So what if the Mardi Gras is over for another year? The carnival never stops in Brazil, you just need to know where to find that Samba beat.
Next date on Brazil’s eternal party calendar is on the outskirts of Sao Paulo as the globe’s best bikers come to town for the first ever Red Bull Pump Riders.
With 16 top mountain bike riders and BMXers coming to contest the inaugural Red Bull Pump Riders championship, it’s time we found out a little bit more about this sport.
The most obvious difference between pump riding and normal cycling is that there is no pedalling: riders must use their skill of weight distribution to propel their bikes around the circuit.
'Pump tracks look easy but they are 10 times more demanding than a traditional BMX track' - Mike Day
Pump Tracks are also bumpy, with the course designed to give riders the chance to build up speed over small undulations. If riders fail to sustain momentum they risk becoming stuck on the jumps and other obstacles on the track.
The complex nature of a Pump Track attracts only the most skilled riders who use their technique, experience and upper body strength to ‘pump’ their way around the circuit without turning the pedal. There are no big downhill sections to allow a build-up of speed, only small bumps and pits so the riders must think tactically about how to tackle the track.
To give you an idea of the physical demands involved in this type of riding the U.S. Olympic Committee recently built a pump track at their headquarters in California and athletes from every sport are encouraged to use the circuit for a full upper body workout.
Mike Day, BMX silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics with the U.S. team, explains the appeal of pump riding. “Visually, pump tracks look easy but in reality they are 10 times more demanding than a traditional BMX track.
“You can’t pedal so the challenge is to maintain your speed while being careful not to get stuck on an obstacle.”
Mike is just one of the big names travelling to Brazil to contest Red Bull Pump Riders. Also making the trip from the U.S. is Aaron Chase, winner of Red Bull Bike Battle and Red Bull District Ride. Aaron is looking forward to bringing his philosophy of riding hard and having a good time to Brazil. The man from New Jersey has promised to move to the samba beat even if he can’t pedal with his feet.
This truly international world championship also welcomes Michal Marosi from the Czech Republic. Michal is one of the big personalities from the Red Bull Rampage, he is determined to see off the competition from his fellow mountain bikers and also the BMX bandits as well.
Also looking to taste success are local riders Bernando Neves and Edson Junior. Bernando is the reigning Brazilian mountain bike champion while Edson rides with the Brazilian national BMX team. Argentina is also represented by national BMX champion Ramiro Marino.
So what do these guys need to do to win? Well, the 16 competitors will have to battle against each other one-by-one on two symmetrical pump tracks.
The rider who wins his best of three contest will progress to the next round until there are only two men standing to compete the final.
The rider to cross the line quickest in two races in the final will win the Red Bull Pump Riders.