The one-minute clip that will have your heart skipping a beat: a mountain-biking pro rides the deadly White Line trail on the cliffs of Sedona, Arizona. The breathtaking footage was filmed by a small drone.
Imagine an almost vertical rock face with barely space for a car wheel, and you might get an idea of what it’s like. Mike Kollbeck, though, has first-hand experience of the world’s most dangerous bike trail, as it’s known by aficionados.
The thin white line of sandstone extends all along the face of the red Arizona cliff.
Home to some 10,000 inhabitants, Sedona straddles the near-Martian landscape of red rocks about 19 square miles in size. The town is 4,500 feet above sea level and is about a 90-minute drive from the Arizona state capital, Phoenix.
The route that’s carved into the Arizona rock was traversed by Kollbeck flawlessly. Mistakes are not an option there, and even a slightly missed turn will, in all probability, result in a gory death.
The Red Rock State Park can be glimpsed in the background, as we see Kollbeck ride almost entirely in two dimensions, when filmed from the side by a drone that sounds like a mosquito, but with HD recording capabilities.
The professional mountain biker describes the experience as “one of the scariest things I have done on a bike,” according to The Huffington Post, who emailed him. He also said it was a chance encounter with this challenge. He’d wanted to do it before and a trip through Sedona made it possible.
And so Kollbeck set about going for test walks on the tiny patch, and then giving the idea a couple of days to marinate, before deciding to do it.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest challenge was the “mental” one, he says. “I was confident with my skills and knew I could execute it. The key was to block out the scary thoughts about the potential danger, so I just focused on the trail and not on the terrifying space around me.”
Kollbeck had to adjust the air pressure in his tires for maximum grip, tuned the suspension and raised the saddle before giving it one final walk.
For him, the drone wasn’t all that important, more a “bonus.”
“I like for thrills like this, and I would have tackled this line whether it was filmed or not.” But Kollkbeck loved the resulting footage by Marshall Mullen, a videographer.
The biking pro did warn in the end that the trail “is not for everyone, so I strongly advise inexperienced riders against trying this line.”
Although there are plenty of videos out there of the White Line trail itself, precious few include daredevils like Kollbeck. However, here is another crew of daredevils, who call themselves Vital MTB. Three of the guys took their chances last year, and their video provides a striking first-person view of the ride.