Have you ever imagined going down 120 meters - equivalent to a 30-story building – on a bicycle? What about doing that inside a goldmine? Well, then, prepare your emotions because that is going to happen at the Red Bull Challenge in the Goldmine (the “Mina da Passagem” (the Passage Mine) located in Mariana, State of Minas Gerais) March 24th and 26th.
Markolf Berchtold (Santa Catarina, Brazil - Brazil's best-ranked international downhiller), Nathan Rennie (Australia - Santa Cruz Syndicate/SRAM/RockShox), Gee Atherton (England) and Kyle Strait (USA) are scheduled to attend the competition which starts above the mine on a course littered with man-made obstacles. Once into the mine, riders race without sunlight for a 120-meter loss of elevation. “The entrance of the mine and the second curve that gives access to the galleries are the most difficult parts of the competition”, says Tadeu Monteiro, the competition’s technical director.
The circuit’s full length is 650 meters. On Thursday, March 23rd, athletes will map out the route on foot. On Friday there will be an open free practice. Qualifying rounds will be held on Saturday. The ten best mountain bikers will advance to the finals on Sunday to compete for the fastest time. Awards amount to $35 thousand reais (equivalent a U$15,000 dollars)