On his way to prove himself in the Freeride world, ONZA team rider Vitor Buchli travels the world in search of the biggest jumps and best events. His latest trip took him and some other Swiss freeriders to the infamous Huckfest, way up in Norway. Find out what Vitor experienced there in EP2 of his blog below.
After Flatout Days (learn more about the event in my last blog), one thing was for sure; I wanted more. No, I NEEDED more! More big jumps, more tricks, more everything! I can't explain the feeling of riding such huge lines with riders I look up to and making progress day after day. In discussion with some other riders, I decided that I had to head up to Hillbilly Bikepark in Norway for the infamous Huckfest.
Huckfest is not your average bike festival, it's a true celebration of life and the epitome of good times. There are the usual festival musts like beer - a lot of it (by the way, it's super expensive in Norway) - big jumps, many riders with big tricks, an MX show, and to top it all off, there are a few side events like the Death Grip Challenge, Huck to Flat, and live music that really added to the overall vibe and great atmosphere of the weekend. All in all it was more of a big family party, just with the freeride family and with freeride activities.
Arrival at the venue. Time to unpack and get the bikes ready.
Together with my ONZA and BIXS teammate Louis Eisenhut and the rest of the Swiss crew, I arrived on Wednesday night and immediately saw a couple of riders starting to ride the big line - and by big I mean big. By the time we got to the jumps, they were done riding and had started shaping the line for the next day. I couldn't pass up the chance to get the shovel in my hands to help clean up the line and make first contact with some other riders.
The next day I felt a little sick and didn't manage to ride much. I made it through most of the course, but since the ground was still a wet, slow and only two riders barely made it through, I decided to head back to the camp site and ended up falling asleep in the van chair after dinner.
Last nervous discussions before dropping in. First laps are never easy...
...but the boys make it look so easy!
The side view of the big booter definitely gives another impression of the size of these jumps...
I slept over 11 hours and felt much better the next day. The weather was still a bit strange, and it rained all morning on Friday. In the afternoon we were able to do a few laps, and I was able to ride the whole track. The rain damaged one of the landings, so French sender Olivier Cuvet and I dug some drainage and compacted one of the berms and the landing to get the track back to prime condition. Time to drop in!
Last bike checks in the morning. Keeping momentum between jumps is key, so Louis and I both choose the fast rolling Aquila for events like Huckfest.
Big crew, big sends. Ready to drop into the big day.
The hours seemed to fly by, and it was already Saturday. Today was the big day, we had good weather from the beginning. It was a beautiful warm morning. I started the day with a tasty breakfast and a little yoga to get my body ready.
When we got down to the course, there were already a few guys collecting air miles and getting comfortable with their style and their tricks. As usual, I started with a warm-up lap on the small line and once I felt ready, I switched to the big line. I thought to myself:
“Today is my day, I look good and feel even better.”
As I predicted, the day got better, and better and I felt incredibly good on the bike. I didn't manage to try any big tricks, but that's the beauty of it, since it's no competition I didn't have to. In the end I landed a couple of backflips, and one of them was on the big metal booter. My biggest flip ever, which got me super excited.
All in all, I had a great time and made good progress. I didn't land any new tricks, but I was able to work on my mind game and practice my tricks until I was comfortable with them. I'm looking forward to the next event, where I can continue to test myself on huge jumps.
“Huckfest… I’ll be back 😉”
This shot perfectly sums up the weekend. Good times.
Words: Vitor Büchli
Photos: Andoni Lopez
Thanks to my sponsors who made this trip possible: BiXS, ONZA Tires, Cushcore, Bike the World (Title), Intercycle (IXS, Camelback, MucOff)