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Natural Selection Proving Grounds 

The world's top freeride mountain bikers choose their lines and go big in Prineville

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Those familiar with the nuances of freeride mountain biking will see a competition like none other Sunday at the Natural Selection Tour Proving Grounds competition near Prineville. 

Most who are unfamiliar with the freeride associate it with Red Bull Rampage: a course sitting in a remote desert with jumps carved into cliffs in the middle of trails and lines that run straight down the hillside. This is known as big mountain freeriding. Another is slopestyle, which is where riders hit a series of jumps and features, with usually around 10 features to choose from. Proving Grounds gives riders the best of both of these worlds. 

click to enlarge TREVOR LYDEN
  • Trevor Lyden

The Proving Grounds course is lined with huge features, from big drops off of wooden platforms and rhythm sections to massive jumps more related to a ski and snowboard slopestyle event. The course has endless variations of lines that riders can choose from which helps expand on creativity and particular styles that are important in freeride competition. 

Returning this year is Bend local, and last year's champion, Carson Storch. Storch will look to defend his title in a field of 20 pro riders who have been individually selected based on their skills and fearlessness. 

This year features an expanded female field and is the only mountain biking event to feature equal pay for both male and female riders. The women ride the same course as the men making it so viewers truly get to see what all of the best athletes in the sport have to offer. 

While there are multiple days of festivities, the big competition day is Saturday. Audience numbers are limited to 2,000 attendees. The competition takes place at Flying Blind Dirt Park near Prineville and there are limited camping spots available for up to three nights. Camping passes will allow for exclusive access to the Friday night jump jam and a film screening.

Natural Selection Tour Proving Grounds
Sat. Sept. 10 8am
Flying Blind Dirt Park
12600 SE Juniper Canyon Rd., Prineville
$25-$95

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