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A STEEP LEARNING CURVE (Beau)

 

D3 was our first ever Nordic Shore event, not just at Hafjell, Norway, but world wide and with just six weeks to organise it, it was a mission. As you’ve probably already guessed, it showed just a little. I think we spent most of our time trying to stop that feeling of, “oh s**t, we’ve bitten off way more than we can chew here” from showing all over our faces!


The build up.
From the start when Hafjell asked me to arrange an event for UK riders I knew it would be a challenge, but Tony and I decided to rise to the challenge. As I started to arrange things over this side of the water (Norway), we soon realised that things were falling into place really well and within two weeks we’d made some great contacts and had got some great advertising done for us by MBUK (big shout out to Doddy!). Meanwhile, our new contact and good friend Ole Hall used his connections to help arrange an Freestyle MX show and found us a band for the Saturday night. There was only one thing missing. UK riders! We had a positive response but by now the event was only 4 weeks away and those who wanted to come were already committed to other things like races, holidays etc.
Lesson #1: Six weeks is a bit short notice!


After some discussions with the Guys at Hafjell we decided to continue and make it an event for everyone, but by now there were only three weeks left. Panic stations! Time for some serious advertising. We called everyone we knew in Norway and beyond and told them to spread the word….and it worked! We got a good response; riders began to show an interest and, even though there was a big DH race on the same weekend, many riders wanted to come to have a weekend of freeriding on Hafjell's trails.
Crunch time
Monday morning 5am and I’m on a train to Lillehammer, running through everything we have got to get done before Friday evening. My main priority was to make sure the advertising was done in the town and make sure that the dirt jumps and MX landing ramp were built. I arrive, check in and get to the office to arrange the next few days and that’s when that feeling kicks in. “DOH! Forgot this, that and I think something else. Too late now.”

Lesson #2: see lesson number 1!


There was a phrase that a friend of mine used to use and that was “wing it” so I did! I made a list and just checked things off as they fell into place. Tony had arranged to get some flyers and t-shirts printed back in the mother country and gave me a call to say they had arrived in time but that it would cost more to send them than it did to print them! He stuffed all the t-shirts and as many flyers as he could into his bike bag but he’s still got enough flyers to paper Wembley Stadium! Just a small problem and a waste of good £££’s, but another lesson learnt.
Lesson #3: 3000 flyers weigh a lot and sending stuff to Norway costs serious dollars!


The Weekend
I had problem after problem in the week leading up to the event, but after Tony arrived, hours of digging and hundreds of phone calls it was Friday and time for the riders to arrive. If I had £1 for every time I was asked “how many riders are you expecting?” I could have retired there and the then! The truth was we didn’t know. It could be 10, it could be 80 we just didn’t know. We set a target of 40 riders and crossed our fingers and prayed. All we could do now was look over the masterpiece we had created in just three days, and wait…..

Saturday morning and the lifts and freeriding starts. Perfect conditions, sunny, a cool breeze and some of the best trails in Norway. All went well and a great days riding was had. We even saw a kid on a Specialized HardRock with 100mm forks tearing up the downhill! However, the evening was a different story. 6:30 rolls around the FMX display is scheduled to start and the crowed start to arrive……and so does the rain!! It pored down, every thing we had arranged, the food, band, FMX and dirt jump session was rained off. Looks like one English thing followed me over!
Lesson #4: Have a backup plan, no, have a couple of backup plans!


As we sat in the bar, over looking my dirt jumps getting well watered down, the Marketing Director at Hafjell walked over to me and told me we’d had 40 riders in total for Saturday, 20 for the whole weekend and 20 day pass riders. This brought a little light to the day and picked up my spirits at least. Time to hit the beer!!
Nuff said!

Sunday and another early morning. I was determined to make this day run smooth. All I have to do is meet with the medics and the timers for the race, give them their radios and let them do the rest. I get to the office where the radios were kept to find it locked! “O.k. stay calm, find someone to open the office.” So I did. He opens the office. NO radios!!!!! As you can guess, that feeling creeps back again. Tony manages to calm me down and eventually we find them and get them shared out. Riders start to arrive while Tony and I are at the mid station. People are saying to us,” are you coming for a ride.” This is when we realise. We’ve been at this mountain for a week and haven’t ridden once! I was so stressed out that I forgot what the event was all about, Freeriding. We set aside two hours and just rode. Things cleared a little and I realised, “hey so what if there are only 20 riders for the whole weekend, the riders are happy and that’s what counts”. Just as I arrived at the mid station after my first blast down the mountain I was met buy some riders I hadn’t met before. It turned out that the national DH race at another location was really wet for practice and some of the riders decided to come and ride at Hafjell. Great! Another 40 rider day. Granted, not all for the D3 weekend but they were wearing my t-shirts and enjoying the riding. Perfect!

As the evening was closing in and the weather was still perfect the FMX rider, Nils, approached me and said, “The weather is good. Do ya mind if we try again?”. Like I was going to say no! They put on an awesome show with Nils fully extended at every opportunity and emptying his trick bag all over the place. Straight after that we put on the Dirt jump comp. Sadly by this time some of the riders had to leave early for home and school started the next morning so it wouldn’t look good if they didn’t turn up for the first day because they were riding, But 6 jumpers stayed behind to slug it out for the excellent SixSixOne prizes we had been given. Not content with hitting up the jump park, someone (I forget who) started talking about shifting the MX ramp a bit closer to the huge landing and before anyone could say “that’ll never wo…” the ramp had been duly moved and was being sessioned with the ‘trick of the weekend’ being pulled in style: fully extended nothing courtesy of Bjørn. After a great jam we all showered and headed for Number1 Bar. A few drinks later it was all over and I was f**ked.

As for the event. Apart from the odd screw up and the wash out on Saturday evening, most of the riders left happy and asked about next years plans. It could of gone a lot smoother with better communication and a hell of a lot more time, but it was our first event and I think that with the amount of time and all the obstacles we had to overcome, it could have been a lot worse. After all if no-one had come then D3 wouldn’t have even had the chance to begin.
On that Note we’d like to send a huge Nordic Shore shout out to everyone who helped get this event started and to the riders, because without you guys it wouldn’t have even happened!
Oh, and watch this space. We’re already planning next year’s event…..


Thanks to
Hafjell for providing the location and the medical staff.
Hafjellfreeride Klubb for the most excellent trails.
Kjell Tore for all of the help you have given us from the start.
Number1 restaurant for the food and a great party on Sunday.
Bull Enger for given us all of the fantastic SixSixOne prizes
Ole Hall for coming over early and helping dig all the jumps and all the work you put in before the event.
Kristian Nauf, for the awesome trials display. Even though it rained Ole and Kristian kept riding. Respect!!
Woody’s bar for given us shelter from the rain and the thing we love the most. Beer!
Brent for building us a stage for the band. (Sorry it didn’t get used mate!)
The Flying Vikings for an awesome display and for introducing the local sheep to the world of Beer, they said see you at the next AA meeting!
Dan @ Royal Racing for helping us get the t-shirts printed at short notice.
Sykkel Sport for the loan of the tents.


And of course all of the riders that helped us over the weekend to shape and build the wall ride; you guys worked really hard and deserve much respect!!

Beau.

 

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