Deep in the Birkenfeld region of Germany is one of the funnest MTB events; Audi Nines.
It’s been quite the event hiatus this year, so we’re even more stoked that we were able to attend the event. Organising events is stressful at the best of times, never mind attempting one in the midst of a pandemic, but after a lot of leg work ensuring that they could implement all safety measures to pull the event off, the week started off with riders and staff slowly being admitted to the Audi Nines Team bubble as corona test results came through thick and fast. Once in the clear and on-site, then the fun could start. The Audi Nines team pulled out all the stops to make the event as easy and seamless as possible, removing any need for contact with the outside world to minimise any chance of corona, deep in the depths of the quarry, you really did feel like you were in your own little mountain biking utopia.
With it being a spectatorless event for 2020, the team behind the Nines decided to try something new to bring the event to the fans by running 3 different live streams of the Big Air Session, Freeride Session and the Slopestyle Session which were broadcast on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.
Audi Nines is an event that is well known for its array of ‘firsts’, whether it’s riders doing a personal new trick for the first time, world firsts or quirky fun stunts such as Paul Coudercs Footplant Flip, the Nines is where it all goes down. But that's not all the event is about, the organiser are dedicated to making it a fun and supportive event for everybody involved, so, let's take a look at what the week brought us.
Tuesday was the first full day of riding, and after such a long time away from friends, the stoke was through the roof when the riders were on the track and sessioning features together, figuring out the coolest way they could piece together the course that Sam Reynolds and Clemens Kaudela had spent weeks building and months planning.
Wednesday saw the first live session of the week and the first in Nines history. With Sam Pilgrim and Max Fredriksson running the feed directly from their helmet cams, viewers got a chance to get up close and personal with the Big Air session
Thursday kicked off with a big hit of adrenaline as one of the "Become a Nine" winners, Lukas Weilenmann, took to the Big Air jump to try a world first triple backflip to dirt. First hitting the jump with the airbag, Lukas landed perfectly and was ready to take it to dirt. With all the riders looking on and cheering support, Lukas went for it, and whilst he landed on the downslope, he slid out towards the end which made him even more determined, however, after hitting it a 2nd time later in the week he took another tumble, his spirits not dampened though, we wish him the speediest of recoveries and can't wait to see him back again!
Later in the afternoon saw the big bikes come out as riders headed up to the Freeride line, this time it was Sam Reynolds & Bienve Aguado running the live feed, with event organiser Nico commentating all the action that was going down. You could tune into the riders headcams and get a taste of what it would be like to ride such an insane course. I'd go as far to say that this maybe even better than being there, or maybe an equally great alternative.
Friday was probably one of the busiest days for the Quarry with shoots from dark till, well, dark.
You can't put on a Nines event and not do a sunrise session, the event is as much about the riders and the tricks as it is about the media. It's the perfect blend of creativity from both sides of the camera, so it's only fitting that at least one day of the event the media squids and riders alike get up before the crack of dawn and hurry on down to the Quarry to make the most of the sunrise light.
"We woke up early, and had such a sick session with the good light," said Antoine Bizet. "The guys went pretty nuts on the freeride line, and then we followed it up with an insane session on the Slopestyle Line in the afternoon. Another epic day in the books. I can't wait for tomorrow!"
With so much going on in one day you may think it would be difficult to pinpoint just one best and most memorable moment, but for this day, that's an easy task; "Become a Nine" video winner Paul Coudercs Footplant Flip from a crane. Never has a quarry full of mountain bikers sounded so quiet than the moments leading up to Pauls flip, with everybody becoming very aware of their heart pounding in their chest in anticipation, looking up towards the sky to watch Pauls crazy idea, become a reality.
From a sunrise shoot to an evening sunset shoot and an impromptu night shoot. It was a big day in the Quarry.
With the wind picking up and after such a heavy week of riding, what should have probably been the biggest day was one with a slightly more chilled vibe as riders took some time to chill out with one another in the athlete tent, watch a bit of F1, and do a run down the quarry whenever they felt like it. In terms of "work-life" balance, it was pretty much spot on.Awards
Saturday evening saw the climax of the week, the Gala Night. A night to look back on the week, watch the edits and photos that he media team have been hard at work on, to celebrate each other's achievements and, more specific to 2020, celebrate being able to have such a kick-ass event when people needed it the most. Some people may say that having an MTB event isn't really a necessity in times like these, but after watching and being part of the insane crowd and atmosphere at the Nines this week, the kind of support and friendship you see is definitely something we need more of.
Although the Audi nines event is focused around collaboration, supporting and pushing one another, there are undoubtedly some riders that by the end of the week, have stood out with their determination and commitment to the sport, and with that, comes winners. The titles up for grabs were Winning Lines on both the slopestyle and freeride courses, Best Trick, again for both the courses, Best Style and Ruler of the Day.
There was one guy who absolutely smashed the Freeride line, lapping it what must have felt like, all day, every day. Can you guess who? I'll give you a hint, he's got a lot of energy, a lot of spirit and a lot of heart, so it can only be Bienve Aguado, and it's only fitting that on Gala night Bienve won the award for Best Freeride Line which you can check out here.
Some of you may remember his Tsunami Front Flip at Darkfest earlier this year, and you may think that 1 banger trick would be enough to satisfy you for a while, but not with Bienve. Constantly looking to push himself and the limits of what a man on 2 wheels can do, I caught up with Bienve at the end of the week and found out about the tricks he's been stoked to nail down here at Audi Nines.
If you're up to date with the slopestyle scene then it'll be no surprise that young, Swedish Emil Johansson took the win for 'Best Slopestyle Line
'. With seemingly endless style and even more astounding precision, Emil is taking the slopestyle world by storm.
There must be something in the water in Sweden as Emils riding buddy, Lukas Skiöld, took the title for Best Slopestyle trick with his Flip Oppo Whip Bar.
I feel like there should probably be a whole other winning title for the crazy Spaniard Adolf Silva for the most amount of attempts and commitment to nailing a trick, but for now, he'll just have to take the 'Best Freeride Trick' for nailing his Cali Roll on the Big Air jump.
Audi Nines is renowned for having some of the most stylish riders take on the new courses every year, so of course there's an award for 'Best Style', won by German up-and-comer Lucas Schäfer.
Ruler Of The Week - a title that goes to the rider that has wowed everyone with every single run they've done down the quarry, and as mentioned above, with endless style and precision, the person who most deserves such a title is Emil Johansson.
Freerider Patrick Schweika sums up the Nines event perfectly:
See you all next year!