To understand how this ended for us, you need to know where it began.
For over a decade, we thought the state of Utah was the best landscape on the planet to push our riding and, ultimately, ourselves.
I don't think you could design better terrain than this.
It's not something you could dig or form or put together with boards or nails.
It's a landscape itself.
It's big terrain, high consequence.
We spent 10 years getting to know it like the backs of our hands.
Every crack, every slope, every line.
It's not tame, it's not safe, but our time here has made it like home.
Traditionally, in our sport, you have a few trails coming down a hill.
But standing on top of a mountain and having 360 degrees of options, that's freedom.
The only limit is your imagination.
Over the last few trips to Utah, we noticed something.
Something had changed.
It started to feel familiar.
Everywhere we went, people had ridden there before.
And that's what sparked this whole idea.
As unique as Utah is, could terrain like this exist somewhere else?
Could anything come close? Could there be better?
The bicycle has always been a way for me to explore.
It started with the training wheels coming off.
Suddenly going from the yard to the whole neighborhood, then the local trails, and eventually a career of traveling the world doing contests and photo shoots.
Riding has become my life.
I've broken a few records and a lot of bones, and I've been lucky enough to see a lot of the world from the seat of my bike.
But now the places I wanted to find were landscapes that had never seen tire tracks or even footprints.
But how do you find something that not many people have even looked for?
Where do you start?
The elements required to make up these riding zones are rare and exact.
The perfect dirt, pitch, climate.
To find new locations, we would have to go to places where the mountain bike had yet to be introduced.
Leaving the familiar behind and starting out on this mission meant a lot of research.
But you really don't know if these zones will work until you put your tires in the dirt.
If we were going to pack up and head to the other side of the world, we were gonna need some help.
-Hi. -My name's Jack.
Nice to meet you.
I'm here with James Doerf ling and Kurt Sorge.
It's pretty crazy being this far from home and what you know, being in this completely different part of the world.
Wow, check that one out.
Coming here to China is definitely a big culture shock, like, it kind of makes you feel like you’re on another planet almost.
The way people around here look at us, they've definitely not seen westerners before.
We have a good team.
We've got a translator, three drivers, and it's really key for over here because no one speaks English.
Yeah, this is a traditional bazaar.
-What is that? -It's baked dumplings.
Yeah, it's safe.
Having our guides here is definitely a very unique experience.
You get to know these guys.
You know, they’re locals. They’ve grown up here.
You know, this is the culture, really, is them.
So, really being able to hang out with them, get to know them, is really a cool experience.
The second we saw this terrain, we knew this location had a lot of potential.
Almost too much, if that was possible.
Come here, and it's just so vast and so many zones.
That makes it almost harder to find stuff.
But we also realize that coming in the middle of their summer may not have been the best idea.
The average temperature was 45 degrees Celsius, or 773 degrees Fahrenheit, almost unbearable to ride in, let alone hike.
I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a learning curve.
But once we got our heads around the new dirt and terrain, it was game on.
It's really cool having Jack and the drivers come and hang out.
They’ve never seen riding like that before.
They’re just cheering, yelling, hollering. It's awesome.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Last day of the trip here, ended up rolling across this pretty sweet road gap.
If I'm able to do this, definitely will be the biggest thing I’ve ever done out in the middle of nowhere.
Hey, guys, I'm just, I'm holding for wind here.
You know, hopefully get this thing in the bag.
Hey, guys, it's getting pretty windy. I'm not sure if I'm into this.
Looking back, I'rn not sure if it was the wind, or if I just wasn't into it, but I was definitely disappointed.
At the end of the day, the trip was a huge success...
Oh, yea h! Thank you.
...and proved this whole idea had great potential.
Cheers, boys. Good trip.
-Kicked our ass. -It did.
I think what we got was good, but, like, I definitely think I could find more stuff in the future if I come back.
Mike Kinrade had told me about another potential zone on the edge of the Andes in Argentina.
The other option we were thinking was just going across the river, maybe further up, and just, like, going way back in.
So, we traveled down to South America on his word that there would be good riding.
-Dude! -That is awesome.
Dude! That's the biggest spider I’ve ever seen, man!
You got to see this!
Dude! Dude! Hey, where's my camera, man?
It was pretty weird, man, 'cause on the drive, it didn't really look like a desert.
Thinking, "Okay, where's the desert?"
You know, all I'm doing is seeing jungle and mountains.
How far we got?
The whole crew was just like, "Where are we? What are we doing here?"
Like, if I wanted to ride in the forest, I'll stay home in B.C.
