My Norway trip started before I was on the Moscow - Oslo plane. I met Pavel Alekhin (aka Cherry) at one of G-Session parties in St. Petersburg and we decided to shoot dirt somewhere in Barcelona. At some point, Spain was changed to Norway and I started packing my gear. As we landed in Oslo, Pavel’s teammates were waiting for us - Clemens Kaudela from Austria and local "viking" Adrian Tell. Besides there was Florent Delahaye, a videographer from France. We dropped our bags and bikes to a roomy Merida van, me and Cherry jumped into a funny Nissan Note and burned up the road straight away from the airport. That was the start of awesome week in Norway and the "This Is Norway" project.The legendary Hafjell was our first stop. A brilliant spot with nice massive line of jumps and an epic Norway background. "No dig - no ride" - the first day we were shaping, digging a bit, and checking the speed.
The dirt was pretty wet after the morning rain that day and the guys failed to gain enough speed, so nobody planned to do any massive tricks that day.
But anyway, neither me nor Flo left our cameras off. And it was worth shooting. Clemens did nice backflip Superman, Adrian - his perfect 360 and Pavel landed a table top.
The second day made us happy from the very first seconds with nice weather. Sunshine, bluebird, dry dirt, three top level riders and a perfect spot - what else is needed to have an epic ride and awesome footage? The Merida dirt team was ready to ride but it turned out that Pavel bike’s fork and headset were damaged after yesterday's session. He straightened the fork somehow and was back on the line.
Brakeless Pavel didn't have enough speed in the beginning…
But he worked it out and for the rest of the day the whole team was riding and shooting.
Kongsvinger was supposed to be our next spot. We reached the town after midnight, and checked in at a motel a few minutes before reception was supposed to be closed. In the morning during the location check it turned out that the spot was completely unrideable. Wooden ramps were non-assembled, some jumps were unfortunately destroyed. Therefore we decided to move to the next spot - Drobak. But we had tons of fun on the way…
On the way to the parking lot Pavel decided to teach Clemens a tough Russian game that was played among most of the riders and schoolboys just to kill time. Both of the players put their fists one to another. The first player punches opponents fist till he misses. The second player has to take his fist away to hide it from opponents hit. As soon as first player misses, the second player starts to punch. Pavel was more skilled in playing this game. His hits were accurate and painful, but Clemens learned the game pretty fast and started to rebuff. So they decided to introduce amends and continue on the next spot.
We arrived to Drobak spot and were really upset. Jumps were sandy, too small and steep to ride. So we decided to skip this spot, go straight to Adrian’s place and spend one more day there in Larkrollen.
I liked Larkrollen at a single glance. A small, cosy town with a huge grass field in the middle and Adrian's home just hundred meters away. There was nothing on this field except of a pile of dirt and a wooden ramp. It took us just a couple shovels and a quick shape to start killing the spot with awesome flips, whips and table tops.
I did not expect any epic shots the first day on the spot, but the weather gave us a surprise - an enchanting sunset. We could not miss the chance and had a great evening session.
Morning. The last shooting day of the "This Is Norway" project.
Riders were riding, I was shooting, Flo was filming - all was good. Pavel was going for 360 whip and overspun it. His helmet moved up during the landing and a pedal hit his head right above the temple. Silence… I saw that Cherry did not move for a while, dropped my camera and ran to the landing. Pavel was on the ground, moving but could not get up. In a moment he was surrounded by the whole crew. Bustle. Thoughts tangled. I lifted Pavel up. Blood was on his face. We had to find out what was up with his head. The most terrifying was to take off the helmet. Done. It took me some time to untangle hair around the wound as they stuck together due to blood, soil and sweat. Adrian brought some water from home and we wet his hair. It became more visible that the wound was not deep, a few centimeter scratch. Thanks God everything turned out all right. Cherry washed and went to chill.
All the guys stomped a couple more tricks that day and we finished.
Looking back, I realize that it was one of the best trips in the past few years with no doubt a dream team! Go big, ride safe, guys!