Words & Video by Robert Johnston

Red Bull Hardline is possibly mountain biking’s most gnarly race. Dan Atherton took an exposed Welsh hillside and picked a line down it that would separate the men from the boys. The course features a whole host of features that would make your average mountain biker tremble with fear – from huge jumps and blind step downs through to steep and highly technical rock sections – meaning it’s an incredible feat to even ride down the track, let alone trying to go down it fast.

When I was presented with the chance to get myself trackside to witness the action in person, I jumped at the opportunity. Watching previous years through the TV screen was exciting enough, but I knew the cameras on the live feed weren’t telling the whole story, so I thought I’d do my best to give you guys the most real experience of the track and what makes it so damn gnarly. Hell, it was worth the journey to the event just to get the clip of Brage Vestavik Scandi-flicking roost at me then absolute railing that dusty turn. In the flesh, the exposure down the course is severe and the track is just a whole magnitude harder in terms of technicality and awkwardness than it looks when the world’s best are floating down. There’s no mistaking it, this is a Hardline.