Behind the Scenes of ‘Crossover’ with Christian Rigal

BMTBMX.


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Recent years have seen a wave of BMXers picking up mountain bikes. I’ll leave the discussion of how mountain bikes finally got cool for another day and a more qualified pundit, but there are few who have jumped more wholeheartedly into this transition than Christian Rigal. A pro BMX rider-turned-filmer-turned-mountain biker, Christian has fused all three of those pursuits into a style of riding and a trail of video parts that are instantly recognizable as Rigal. (We’re still fairly new here, but here’s a good one from this year.)

Christian is a man of many talents, but with a fleet of Scott’s dressed up in full knobbies and dirt features of his own creation dotting his local hills, these days riding mountain bikes sits high on that list. Yet you don’t live and breathe a culture like BMX for decades and then simply leave it behind. Nor should one want to… A good artist can mix paints and meld genres, in order to create something that transcends one simple box or another.

And so, ‘Crossover’ was born. On an oak-blanketed and usually lush corner of San Diego County, Christian and the master Shire builders pulled something special out of the soft ground. From huge, big-bike-only sends to tight and technical street-style bits of bike dancing, the crew mixed 19th century foundations with a 21st century vision. And from it all, they made something that just might be timeless.

Video by Darryl Tocco.

“What started as a blank canvas on a friend’s property quickly turned into a BMX inspired MTB zone. Using an old Church foundation from 1876 as our centerpiece, we went to work for 9 days on the tools and machines to make this crossover dream build a reality. Five Ten let me run wild with this and I can’t thank them enough for trusting me and my vision for this project. Opportunities like this are rare and I am stoked to have had the chance to bring some of these crazy ideas to life, and hoping it inspire others to look at things differently and do the same!” – Christian Rigal

A project like this requires an incredible amount of sweat equity to be pulled from dreams to reality. Days and days on the tools, and hours and hours of digging in between takes to keep everything running as it needed to for Christian’s moves.

Full send is the only way.
Every member of the crew has a tool of choice. Just don't go looking for Darryl's at your local Ace.
Without water, the San Diego dirt could be confused for moondust, but throw in some H20 and it’s chocolate cake. Having well access here was exceedingly appreciated.
Christian Rigal

Without much elevation, Christian had to work for every hit. Post-sprint, still time for style.

Dirt art.
A Great Dane clamping down on Christian’s wrist the night before shooting was scheduled to start was an unusual and unexpected challenge.
Christian Rigal crossover

Many of the moves required many, many attempts to get just right. Satisfying moments when the clip finally rolls across the camera back.

Safe to say not many of us have seen a feature like this before.
The man and his machines.

So dang cool to watch.
Prepping the big step-down into the pole jam. The stone wall is a church foundation from 1876.

Things don’t always go to plan. Going a hair too slow on a hit this big meant a huge sprocket case on the backside of the landing. Christian was luckily totally OK, but his frame wasn’t so lucky.

After a late-night frame swap, it was go-time again.
The build crew made use of all of the variety and character the property had to offer; from those old foundations, to a more recent ruin, to the big oak trees themselves.

Wow.
Unbelievable. This gap was huge, and the volume of the impact of tires on the wood was a distinct sensory confirmation of how gnarly the move was. Of course, the shouts when Christian rolled away were just about as loud.
Christian and Darryl.

“This project would not have been possible without Matt and Lex who allowed us to use their land, along with the collective efforts of all my friends. I hope this video inspires others to get out and make the most of your surroundings! You don’t need a mountain to ride mountain bikes.” – Christian Rigal

More tools of the trade.

Well deserved.

Presented by Five Ten.
Photos by Satchel Cronk.