Mountain biking isn’t always what it sounds like. For the most part, the people who buy mountain bikes are rational, sane people who are just looking for a simple and fun off-road experience and have no desire to ride up and down a steep vertical incline, even if the bikes themselves are specifically designed for durability and to increase performance in a variety of rugged landscapes. Some people like to take things literally, though, and those are the people who are most familiar with the death-defying Red Bull Hardline.
The Red Bull Hardline is considered one of the most difficult mountain bike races in the world. The competition plays out in the rough hills of the Dyfi Valley of Wales, and is going on its fourth straight year. If mountain bike races weren’t scary enough, the Red Bull Hardline actually launches competitors over the heads of their spectators in a fifty foot leap from the side of a mountain. It might be said that this race isn’t for the faint of heart, but then again many more might say it’s only for the clinically insane.
Even so, these tough maneuvers are the very focal point of the race. Creator Dan Atherton wanted to create a course that pushed those who loved the sport, and so he did. Not only did he manage to conceive a race that is widely considered one of the toughest, but he also played a huge role in bolstering the number of people who participate or spectate. When things get dangerous, they also become more popular. It’s like a rule.
There might be a lot of people willing to give this gauntlet a try, but only twenty of the best riders in the world are afforded the opportunity. Red Bull TV both sponsors and broadcasts the event in order to promote the sport to as many people as possible.
For those unfamiliar with the practice, mountain bike racing (or MTB/ATB racing) was recognized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (or UCI) in 1990, even after the premiere UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 1998. The World Cup consisted of nine races and took riders to Europe and North America in order to experience and race in some of the toughest terrains in the world. By 1996, MTB racing as a sport became a part of the Olympic Games. The sport’s popularity has only grown since then. Since 2006, MTB racing is even encompassed in the World Deaf Cycling Championships.
There are a number of different types of racing, with different rules and regulations and disciplines assigned to each. These include cross-country, downhill, Super D, freeride, four cross, dirt jumping, marathon, and more. The Red Bull Hardline, naturally, is a downhill race.