We headed down to the Oregon Dirt Park just outside Prineville, OR for the biggest freeride mountain bike event leading up to Red Bull Rampage.
It was a beautiful location, and it had been a while since everyone got the chance to enjoy a freeriding competition like this, so you could feel the positive energy radiating from every fan and competitor. Unfortunately, a torrential downpour on Friday morning threatened to cast a shadow over the competition, but it couldn’t dampen our spirits.
All around Oregon Dirt Park, the general stoke was high. We hung out at our adventure vans in the vendor parking lot and gave some tours of our Marketing rigs while we eagerly anticipated the next day’s main event.
After sunset on Friday night, we hosted a screening of Teton Gravity Research’s latest mountain bike film, Accomplice. We kept the party going and the beers flowing after the screening. We kicked off our Semi-Pro Cornhole Tournament, and a few hardy individuals were brave enough to join us in the cold. Fifty degrees feels pretty chilly after an unusually warm summer, but we didn’t let that stop us.
After downing several more beers, a winner was crowned, and we all headed back to our camp spots. We quickly drifted off to sleep to dream about some of the best freeriders around hucking themselves off the craziest features we’ve ever seen.
Saturday morning came quickly. The early morning fog stuck around longer than expected, and everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief when it finally lifted after breakfast. Riders and event organizers alike were out on the course with rakes and shovels to help get the dirt ready for the day. Eventually, the sun came out, and we were treated to our first glimpse of the monster features in action as the riders got warmed up on their practice runs.
Watching the riders practice turned out to be almost as much fun as the main event. It’s one thing watching footage of these runs and quite something else to be only ten feet away from riders hitting thirty-foot drops off wooden features as tall as houses.
Once warmed up, the riders took their places for the main event. It kicked off with the women’s category. The course had just dried out, but both women braved the conditions and carved out fresh runs to inaugurate this year’s event.
Hannah Bergemann dropped in first and led the session with some great lines. Camila Nogueira followed and put together a top-notch performance as well. While both riders did themselves proud, Camila Nogueira ended up edging out Hannah Bergemann to take first place in the category.
The men’s heat featured fierce competition between talented riders with a point to prove. After all, the competition circuit has been sparse the last couple of years. Despite the limited amount of practice, all the riders came out of the gates hot.
Carson Storch and Reed Boggs laid down some aggressive first runs, linking up features all over the course and pulling off some insane tricks. Dylan Stark had a few tricks up his own sleeve and gave the other two a solid run for their money.
Some of the wooden features were pretty intimidating. The massive Shark Fin, in particular, took some time for the riders to figure out. But eventually, the riders worked it into several entertaining runs, combining it with impressive drops in uncertain conditions.
In the end, our fellow Oregonian, Carson Storch, pulled off the win for the men, but Reed Boggs and Dylan Stark were right behind him. All three riders put down runs that had the crowd buzzing. The riding was mind-blowing, and the general stoke about freeride mountain biking was contagious.
Overall, Proving Grounds was a fantastic event. Despite almost getting rained out early on, the weekend was one to remember and featured so many talented riders tearing it up in a gorgeous location. A special shout-out goes to the entire event crew, who did an amazing job building the course and designing some killer features. If you didn't get a chance to make it out to the event, you can watch the entire finals recap below.
Special thanks to the crew at H5 Events for putting on such a fun freeride contest!
We are so stoked we could help support the biking community, and we can’t wait to be back next year!