02/21/2017, Canyon Good luck out there.
The Old Guard and the Young Gun
Over the last 15 years the southwestern slopes of Virgin, Utah have continuously shaped and reshaped the future of mountain biking.
With its stomach-turning drops, gaps and lines, Redbull Rampage has transcended the mountain biking scene and brought the discipline of freeride out into the limelight. Kelly McGarry’s canyon gap backflip, Cam Zink’s 360 drop, Lacondeguy’s winning run – viral GoPro clips that your mother is just as likely to have seen on Facebook as your riding buddies. The legends and heroes of the sport have been wrought from these desert sands.
It wasn’t always this way. For the first generation of freeride, the pioneers of the sport, it was enough to make it down the mountain, hit the big drops and finish in one piece. Now each year the tricks defy logic and push what is possible on a mountain bike. The torch is being passed to a new generation of rider.
Nowhere is this on better display than the Canyon Factory Freeride Team. Darren Berrecloth first burst on to the scene with his 3rd place at Rampage in 2002. A BMXer turned mountain bike rider, the British Columbia native pulled out a superman-seatgrab, one of the first ever tricks at Rampage and changed the direction of freeride. 14 years and innumerable competitions and films later, ‘the Claw’ returns to Rampage this year on his Canyon Sender to do some digging, see where the next generation will push the sport he helped pioneer and throw down a serious run himself.
With him will be Thomas Genon. Just 9 years old at the time of Darren’s first Rampage run, the Belgian is an unlikely new star in the sport. Hailing from the flatlands ‘La Frite’ found his way to the big mountains through dirt jump and BMX. He took the mountain bike world by storm in 2012, winning Redbull Joyride at just 18 years of age and used his 2015 Rampage run to place 5th and shore up his overall title in the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour. This year the goal at Rampage is simple: win.
On Friday the Claw and La Frite will drop in as teammates, a generation apart but together pushing the sport another step forward.
Good luck out there.