After spending a few years riding and shooting on the local trails and bike parks, we decided to realize a long-awaited dream - to make a video on the terrain with scale and features like the freeride films and videos that have inspired us through the years. We wanted to find a place to let us free our imaginations, both for filming and riding.
But finding a steep desert terrain with suitable dirt in a country with temperate climate and dense forests like Bulgaria was a challenge. We tried different places, but every time something was wrong - sometimes the dirt was too slippery, the slopes were too short or there were not enough options for jumps and drops.
Besides, it would have been our first freeride project with Nikola Hristov who is the most experienced Bulgarian rider on this type of terrain. We wanted to show his progression so far.
Not long after, our hopes of finding the perfect place were blown away along with the dust of the next unrideable place. And just when our enthusiasm began to disappear Nikola mentioned one more place that we could check. It was an abandoned open-pit coal mine, located 15 km from Sofia. He also showed video of a test ride with a hardtail and no helmet on. It seemed like there was some potential. But we were wrong...
We left the cars between several ruined buildings. We hiked then climbed on large piles of junk. Finally, we faced a vast wasteland, larger than anything we had seen, much bigger than all our dreams and ideas for riding and shooting.
After long years of exploitation and erosion, the green mountains had become a desert. The soil was gone, and instead, the ground was covered with grayish dust. This made the landscape look like a black-and-white dystopian film.
We had our "piece of Utah," which was so large that we had to waste a few drone batteries to look at its farthest sites. The place was a true dream factory. We found steep slopes and chutes, large terraces for drops, massive piles of land that could be turned into a series of jumps with a little bit of shaping.
Soon after, we had a scenario, a storyboard and zero budget that forced us to shoot pretty long. Fortunately, our idea was enjoyed by experienced and skilled people who helped us with equipment, shooting and digging.
For some shots, we had to wander far, carrying all the equipment on our backs, then coming back again and again. Nikola’s task was even harder. He had to face a terrain that no one had ever seen or tried to ride. He had to learn to ride it without being injured. The closest help was at least an hour away from us, and the place was much larger than anything he had ever done. It did not go without a hitch, but fortunately the gray powder somehow helped us to get away without serious injuries.
And after all this, we gathered around the camera monitors to watch the replays. There was a silent moment of concentration just before our “Yeah”, “Sick”, “Whoa!” echoed in the mine.
It was the best proof that we had achieved the things we had come to tick off in this wasteland. The wasteland where we want to go back together with more people and the desire to unlock the great riding potential that it has.