2x Rampage Champ Kyle Strait: Among the Best All-Around Mountain Bikers in the World?
Up until this past October, the supposed “Rampage curse” was alive and well. No winner had ever repeated as champion of the illustrious freeride mountain bike contest. Injuries, bad luck, new talents and a range of variables had always come into play. Kyle Strait ended that conversation. With a combination of bold lines, fluid riding and aggressive maneuvers (to say the least), the curse was broken.
While it’s Strait’s suicide no-hander off the Oakley Icon Sender that most will remember from that day, it was every element of his run that came together to earn his second win since 2004. Having inserted himself into the freeride MTB history books, another discussion has arisen: where does Strait stand in the conversation of best all-around mountain biker in the world? According to some of the biggest names in the sport, with his ability to ride nearly every type of terrain and excel in nearly every discipline, Strait may well be right near the top.
From Fellow Rampage Champ and Good Friend Cam Zink:
“I don’t have any idea where it comes from, but like most people that are naturals and make incredible things look easy, it is somewhat correlated with the lack of trying. He doesn’t just make it look like he’s not trying; he really doesn’t try. He was just born with it.”
From Rampage Co-Founder, Contest Director and Owner H5 Events Todd Barber:
“I would say what makes Kyle one of the best mountain bikers in the world is his apparent lack of fear. I have seen Kyle compete at all eight Rampages and the one thing I always notice is his even-keeled attitude and he looks like he is just going for a local ride when he is about to drop into one of the most dangerous events in the world. He is like, ‘no big deal.’”
From Legendary MTB Racer Brian Lopes:
“It’s cool to see Kyle find his form to take his second Rampage win. He’s only 26 years young, but since he’s been on the scene since he was 12, Kyle’s a veteran out there. I’ve personally seen Kyle shift his focus a few times during his career from racing downhill and dual-slalom to slopestyle and he’s pretty damn good at both. These days, it’s tough to succeed in different disciplines and Kyle is one of the few that has. He’s a big, strong kid, not your typical looking cyclist, but whether we are out for a cross-country ride, hitting the local dirt jumps, racing dual-slalom, this down to earth, mellow demeanor, gentle giant, has some of the best style out there and I think he just showed the world a slice of his talent in Utah.”
From Reigning MTB World Champ Greg Minnaar:
“What makes Kyle Strait one of if not the best all-around mountain biker in the world? From making the podium at the Junior World Championships to 10 years later winning his second Rampage … do I need to say more?”
From Head Honcho at Freeride Entertainment Derek Westerlund:
“Strait has always been one of the best natural bike handlers in the world. He is one of the most multi faceted guys on the scene. He bleeds style and has always made sure it he is having fun along the way, which is key to sustaining in any industry. So wicked to see his most recent triumph at Rampage!”
From Fellow Rampage Competitor Darren Berrecloth:
“Kyle has been a part of the freeride movement from the beginning. He wowed the crowd at Sea Otter so many years ago, then wowed the crowd at the Red Bull Rampage in 2004. Nearly 10 years later came back strong as ever to take the win at the 2013 Red Bull Rampage. Pretty amazing to be in there from the beginning till now.”
From 2012 Rampage Champ Kurt Sorge:
“Growing up riding every discipline of mountain biking is huge because they are all so different and the skills you learn from each discipline compliment each other so much. Then mixed in with Kyle’s natural talent has left him being one of the greatest all around riders.”
If you’re interested in re-living all the excitement from this year’s Rampage, tune in this Saturday to the Red Bull Signature Series episode featuring all the best moments from the Virgin Valley in Utah. The episode will air at 12:30pm PST on NBC.
In the meantime, here are a couple of the most memorable moments from the Icon Sender, which stood at the heart of the acclaimed Rampage course.