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Red Bull Formation: On The Eve of Full Send

Sunday was the last full session day before Monday's Formation finale, and the riders ticked off most of their features


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The heat turned up a notch in the desert on Sunday as the Red Bull Formation riders crushed the majority of the segments in their lines in anticipation of Monday’s top-to-bottom attempts.

Hannah Bergemann nailed the day’s earliest victory when she dropped in first at the top of her line on a blind roller, dubbed The Ovary, into a chute called—naturally—Fallopian Tube. Bergemann then headed back up the mountain to support Casey Brown, who’s sharing large parts of the line with Bergemann, as she worked toward dropping into the same section, which she did, resulting in another celebratory moment. Sam Soriano and Jess Blewitt later cleaned the same combo, jump starting another round of exhales and excitement.

Bergemann has linked up nearly all of her line now, although she still has a rollover to a massive drop combo to link up in the middle of her run on Monday. Meanwhile, Chelsea Kimball sent the huge drop she’s been working on all week, one that she and her diggers built from scratch, as opposed to using a drop already in existence from Red Bull Rampage, which took place at the same venue in 2008. And Vaea Verbeeck and Cami Nogueira both linked features from the top of the mesa where their line starts, and, speaking of ovaries, Nogueira conquered the double drop she crashed on yesterday that left her banged up enough for a visit to the hospital to make sure nothing was broken.

It was a day marked by full commitment, and celebration as the women greased their landings and cleaned high-consequence lines. Monday is the big day, when the eight riders will attempt to clean their lines top-to-bottom; it’ll be the biggest day in most of the women’s careers and certainly one of the biggest days in women’s freeride history. Stay tuned.

Photos: Leslie Hittmeier

 

Casey Brown preparing for a big day ahead.
Brown and Bergemann headed up the hill to tackle the top of their line.

Focus, then fire. Kiwis Vinny Armstrong and Jess Blewitt, who’ve been riding together all week, whip-off to warm-up.

Left, Brown and Bergemann scoping the Ovary entrance, which is blind from the top of the mesa. Right: Bergemann on the top of the roll-in that links to a massive drop in the middle of her line.
Bergemann cleaning a crux move in the Ovary.

A quiet moment of celebration for Bergemann after she cleaned the consequential Ovary-Fallopian Tube link-up.
Brown's face says it all—awash in relief after she completed the same critical combo as Bergemann.

Vaea Verbeeck connecting features on the top ridgeline as she works her way down her line.
Brown celebrates with Sam Soriano after Sam's successful link-up of Ovary to Fallopian Tube.

Chelsea Kimball goes full-commitment on her signature feature—a massive drop she and her diggers built from scratch earlier in the week.
Kaia Jensen (with the hug) and CJ Selig, who both worked on Kimball's drop earlier in the week, celebrate with her at the bottom.

The sheer scale of the terrain in Virgin is difficult to capture, although Armstrong and Blewitt are a pretty good reference for size, as they stand atop the Fallopian Tube drop.

Blewitt is all smiles on the summit ridgeline as she heads toward another drop-in.