Every year, in a remote location deep in the New Mexican desert, dozens of riders, coaches, and special guests return to Durango Devo's Top Secret Training Camp. They come to train, to build, to teach -- to shred.
A Photos Essay by Daniel Waker.
Some of these riders have been coming to this spot for over half a decade now, many who first learned how to jump or how to summit a tricky double rock step here now serve as an inspiration to the younger generations of rippers -- soaring through the air and floating through rock gardens with style and ease.
Each year, the riders return and rebuild the camp -- adding to the remains of previous years, creating a bigger and better playground.
The camp itself looks like something out of a high schoolers doodle notebook... two firepits surrounded by campsites -- surrounded my intersecting lines of big mountain steeps and drops leading into flowy singletrack, dirt jump lines, packed berms, even a short track course.
All of this placed smack in the middle of miles and miles of buff singletrack and undulating fields of slickrock -- all gloriously clear and dry in the first few months of the year.
The campers rose early -- starting off the day with an 8am run up to the rocks surrounding camp, where we were guided through a special yoga session by local pro rider Nick Gould. Then it's back to camp to eat and work on the jump lines before heading out for a midday trail ride.
After the trail ride, the excitement built as the riders scrambled to put the final touches on their lines before the main event -- the Saturday Night Slopestyle. The competitors were judged on both riding ability and line creativity... with the finalists being decided by a vote from the spectators.
Obviously, the slopestyle was an extremely serious affair.
At the end of the long weekend, the riders reluctantly pack up and return home -- filled with stories of the sessions they had and dreams of those of the next year's camp.