Playing Favorites for Rampage
Exactly one week from today some of the best mountain bikers in the world will gather in Virgin, Utah to take part in the 2013 Red Bull Rampage. Most of these riders will have extensive material and financial support from a plethora of sponsors. There is, however, one notable exception, and that exception goes by the name Wil White.Last year, through the magic of the internet, we were able to watch the action at Rampage live as at happened from the comfort of the shop. As soon as Wil White dropped in, it was clear that he was not like the rest of the riders. First, he opted to fore go the bright showy kits most of the other riders were wearing, instead opting for jeans, a t-shirt, and hair that looked like he could very well be a member of Dethklok. Second, he was riding a Karpiel frame with Spinergy wheels, a set up that had many of us checking our calendars to make sure that the year was, in fact, 2012 and that we hadn't wandered into some weird worm-hole back to 2002.
Wil Didn't win in 2012, in fact he didn't even make the top 10. What he did do, however was make the top 12, which was good enough to pre-qualify him for the 2013 finals. When I saw his "Preparing for Rampage" video up on Vital MTB, I was completely prepared to see him expound upon all of the great new sponsors gained and opportunities presented to him since doing so well at last years event. Instead, it just showed him wearing the same clothes that he competed in last year, riding the same clapped-out bike and doing what ever he could to attempt to prepare himself for the event (Dirt jumps on his DH Bike, fixing motorcycles to pay for his travel). Wil is the epitome of the "run what you brung" attitude. He's not about trends or styles, he's about having fun on his bike. And it just so happens that fun, to him, involves pointing is bike down some of the biggest, gnarliest terrain that a bike has ever been pointed down.
Do I expect Wil White to win at Rampage? No. He doesn't have the same kind of time or resources to prepare to the event as 98% of his competitors, and there is at least a 50% chance that his bike is just going to explode mid-way through his run and end his life all together. But do I want White to win? Hell yes I do. Either Him of Jamie Goldman, who in addition to being a friend of the shop, is in the running for Nicest Person Ever. You can check out Wils preparation in this video: