Nine times out of ten we only get to see the experts at their best – but practice makes perfect as you will see from this achingly painful video from extreme free-rider Josh Bender!
As one comment says “Bender is shit for technical skills but has huge balls for even attempting these huge drops!” I would hazard a guess that anyone would look shit attempting jumps like this, but that they wouldn’t try and try again until they cracked it!
Without doubt Bender is part of free-ride history. As one admiring commentor says: “Remember Bender did it on a bike back in the day, when the bikes were nowhere near as dialed in as they are today and he had no ace set-up mechanic pro tweeking it for his style/drops! True, guys today (zink and Co.) do stuff he wouldn’t do or even imagine – it’s called development. He pushed the sport by pushing the bike to extremes – he showed what was possible, maybe not by him, but by someone, if they had the guts, talent and bike. He’s lucky to be alive, let alone walking – give him respect.” And indeed we do!
Bender has spent years proving that mountain biking is doing all the things no one thought was possible on terrain that is unsuitable for anything, not even really suitable for a mountain bike. He was the guy who pioneered big-cliff drops and is almost certainly the man who has had the most and biggest crashes! He has a simple philosophy on life: “life is simply too short not to go big” – and big he goes.
He is pleased that the Red Bull Rampage is back on the circuit, having stopped briefly between 2005 and 2008 as the organisers felt that the riders were taking too many risks and injuries incurred were becoming too frequent and serious. However, Bender feels that it “was just what the sport needed to open everyone’s eyes that did and did not ride bikes, to this thing we call freeride mountain biking. It showed everyone that this is a spectator’s dream come true as well as an athletes crazy fantasy! Think about it – endless terrain that allows one to push ones own limits both mentally and physically. There is, and always will be, progression of the sport. Just like ski resorts.”
But you can listen to him yourself talking a little about his career.
As we said… respect. Certainly.