While the Red Bull Rampage event that took place this weekend showcased the absolute limits of mountain biking, the event did not come without consequences and controversy.
There is a stiff price for risking your life and limb off mega drops and massive kickers. Several riders ended up at the hospital, and while race officials had first reported that Paul Basagoitia, who took a nasty spill coming off a huge step-down, was okay, the true details told a different story.
Following the event fellow riders, friends and family all rallied for Paul who shattered a vertebrae and possibly might not walk again. The five-time Rampage competitor had pulled a flip and then a 360 and a kicker before taking dropping off one of the largest step-downs in competition history.
First thought to be a leg injury, Paul was rushed to the hospital before it was realized his injury was much more grave. He had lost feeling in his legs and underwent nine hours of surgery. On Tuesday, a family representative reported the rider was in stable condition.
“Everyone send Paul Basagoitia positive vibes,” fellow rider Cam Zink wrote on an Instagram post showing what appeared to be Basagoitia giving a thumbs up from a hospital bed.
“This champion has started a long road to recovery after shattering his T12 vertebrae yesterday and undergoing 9 hours of surgery. He had a winning run going and may have set the record for biggest step down just before going down. Lots of tears have been shed. Keep Paul in your prayers to regain feeling in his legs. There were some horrible people spreading false news that he was OK, but he needs your support more than ever to walk again.”
The non-profit Road 2 Recovery has launched a fundraising goal of $100,000 for the stricken rider. So far the campaign has already raised close to $30,000 with $16,000 coming in just the first day.