You start climbing in elevation, and you start to see a little bit of red dirt here and there.
And then, sure enough, come around a corner, and there it was -- desert.
Just explodes into this huge valley of red dirt and red mountains, and it just looks unbelievable.
Instantly, morale was just up through the roof.
Yo, look at this place.
Whoo-hoo! Pretty sick, eh?
I start scouring to find lines, and everyone's finding, you know, about two lines each right away.
We got to use what each place has to offer and use its strengths.
So, here in Argentina, it's the big open faces and the chutes that you don't have to touch.
It's like five times bigger than I thought it was when I looked from the other side, which is a good thing, I think.
This is like the best spot I’ve ever been at.
Ohh! It's like quicksand!
Oh, my God.
That was the biggest hike I’ve ever done in my whole entire life.
No one's ever rode in this place before.
That's a pretty cool feeling, you know, 'cause you're out there, and you’re like, "Dude, look at this line."
Probably the first one hitting it, and I'm probably gonna be the last.
Me and Andreu were sitting on the ridge up there, and he said, "Robbie --
Robbie's probably my favorite human being."
I'm like, "He's probably one of my favorite human beings, too."
Just sends it.
Doesn't-- He doesn't even warm up run.
Hasn't ridden his bike in six months, and then just rips down that.
Robbie, man, like, as soon as he's on it, he just finds the craziest line and rides it, man.
His line was just insane.
Get it, buddy! Get it, buddy!
-Dude! -Damn it!
Broke my foot, I think.
After just like a quick assessment, we had to go to the hospital to check it out.
You don't want to end up in the hospitals down here or anywhere besides home, really, 'cause you never know what's gonna happen in there.
No one speaks English.
It was really rough trying to get them to understand that I needed an X-ray on my foot.
Fortunate enough that there was no broken bones, but he's pretty injured right now, so we’ll see if he can get back on his bike anytime later in the trip.
Seems like more people are getting hurt this trip than normally.
Andreu took one of the hardest crashes I’ve ever seen in my life.
-Your neck and everything all right? -It may be the collarbone.
I took a big crash, but luckily, I just got a bunch of bumps and bruises.
No one wants to take any more risk in a country like this, but, at the same time, if you see something you want to do, you’re not just gonna let it go by.
You’re still gonna go for it.
Two minutes later, he's just 100% again, and he just goes back up there and rides the same line.
No problems that time.
First day back.
The next location we wanted to explore was back in North America.
And we knew that if we wanted to find new terrain on our home continent, we'd have to go deep.
We’re in the most pristine section of the Fraser River in central British Columbia.
The only way into most of these areas is by jet boat.
We’re gonna be on the Fraser for, like, 10 days-- camping out, roughing it, pretty far away from anything, really.
Being back in North America, we definitely had access to some amenities that made exploring a lot easier.
We’re in the middle of the middle of nowhere.
If you can find the center point of nowhere, it's inside the center point.
When I first heard about this trip, I knew we were gonna be living by the Claw lifestyle.
If he, all of a sudden, got dropped off here by himself, I have a feeling he'd be all right.
Can't say the same for the rest of us.
The McCauls haven't camped too much.
I'm claiming a spot right here.
It looks like, kind of, tent city.
Safety in numbers from the wildlife and the bears.
Hopefully they'll get them or them or them first, so I'm pitching my tent right in the middle.
Did you see the bear shit about 10 feet away from your tent there?
I did not see the bear shit
10 feet away from where I'm about to set up my tent.
-It's right here. -Oh, good. That's safe.
This is his trail.
This thing needs a glossary.
They never told me what a rip-and-stick wrap...
Yeah, I set up tents all the time.
No, I'm not reading the directions or anything.
This keeps the rain out, by the way, in case you’re a rookie.
Home sweet home!
How come the pole is on top of your tent?
Nobody else's seems to be that way.
It's a little trick I picked up over the years about tent-building.
Ow, ow, ow, ow.
I thought you were singing.
I burned my knee It really-
God damn it.
I thought the CD was skipping for a second.
I'm down with this camping business, except for my tent's on a hill, and my sleeping bag's really slippery.
I kept trying to figure out why I'd end up in a little ball down at the bottom of my tent.
So I'd scoot my way back up, fall asleep, and then just slowly slide back down.
That was my first line of the trip, all the way from the top of my tent down to the bottom.
I think I'll find some more today.
We all just kind of gambled a little bit, and then went down river.
And we come across this zone that just looks awesome.
And it looks like something that was just made for mountain biking.
It's all good.
