Organizers are promising a new and improved course for this year's Red Bull Rocks and Logs enduro motocross event in Calgary — which means it will be tougher for riders, and more exciting for fans.
Using a head-to-head, knockout format, 264 pro and amateur riders will compete on the custom track, navigating a number of specially-designed elements.
"We've been doing this for quite a while so we've been tweaking it as we go, and every year we learn more," said race director Shane Cuthbertson.
"We're trying to find different variations of rocks and logs … but we try to cater more to the rider and make it rideable while still providing a spectacular show for the spectator."
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This year's track will feature varying levels of difficulty.
"We have several different areas on the track where it splits. We send amateur riders on an easier route and we'll send the pro and expert riders on a more difficult route," said Cuthbertson.
"We try to keep it so every skill level can get a good experience and still accomplish the track while still having fun and not making it too difficult. It takes a lot of throttle and clutch control, and control of the motorcycle. There's a lot of special techniques to be able to do it."
One feature riders and spectators will recognize is the waterfall, which will see competitors climb a stepped rock ledge that will be slick with running water.
One new challenge will be the log pit near the grandstand.
"We have quite a sharp radius turn in there, so that will really catch a lot of guys and gals off guard this year," said Cuthbertson.
"It's one of those things that's very technical, only the top level riders can get through a section like this. The spacing of the logs make it very difficult … you have to be absolutely precise and perfect landing of your tires to get the momentum. Once you've messed up your timing one little bit, you're kind of stuck in there, it's hard to get out."
Calgary rider Lexi Pechout said she's happy to see growth among female riders in recent years.
"It's definitely male dominated but there are so many women coming to race ... all I can do is encourage more girls to come out and try," she said.
"It looks really intimidating but once you get the hang of it … everyone is so passionate and willing to share their experience, you will fall in love with it just like I did."
The event goes Saturday and Sunday at Wild Rose MX Park.
Racing goes from 2 to 6 p.m. for all classes except pro on Saturday, then there will be amateur finals and pro races from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.