Local Basel sunnyboy and longtime ONZA Team rider Vitor Büchli just finished his 4-year apprenticeship as a precision mechanic this summer and now aims to ride his mountainbike full time. In our latest blog series, Vitor takes us along on his trips and shares his favorite moments with us. For the first installment, he brings us to Flat Out Days in Slovenia. Enjoy!
After watching the UCI World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland in the middle of July, Marius Perraudin and I drove the whole way to Kocevje, Slovenia to be part of Flat Out Days. Beside a traffic jam that took almost two hours to clear, we did not have any problems and arrived in Slovenia after 10 hours and 800 km of driving.
We arrived at the Flat Out Days venue around 10 PM and the first thing we saw was the 25T Digger working under floodlights on the 13 m high landing of the Hip Jump. Inside the digger sat Alois aka "Alu". The man had arrived an hour before us and, without getting paid, sat in the digger and started sculpting the jumps to help the dig crew around Jan Perse to finish the build in time for the festival.
Preparation is key: Watering the trails keeps them running smooth, and warm-ups on the small line make for a perfect preparation for the big sends.
As I didn't know what to expect, I came to this event with no expectations. I thought it would be just another event with lots of good riders. I couldn't have been more wrong. If you're not there, it's impossible to understand the amazing atmosphere at the venue. All the girls and guys are so nice and open, and all the riders are one big family. As soon as the lines opened, we rushed up to the top and dropped into the jump line for the first time – and man, what a sick line! If you are looking for someone to build you a perfect flow/jump line, Jan Perse is your man. Not only is he a maniac on the bike, but he's also a great builder.
Big whips and huge front flips, there was definitely no shortage of tricks at the event...
We were able to ride all the smaller jumps on the first day when the big line was open for invited riders. Since I wasn't invited, I couldn't ride the big line until Wednesday. After the first two days of riding all the trails that Jan and the Batt crew had built, I was ready for the big jumps, and I finally I got to ride the big line. The feeling of riding these massive 25 m jumps is so intense! It's like the feeling you get on your first MTB ride when you finally lose your fear. ABSOLUTELY THE BEST!
I think Flat Out Days was by far my best week on the bike in 2022, and maybe even the best week I've ever had on my bike. A huge “Thank You” goes to Jan and the Batt crew for the festival and for giving me the opportunity to ride the big line! I hope to come back next year to add more style to my runs and to be part of this awesome family in Slovenia again.
Words: Vitor Büchli