The first two corners are soft, so you can blow those up.
You’ll rail it no problem, and it's all good, man.
Dude, that is probably the funnest line I have ever ridden...
-Yeah, so fun. -...in my life.
-I think we got her, buddy. -Yeah.
Just the best way to end the day.
So, we’re up the Chilcotin River this time.
We’ve been camping on the Fraser River.
Fraser River is beautiful, but Chilcotin's on a whole different level.
The river's just bright blue-green and just surrounded by big canyons and hoodoos.
Unfortunately, the Chilcotin's rapids were too big for the jet boat to bring our hikes in.
But lucky for us, we still had the heli.
See that sand slope, like, dead ahead of us?
I think that's gonna be our L.D. right up there.
We got an early start today, and we have a mountain-bike playground at our disposal with a helicopter to get us up to the top.
I have a feeling this day is gonna be one that goes down in the memory banks as one of the greatest days we’ve had riding.
We were gaining momentum.
But we knew that if we really wanted to push big-mountain riding, we would have to go to the biggest mountains in the world.
And that's what brought us to Nepal, headed to one of the most remote regions in the Himalayas.
Upper Mustang's been the longest and furthest and hardest trip I’ve ever been on, and just to get into the country it was like a three-day ordeal.
I don't know what happened.
All 45 pieces of luggage showed up except for my two pieces of luggage.
As soon as we get to Kathmandu, I know that we’re supposed to charter a plane and get out of there and then start our trek for three days, so it just doesn't seem realistic for me that my bike's gonna end up catching up to me.
So, at this point, I'm really bummed out.
I came all this way, and I don't have a bike or clothes or anything.
This will probably be the sketchiest flight of our life.
In a situation like this, you just have to keep your mind occupied, because coming all the way to Kathmandu and then knowing that we have another three- or four-day trek ahead of us to get to a zone that we might not even be able to ride, and if we could, it might suck, so it's a leap of faith, but, you know, you got to take gambles every now and then.
One of our guides, Mingma, is a pretty acclaimed mountain climber.
It was pretty cool to have him
'cause he's been up to Everest a couple of times, and he's also climbed Annapurna I.
So what we’re doing here in Kagbeni is we’re gonna enter upper Mustang, which has been just opened up to the public in '92.
Before that, no foreigners were allowed in.
The reason that this area has been restricted to foreigners is because if you keep going that way, up the valley, it ends u p landing in Tibet, and from what we’ve been told, there's still a large military presence up this valley.
This is where the road ends and the hiking begins.
From Kagbeni we went to Chele.
Starting to put the work boots on.
I'm hiking in my skate shoes 'cause I don't have my bag, and feet are starting to get sore, and I'm wearing chino pants.
Just trying to stay positive.
You guys see anything?
Gained some elevation and ended up here at this small, little, remote town.
Definitely we’re in the Himalayas, so the elevations are a factor.
Right now we’re at about 10,000 feet, and it's not really in too much of effect.
You can feel it, definitely, when you’re hiking around a bit.
You get a little more tired a little quicker, but tomorrow we’re supposed to put on a big day and gain, I guess, thousand vertical meters, which is quite a bit.
We’ll probably be up at 14,000 vertical feet, and you’re definitely gonna be feeling it there.
Woke up to a bit of a frosty morning with some snow on local hills.
I'm not looking down.
They’re building a road down this valley that will connect Tibet to Nepal, but it's not done yet.
It's pretty cool to see this place before the road's finished and there's a lot of outside influence.
And we get to see it how it's been for hundreds and hundreds of years.
The trails are gnarly for us, but that's the only way the locals have to get around, and it's the only way to get out here, so...
It's what we signed up for.
Couple of us got a little bit of altitude sickness just because we climbed so high so fast.
We gained about 3,000 feet in elevation.
I wish I had a granny.
Still hiking in skate shoes.
Up and down.
And I'm beat. Blistered feet.
That's definitely one of the hardest days I’ve ever had walking.
Rolling into this little town, and, like, I'm super fired up.
The riding actually looks amazing.
Yeah, boys, how sick was that?
I'm still claiming longest day of my life, I think.
And we’re just gonna grab some dinner and hopefully get a good night's rest, and tomorrow we’re gonna hopefully put the tires in the dirt and see how it goes.
Nepalese Santa brought me a nice gift for the morning.
I got my bag of clothes.
I got my bike back.
It's a little beat and battered, but I was in the same clothes for five days, and it's pretty refreshing to have my own stuff now.
I guess some porters carried my bike in.
I can't thank them enough.
