When it comes to mountain biking, Kyle Strait is a certified legend. The California native started racing at age 11 and soared to stardom with his shocking victory at the 2004 Red Bull Rampage. “I was the second-to-last rider to drop in, and I knew exactly what I had to do to win,” Strait recalls. “I had a great run, and it was a life-changing experience for me.”
Even more impressive is the fact that Strait almost missed the event thanks to a gruesome tendon injury in his finger. Doctors had told him not to ride, but Strait ignored the advice. Barely able to grip his handlebars, he strapped a splint to his finger and took the whole thing down. At the age of 17, Strait was a rising star with a penchant for big air.
But he didn’t stop there. In 2013, Strait returned to the top of freeriding in spectacular style, landing a flawless suicide no-hander to earn his second career Red Bull Rampage victory. In the process, he became the only rider in history to conquer the deliriously dangerous course more than once, and etched his name in the record books as one of the best bikers on the planet.
Strait is hardly complacent. Eager for new challenges and more practice, Strait and his fiancée moved last year to Alpine, a town 30 minutes east of San Diego, so they could access a nearly infinite supply of trails in the Cleveland National Forest. “I needed more space, I needed more land, and I needed a place to ride,” Strait says. “The riding is great here, and I love being out in the country.” At age 28, now a veteran of the mountain biking scene, he’s only getting started on his next groundbreaking chapter.