‘Gibby is cool, we haven’t really spent much time with him before now but he is pretty similar to us, his personality, I think he is real funny and we all get on so good. He’s the kind of guy who I feel at ease with right away and his photos are sick! actually all the guys are so rad, I feel like I’ve known them for ages not just a week, and the stuff the NWD boys do, the amount of work they put into their films to get them right is cool to see, and Todd, the effort he puts in to rage, talking to him, seeing how he loves it, its rad.
and so that’s that for now, yesterday the boys rode this line, big drops to big gap to massive natural tabletop, Affy was grinning like a Cheshire pussycat, never seen him so stoked, and they built this hip to, I was the dust lady, shovelling dirt to get the dust cloud just right for the photos, Gee bailed from so high up and was falling right above me, I could see how big his eyes were and it was just so weird seeing him like that! But I saw some of the photos and holy shit I was impressed!

Oh yea and yesterday I took a hard hit too, id built this line, drop to jump to jump, after some of the other stuff id done I guess I got a little blasé and thought it was pretty small so I just sent it, not fast enough, hung up, over the bars right onto my head, didn’t even get my hands out. smashed my new helmet and peak up, bloodied my nose, cut my chin and I’ve got all these cuts on my stomach and back, it winded me pretty bad but I was ok, I was kind of stoked to have such a big crash without something falling off like normal, and it’s always good to crash and get away with it, it teaches you to be respectful. So I had a big head ache and felt sick all day and now I’ve got huckers neck quite badly! We had dinner with bender one night and he was explaining how to train for huckers neck, just clasp a big blow up gym ball to your chest and jump off a table onto it on your tummy, bang, hold your head up, simple really! He is a pretty funny guy, pretty nuts.

so today we had a few mechanical issues so we had the morning off which is good news, we have been so flat out riding and digging from 8 till 8 every day, getting 3 magazine articles out the way, 2 NWD sections and numerous redbull stuff done is hard work. We have been training too with Darren, one night we were doing sprints at 11pm. it was horrible, can’t wait to start racing to have a rest!

Being here in Utah is so different from anywhere else I’ve been, the terrain, the riding, the sun, it’s all so unforgiving, but so much fun. You could spend months here and barely have touched all there is to ride. Todd has invited me back to rage in October, says I can ride and just session it with the guys which is so amazing on his part to be willing to let a girl ride, but we’ll see. it’s a different ball game having all the free ride boys around throwing down such massive stuff and as well not having the boys close on hand to talk to about lines, this trip has been good for me in that way, to learn more about my riding in terms of what I know I can hit, what I know is just too big and also getting the eye for lines that aren’t there yet. I’ve had such a lot of fun and we still have a few days left, the helicopter is coming soon I think so that’ll be wicked to film with that.

I’m so excited about rage coming around, seeing the guys sending such big stuff will be awesome, I’ve got my favourite riders who I love to watch, Kyle for one, he makes everything look rad, and knowing a bit about the place, knowing how gnarly it really is and how hard it is to ride with all the variables, it changes your perspective and makes thing even more impressive. Affy and Ted are planning away, talking shovel sizes and digger tonnage, Ted wants Affy to help him build so there’s lots of things brewing. it’s going to be rad, and the best thing is we have a whole year of amazing racing to look forward to before rage happens, so there’s never a dull moment.

I can’t explain how good it is here, being stood at the top of the cliffs with the wind in your hair and the lines to be ridden below, surrounded by people who just love it all, makes me feel like the luckiest person alive.

Here’s to sending it. Rach

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