And I finally got some normal shoes to wear.
Most people are like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, you ride stuff like this all the time," but we haven’t.
You know, this is totally new.
Every time we go to a new location, the dirt is completely different.
Coming this far, and, you know, getting your first line down and realizing that it's not really what you’re hoping for is a huge disappointment.
You’re like, "Man, I just traveled five days, and now it's not working."
It's not a good feeling.
How was it?
Oh, it was fine until I crashed.
I’ll race 'ya?
What about that next one over?
Has anyone looked at that?
Dude, this zone fuckin’sucks.
I fuckin’hate this zone.
All right, well, let's move on, then.
All of new Nepal.
Just seeing the people and the culture in Nepal, it was still worth the trip.
But it was hard to believe we'd come this far and found nothing worthy of riding.
We’ve been going over little mini-pass over mini-pass, and it's just too gnarly for all the wrong reasons with too many big rocks and no run-outs, and come around this little corner, and we think we got something.
I think that thing's gonna work, dude.
-That thing? -Yeah.
Why not? It's sand.
See, there's so many options, too.
I think we found gold.
Hiking at this elevation feels like the gravity's turned up to double its normal strength.
The harder you work, the, you know, more memorable the line, so, it's a lot of work, but it's always worth it.
Makes it that much more glorious when you get it done.
Okay, dropping it.
You got this, Kurt!
-Yeah, Sorge! -Look at Sorge.
Oh, yeah, buddy!
Dude, you killed it!
Oh, my God.
I don't think I’ve ever gone that fast down a chute before.
Dude, I was just fuckin’holding on for dear life.
It is fuckin’fast.
That was sick!
Oh, this is gnarly.
I think the only thing that went as planned is that I made it to the bottom.
-Yeah, buddy. -Give the boy some air, huh?
Dude, that's probably like 2,000 vert.
That's like your average trail at Whistler in, like, five seconds.
Yeah, you’re right.
Yeah, the riding has been probably some of the gnarliest riding I’ve ever done, in the upper Mustang.
It's just trumped pretty much everything else I’ve ridden.
We keep searching all over the globe for this unique riding terrain.
It's crazy 'cause, you know, we just seem to scratch the surface wherever we go.
We just, you know, we got two weeks here, and it just seems that we need a couple months, you know?
Just being in these zones and seeing how vast, you know, the world is, it just makes you realize that there's a lot more out there, and there's a lot to be had, and the search goes on.
There's an old saying about traveling, that when you travel, you not only get a new perspective on the world, but you also get a new perspective on home.
After almost two years hunting down new landscapes, we decided to return where it all started and see if it looked any different.
Virgin, Utah, is where this style of riding first came to life.
Its shelves and spines have seen more progression in big-mountain riding than anywhere else.
We’ve all ridden this terrain countless times.
We know the drops, the dirt, and the hospitals all too well.
But with these elements of comfort comes a lack of excuses.
All these other locations, it was exhilarating enough just putting tires where they'd never been and surviving.
Here, there's an immense pressure to exceed 15 years of big-mountain history.
Let's do this!
Probably the gnarliest thing I’ve ever done.
Oropping in five.
There's a common misconception that when you come to Virgin, you rod, get all the lines and tricks you wanted, and return home victorious.
But the unfortunate part of pushing your limits in a place like this is eventually, you find them.
You know, we really want to push our riding, and, you know, myself, I'm here to get some new tricks that I’ve been wanting to do for years, actually.
I want to try a front flip off a drop.
Something that scares the crap out of me, but end of the day, it's something I know I can do.
I just need to commit to it.
Yeah, this spring, Darren broke his back front-flipping just in his backyard.
I want this.
You can do this.
Having that kind of demons in the back of your mind haunting you on a trick, it always comes into play out here.
Yeah, front flips are scary.
They’ve taken a lot of people out.
You’re a fuckin’ pussy!
Not every story has a happy ending.
The pressure we put on ourselves to push our riding is immense.
He lost it, man.
He wanted it so bad, but that thought of breaking his back again was in the back of his head.
You can't blame him for not doing it.
It just shows how much passion he has for bike riding.
I respect what he did, you know?
Like, sometimes you’re able to do it, and sometimes your head just goes like--
Sometimes you just can’t, you know?
He's out. He's out!
Coming to Utah is full-bore.
You’re not just going to ride your local trails.
It's like you’re going for blood because you’re trying to progress the sport as much as you possibly can.
It's a great place to where you can go bigger and show the world things that have never been done on a mountain bike.
But, at the same time, that comes with a price.
