Courtesy of Red Bull Newsroom
Enthusiast hand-builds private UCI style course with shovel, pic axe and water.
If you look hard enough in the mountain forests of the Inland Empire in California, you will discover a mountain biker’s paradise.
A dream mountain bike jump line skillfully crafted from nothing by the hands, flesh and soul of aficionado Sammy Mercado.
Upon its completion after two years of work the 28-year-old, who used to mow lawns for a living and now works in construction, invited professional riders Carson Storch and Darren Berrecloth to Riverside to check it out.
From humble beginnings in Guadalajara, Mexico, Mercado was raised in a broken home and worked jobs that inspired him to take initiative and move to America.
Upon arrival he started mowing lawns regularly in the area. One of his clients was the Diamond Bar Skatepark and Mercado found himself learning the art of building dirt jumps and earnestly watching the intricacies of biking.
Experiencing the freedom of his local hills and striving to become the best rider he could be, Mercado took action to create a personal line based purely on his own creativity.
Using his manpower alone, he built the course with a shovel, pic axe and water he carried into the desert using 5-gallon buckets.
Mercado said: “I had met Darren and Carson at Red Bull Rampage last year, and it was amazing to have them come out. I was nervous — I didn’t know if they’d like the trail.
“It’s always hard to build something from scratch and then not know if it’s going to work, or not.
“My motivation comes from being out in the mountains — I feel so relaxed there. Nobody telling me anything, it’s just me.
“I don’t want to build jumps to ride today. I want to build jumps that will last forever.”
Storch added: “It was humbling to come and ride the trail that Sammy had built and to see how much work he had put in. Now that I travel the world riding trails and jumps that other people build, it’s inspiring to see Sammy’s passion and fun to experience the grassroots way of mountain biking again.”