Set against a backdrop of steep, unforgiving terrain, the top female mountain bike free-riders in the world, alongside a selection of industry mentors, diggers and other professional athletes, will work together to carve their route in the red dirt of southern Utah on Sunday. The goal: create a top-to-bottom line that illustrates their skill, style and power as well as push the women’s field further than ever before. Here is all you need to know ahead:
Red Bull Formation‘s roots go back to 2017 and American legend Rebecca Rusch saw a sizeable void for women in the ultimate MTB test of freeriding.
Rusch, a decorated adventure cyclist, ultra-endurance pro athlete, seven-time world champion, author, entrepreneur, Emmy Award winner, and motivational speaker, was eager to get more female riders involved.
Acclaimed MTB downhill rider Katie Holden soon entered the conversation and she began sketching the outlines of a women’s freeride camp, which ultimately became the first Red Bull Formation in 2019.
Six riders were invited to the inaugural Formation at the remote Virgin, Utah bike outpost with eight riders taking part at the 2021 event which was covered in a fascinating Red Bull TV documentary.
The 2022 edition started on May 8 and ends on May 15 with the elite riders scouting and then sculpting freeride lines before shredding them in top-to-bottom runs, while also being given the tools, resources, mentorship and visibility to propel women’s freeriding forward.
The 12 athletes were hand-picked by a selection committee made up of four professional female athletes and members of the media and industry veterans with the selections based on several factors such as experience, handling skills, air awareness, overall style, mental strength and potential.
There are four new faces this year – Burbidge-Smith, Robin Goomes, Louise Ferguson and Georgia Astle as Briton Vero Sandler makes her return this year after taking part in the first 2019 edition.
“This event really kickstarted a movement in women’s freeride and helped open doors for women in the sport. Now there are more events with female riders, more women pushing the sport and more opportunities for women to pursue freeride.”American Bergemann, 25, who has ridden at all three editions, declared
2022 Red Bull Formation riders
- Cami Nogueria (Argentina)
- Casey Brown (Canada)
- Chelsea Kimball (USA)
- Georgia Astle (Canada)
- Hannah Bergemann (USA)
- Harriet Burbidge-Smith (Australia)
- Louise Ferguson (United Kingdom)
- Robin Goomes (New Zealand)
- Sam Soriano (USA)
- Vaea Verbeeck (Canada)
- Vero Sandler (United Kingdom)
- Vinny Armstrong (New Zealand)
Taking the Leap shines a light on how some of the world’s best women MTB freeriders are taking the sport to new levels on two wheels in Utah.