As the saying goes: Death or glory! How far would you go to win? Sam Reynolds talks about the reasons behind his decision to step out of the Red Bull Rampage finals, despite having run his line in practice.
Redbull Rampage is probably the mountain bike event that has the biggest media coverage worldwide.
Some racers have made or lost so much in just one run, so in that context the pressure on the shoulders of the riders is huge. The pressure on Sam to drop was as high as the uppermost reaches of the course, especially after his last year’s great result when he took a prize for best tricks on his first time out there.
Let’s find out more about his story.
Can you tell us more about your line and the new venue, what was your original plan?
The new venue was ‘back to the roots’ style which meant there were no set wooden features like ramps, gaps or drops like the past few years. Unfortunately for me going fast and hitting big jumps is what I like most so this was a bit of a bummer, but me and the boys managed to make a line we thought was cool with a few big trickable features on the way down. I rode most of it in practice and it was actually fun!
Can you tell us what lead you to take that decision and when did you decide it?
Well at the top there was this horrible thin bit which I’m not exaggerating when I say was 4ft wide with well over 100ft cliff off the side. If you slipped a pedal or got blown by the wind it wouldn’t be a case of a broken arm or leg, you’d be lucky to survive, really. And for me when it came to the time in practice where I went up there I decided the risk just wasn’t worth any amount of glory or money. Especially when I asked a few days before if it was possible to organise safety nets and they basically said they didn’t have time.
Are you happy about the decision you took?
I’m totally gutted, to turn down the honour of riding Rampage was the toughest thing to do. I hate feeling like I took the easy way out but at the same time I’m glad it’s all over and everyone is safe. I think it’s easy at Rampage to get pressurized into doing something you would never normally want to with the prize purse and potential stage to prove yourself. I’m just a guy who likes to shred bikes and I decided I wanted to keep it that way! It was a horrible couple days coming to the decision and looking back I think maybe I should have dropped but at the time I wasn’t feeling right so I don’t regret it.
How your sponsors, fans and friends have been responding to that ?
That was my biggest worry at the time and still now but luckily everyone seems really empathetic. Of course I want to say thanks and sorry to everyone who was disappointed to not see me ride, believe me I’m more disappointed than anyone. I’ve seen a few comments online calling me out but I’d love to see any of those keyboard bashers walk up the path to the top let alone ride down the lines! I’m lucky enough to have great sponsors too who thankfully understand and support my decisions no matter what and I really respect them for that. Except the Deakinator who won’t stop lobstering on about me not dropping in and no doubt I’ll probably never hear the end of it!
Do you want to go back to rampage and what would you do in your point of view of rider to try to improve it ?
I would love to go back to Rampage just put some safety net or something on the bits the riders could die on!!
Any last words ?
I can’t believe Trump made it this far!
Fabien Cousinié – Polygon UR team owner:
“I have personally a huge respect for Sam’s decision of doing what he thought was right on the moment no matter what. Having witnessed Sam’s canyon gap superman from my own eyes last year I think Sam has nothing to prove here.
“But today in extreme sports the pressure of being cooler and go bigger has never been that high and sometimes riders do what the world wants to see and not what they’re prepared for or what they are capable of.
“For sure this kind of pressure is what pushes the limit of our sport and we need it but to me in sports if you want to truly push your limit you need to be in a special mind set driven by confidence and clearly if your not there you have to draw a line about what risk you’re going to take and Sam has done it here despite of all the pressure.
“In the name of the team and the team’s sponsors, Sam we’ve got your back and we can’t wait to see what you’ve prepared for us for next year .”