: Andrew TaylorPhoto
: Daniel Roos
As I boarded my flight from San Francisco to Vienna it began to occur to me that I had little to no idea what to expect for the next couple weeks, but I was sure it would be good times full of awesome riding. Once my flight landed I collected my bags and headed straight for the doors. It was time to start our next Seasons of Shred adventure. I exited to the street and began looking out for Niki, but he was nowhere to be found. After a short wait on the curb all of the sudden a classic Mercedes-Benz pulled right up to my feet. An old man stepped out, immediately opening the back door for his passenger. Sure enough, Niki jumped out with a huge grin on his face and began helping me load my things. As we loaded up he started to explain that he had a little game to play that would make the next couple weeks fun and interesting.
From the airport we headed straight onto the highway. After a few miles we took an exit that led us into an industrial park. A couple more minutes of driving went by until we finally pulled up to an old sketchy building. Once the car stopped we got out and that’s when Niki handed me a stack of money and said good luck. As we made our way into the old hall I noticed a lit up roulette table in the back corner. Sitting at the table was a dealer and a tall mysterious guy with his back facing towards us. We walked up to the table taking a seat and dropping our stacks of cash eager to get the game started. While waiting for the dealer to count out our chips, the cigar smoke cleared and that’s when I realized the mysterious guy was Martin Soderstrom. At that point I knew it was going to be an awesome trip.
The dealer began pouring drinks and explaining the rules of the game. It was explained as a typical game of roulette, but with a twist to bring riding into the mix. There were ten riding spots spread throughout the 36 numbers on the table. When the ball lands on a number we would ride the spot associated with that number. To keep things laid back we decided to play six rounds of roulette so we could potentially have a couple of days at each spot. The breakdown of the spots on the table went like this:
0 = Fly Home
1-4 = Linz Trails
5-8 = Dirty Playground
9-12 = Austria’s Sickest
13-16 = Dirtgarden
17-20 = Bruno Trails
21-24 = Leogang
25-28 = BA Trials
29-32 = Funday
33-36 = Street’s of Vienna
Since the ball would always choose the next spot regardless of our money bets there was one last rule to keep things interesting. Each player had to have chips on the table in order to continue on with the game.
Ready to get the game started Niki, Martin and I placed our first bets and waited in anticipation as the ball spun around in circles. As the wheel slowed the ball dropped and landed on the number three. That meant the first spot we would be riding was Linz trails. We had all been to Linz for the Austrian Kind of Dirt contest, so we were all pretty pumped to head back and check it out years later.
With Linz being the first spot on the list it was time to place our bets and spin the wheel for the second stop. As the dealer spun the ball we were just as anxious as the first spin to find out where the next riding spot would be. Niki wasn’t kidding about having a game that would keep things interesting, that’s for sure. On the second spin the ball landed on lucky number seven. Looks like the next spot up would be Dirty Playgroundz. This was a new spot outside of Vienna that none of us had been to so we had no idea what to expect, but couldn’t wait to check it out.
Although we already had a couple of solid spots lined up there were still so many good ones on the table. So for the first few games Niki and I kept our bets pretty mellow unlike Martin living on the wild side and going all in. Our bets were placed and the ball began spinning for the third spot. With the wheel slowing down the ball dropped and this time landing on the number ten. This meant Austria’s sickest was our next place to shred. Austria’s Sickest is a huge dirtjump line that was built by Niki and Clemens out in the middle of nowhere. Martin and I had only seen pictures of this place, so we were stoked that it would be our third stop on the trip. At this point in the game Martin was far ahead of Niki and I with chips with his careless gambling style.
On the fourth roll Martin once again decided to be brave and go all in. Trying to play smart Niki and I stepped up our bets this round, but still made sure we had chips for later in the game. Martin spread his chips on almost every number on the table only leaving out a few. By the look on Martin’s face you could tell he was sure he was sure to win big. As the ball began to slow down we could tell Martin was a bit nervous knowing there was a lot on the line. Sure enough the ball dropped landing on O leaving Martin with no chips and forced to pack his things and fly home. It was a good run for Martin but like they say all great things must come to an end.
Although Martin was out Niki and I continued to play the game making sure to keep chips sidelined for the final roll. After placing our bets the ball was released and this time landing on the number thirteen which would take us to Niki and Gabi’s Dirtgarden. This meant we had a good amount of time at the Dirtgarden since Niki and Gabi’s Dirtgarden Jam was just a few days away. This was the first spot I ever rode in Austria so I was excited to have a few days there.
After a solid game with some ups and downs it was time for the final roll. With nothing to loose Niki and I decided to go all in leaving no numbers empty of chips. With big bets all across the board one of us was sure to walk away with a huge stack of cash and another good riding spot. There were still a lot of spots that were untouched on the board so we couldn’t wait for the ball to drop. As the roulette wheel began to slow the ball dropped landing on number thirty-one (funday) leaving the last part of the trip for us to decide the outcome.
Since this left us with a couple of days to do whatever we decided to change the pace by spending our first funday wakeboarding on the waterways in Vienna. For our last and final day we decided to make our way out to Clemens’ compound. CK’s compound was about an hour outside of Vienna with a foam pit and jumps so there was really no better way to spend our last day of the trip.
With the game finally over and all the spots decided it was time to start our adventure. As you can see from all the photos we had an awesome trip riding some of Austria’s best spots. Although there were a few left untouched roulette was an awesome way to map out our adventure and like I imagined the trip was nothing but good times.Riding Roulette Video