Slopestyle riders are a different breed. Other kinds of riding have huge consequences if things go wrong, but nothing comes close to the sheer terror that slopestyle invokes. Richie Schley's fork exploded high on the course at the Adidas Slopestyle event in Salbaach Hinterglemm, Austria (something Marzocchi techs had never seen - the lowers left the uppers!) and he was positively jubilant walking down. Richie wasn't about to pull his name out of contention, but given a way out he was pleased as a pig.
Cedric Gracia was another rider who didn't seem heartbroken when frame issues kept him spectating; ze Frenchman blamed the judging for his lack of enthusiasm but you have to wonder if even Cedric was just a little bit frightened by the course.
Riders who thrive when given the opportunity to fl ing themselves - Cam Zink, Paul Basagoitia and Darren Berrecloth come to mind - are a different puzzle. There's a little cash to be made if you place well in these contests, but does it offset the risk? Haro's Cam Zink had two broken bikes but rather than chuck in the towel he painted Berrecloth's Specialized hardtail and rode anyway. Zink's young and still made of rubber - and this is decidedly a young man's game - but that much desire to put yourself in harm's way is remarkable. He risked a dressing down from his sponsors just so he could ride. He gets the brass balls award for sure.
To read more of this story, buy this month's  issue of MBUK. Even better, there's a free chainstay protector and tyre levers. Buy it now!