A wildcard entry to the most outrageous mountain bike event on the planet has Queenstown rider Conor Macfarlane in dreamland.
He’s set to compete later this month in the Red Bull Rampage - held on the sheer sandstone ridges of Zion National Park, near Virgin, Utah, USA.
The ‘big mountain’ event features some of the best freeride, slopestyle and downhillers in the world.
And Macfarlane, 24, says there’s always a healthy fear when riding something this committing.
“This is the gnarliest with the most consequences,” he says.
“It has the most injuries out of any competition - so mainly I’d just hope to stick my run and walk away from it.
“Should be fun.”
Red Bull Rampage will be familiar to Queenstowners. It’s where Queenstown rider Kelly McGarry, 32, landed an across a 22-metre canyon in 2013.
One video of the death-defying feat has been viewed 26 million times on YouTube. McGarry will also attend, for his seventh year.
Macfarlane landed the wildcard entry after organisers watched Tim Pierce’s epic short film and multimedia project The Quiet Achiever, which showcases the rider’s freeriding abilities with some wild lines in New Zealand.
He then sent other videos, photos and write-ups to the event organiser.
“For this event, which is the only one of its kind in the world, most get invited through videos and reputation, rather than qualifying through other events,” he says.
“What I sent to him must have worked.”
More than 40 riders will compete at the Rampage, with each given a five-strong dig crew and a week to create their own lines.
“We get a week to go nuts, build lines, link up any of last year’s lines, or the pre-made features, or build new stuff.
“It’s cool but it’s also the scary stuff because it means you can go as big as you want to.
“You’re the only limit really. Should be pretty interesting.”
Macfarlane, who competes in slopestyle, freeriding, enduro and other disciplines, hopes for a top 12 finish, which comes with a return invite. The competition will be webcast live on October 17.