Sometimes you eat Utah, and sometimes Utah eats you, I guess.
This trip, Utah, I think it definitely got the better-- the better end of us than we got out of it.
-Yeah, he's good. -I hit it hard.
I thought I broke my collarbone.
This shouldn't be viewed as a negative, but just reality.
And it's simply par for the course in Utah, a landscape that remains one of the most ideal for big-mountain riding.
But was it still the best?
It felt like there was another location that may have taken its place.
After all the searching we’ve done, I came back to this spot just because it's the best big-mountain riding I’ve ever seen.
There's nothing like the Gobi.
As soon as we saw Mr. Wu again, we’re like, "Yeah, we’re driving with him the whole time, man.
He kiIIs it."
This go-round, on this trip, I think we know kind of more what we’re looking for.
It seems like it's just-- The only hard part is getting there and scouting it and finding an efficient way to cover everything.
Getting over there?
That's where I want to go.
Is there any way that we can get the vehicles down and on the other side'?
We can see this place in the distance, and then trying to get out here is another thing.
It's like Vegas.
When you see the casinos from afar, you’re like, "I can walk there," and then six hours later you haven't gotten halfway across town.
This is gonna be an all-hands-on-deck situation here in a second.
The van cannot go.
We got little clearance vans with our bikes in them, so we had to figure out a way to get the bikes on the land cruisers.
Traveling around the world, you really got to rely on what you bring with you, and if you don’t, you just got to improvise on what you can find and what you can create.
Some sketchy craftsmanship here, but I think she's gonna work.
Plenty of clearance.
Little high. Little higher than we needed.
You know, when you come back to a zone like this, it's not like it's engrained in your head on how to ride this terrain.
It's funny, hiking up you’re kind of timid and like, "Man, I don't really remember what it feels like."
We’ve all been here before besides Zink, and you could tell he was anxious to get on his bike.
When I dropped in, I didn't want to be timid.
I just wanted to go as fast as I could.
And then as soon as I got in the gully, I realized, "I'm in big trouble."
Oh, my God!
Oh, my God.
Does he even have a radio? I don't even think he has a radio.
How you feeling, buddy?
Is Zink all good or what'?
He's super short on breath and a little wounded.
-But he's good. -Oh, my God, that was so gnarly.
I totally thought that I was breaking my back.
I thought it was gonna be so mellow and whatever, and that gully just got so thin so quick, like...
-What's up? -Dude, you got tommied.
It fuckin’ sucked, man.
Well, can we go to a doctor that has an X-ray machine?
That's the hardest thing ever is keeping your mind from running.
I’ve never been to a Chinese hospital.
I didn't know what it was gonna be like.
And say I had a ruptured organ, and I was bleeding inside.
I don't want them to cut me open.
It could be a nightmare.
I'm starting to figure that this trip might be over for me.
You tell them it's like I don't care about the cuts right now.
I just want to get my ribs...
Thanks a lot.
Sit right here.
-Sit here? -Yeah.
It's feeling a little bit better now, but I'm still, like, short of breath.
-A shadow. -Thank you.
The ribs are good. I'm not going home now.
One of my best friends, Kyle Strait, is always making fun of me that I love crashing, and, clearly, I don’t.
Nobody loves crashing.
There's something gratifying about taking that kind of a beating and just being able to continue on.
And you’re just like, "If I didn't get hurt doing that, I can do anything."
When I found that jump, I made up my mind pretty much right away that I wanted to flip it the first try so that when I landed on a flip you would clearly see that that's the first time it's been hit.
I think we’re ready. Are you ready?
About as ready as I’ll ever be, buddy.
The places we’re riding right now, like, there's just no comparison.
I don't really know how to explain it.
Just complete freedom, like you try whatever you want.
Last day in the Gobi.
It's just opened my eyes to so many other locations I want to take it to, and I really hope that this isn’t the end, and it's just the beginning.
-Yeah, Wu. -Yeah!
Just saw in the distance, coming across the flats, a group of kids.
No, you guys just...
The first thing that they noticed is the brakes are a little touchier than what they are used to.
The whole reason that brought us on this voyage is the landscape so that we can find a place to ride our bikes.
The people, the cultures, and all the other things that we saw are the true fruits of our labor, you know?
These kids are gonna be doing this till dark.
I know I would when I was a kid.
Now we’re back two years later, and it's still here in perfect condition.
Looks pretty much good to go as is right now.
-Yeah, buddy! -Yeah!
After traveling the world for the last couple years looking for what's next, we found one thing... that where the trail ends, the next one begins.