A tale of camaraderie, exhaustion, and the making of incredible memories.
The ghost town of Steveville, Alta., is a quiet place — well, most of the time. You’d be surprised if you saw much else there but grazing cattle and the odd coyote meandering along the shoreline of the Red Deer River, except for on one day in 2021. On this exceptional day, you could expect to see RVs, tents, campers and pickup trucks loaded with dirt bikes as their occupants prepare to ride one of the toughest races Canada has ever seen. This day is when the Red Bull Outliers race took place.
Steveville, a place that would be easily missed if you blinked while driving through it, holds unique terrain that attracted 150 racers in August 2021 to test their skills and push their abilities in attempts to claim a spot at the top of the pack. As you drive through the rural flat farmlands there’s nothing in sight, until the ground parts and it looks as though the seam holding the world together has been pulled apart, exposing an expansive prehistoric section that appears untouched by civilization.
The Outliers Race
Shane Cuthbertson, a well-established veteran Canadian off-road racer, partnered with Red Bull to put together one of the most extreme races to ever grace the Canadian landscape.
The Red Bull Outliers race is formatted as an Extreme Hard Enduro: riders must complete nine laps of the course or four hours of riding, whichever comes first. The difficulty increases each time the lead rider enters into their next lap with the introduction of a new “Outlier.” These Outliers were added sections to the course, which offered hill climbs and descents of increasing difficulty throughout the Badlands terrain.
When I entered the Outliers event, I had no idea what to expect. This was my first race ever: I had wanted to start racing dirtbikes earlier in life, but never worked up enough courage to enter a race. Little did I know at the time that I would be entering into the toughest ride of my life. It didn’t help that I couldn’t really practice enduro riding for a few months before this race. It would have been irresponsible to rip around the back country considering the high fire risk in my area, not to mention the incredibly thick smoke.
My partner Erik and I arrived at night with our truck packed with bikes and gear, while my parents followed in their truck. The timing worked out well as they had driven out for a…