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Due to the unpredictable weather in the whole of Europe planning the trip was quite a a struggle. The hesitation as for the final location was so great that it went all the way from the Lofoten in the north of Norway, through Czech Republic down to the apparently sunny Italian coast. All this caused a lot of confusion among the crew, no one knew whether we would be flying to Milan or to Munich till the last moment. I'm quite sure that Tom, the co-ordinator of the shoot has a few more grey hairs on his head these days.

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The filming equipment could be rented only in a certain time window, Sam had only few days in between various events and the film crew had to rush all the way from their job in Hawaii. So, one week before the only available window 15 people located all over the world were literally stuck in front of their laptops chasing sunny weather forecasts in Europe. All we needed was just a few days of clean cloudless skies. Finally the situation in Austria started to look promising enough to bet everything on that destination, flights were booked and we were one our way to Salzburg.

Day one. RAIN.

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Disaster - With the whole van packed up with the 2014 range I picked up Piotr Staroń (the photographer) and drove all the way from rainy Poland down to... an equally rainy Saalbach. The Hinterglemm in Zell am See region didn't even show a hint of sun, and the beautiful mountains that we were about to ride in were hidden in clouds. We picked up Sam from Salzburg Airport and headed to meet our video guys and local guides, the Lahnvalley Crew. Their HQ is in the picturesque village of Meishofen. The weather seemed unstable so while assembling the bikes in Hermann’s garage the decision was made to start with some urban freeriding on the new 2014 Soda 1 in Zell am See.

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As soon as Pilgrim started throwing the bike around a few kids recognised him and a decent group of spectators started to build up. Hermann, our cameraman / director, still struggling from Hawaiian jet lag, managed to give precise orders to the rest of the crew and keep everyone under control. I took care of the catering and the shooting actually went remarkably smoothly.

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After a while the whole team moved all the way up to the middle station of the Leogang Bike Park to check list another scene where we wanted to get some shots of Sam riding bike park lines and throwing down some tricks. Pouring rain was not an issue for our British hero but it occurred problematic to the film camera which almost sunk under the water splash from Sam’s wheel! Luckily both Sam and the camera dried out and the plan for the day was done. Check!

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Day two. HOPE!

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On the following day heavy clouds prevailed, but the rain finally stopped and the crew moved along to Schladming. On one of the nicest DH courses in Europe, widely known as a World Cup track from the past years, Sam and I and set up our Fuzz DH bikes and started blasting down the track accompanied by Hermann’s crew who were climbing up trees and pulling the cable cameras back and forth in hope to get some magic shots. Piotr was doing his best to photo shoot all that, despite difficult light conditions. The riding itself was really fun. I've been on the Fuzz frame for the whole season so no supprises there, but I must say that the out-of-the box complete bike setup is really all you will need. It was nice to watch how well Sam handles the big bike. He pulled one of the nicest whips on one famous jump at the WC track. Beers and schnitzel’s on the way back! Check!

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Day tree. DISASTER AGAIN.

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A serious rainfall from the early morning made riding impossible until noon. But then our new rider Wojtek “Devil” Koniuszewski arrived bringing some sunshine along with him (clearly it came from Poland). We had plans to shoot some various riding locations to showcase the new Eccentric bike. I am old buddies with Wojtek so we started the day at the local café for a small chat and a cup of espresso.

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As soon as the sun appeared we hit the road to warm up at the local forest trails and pump track, then to climb the Groser Asitz peak in Leogang afterwards. Heck, these bikes are awesome, the'll do everything and riding a steel hardtail is just such a pure feeling! That was a great day, smiling faces! Check!

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Day four.

A heavily overcast sky and high risk of rain meant that we needed an early start to have any chance to get some shots before it get's really wet. We bit into a Schnitzel Semmel (the local sandwich specialty) and got on our way to the mountain peaks over Saalbach to shoot the new Snabb enduro prototype that will be released at the end of 2014, and some extra shots of the revised Soda in action. I was riding solo that day, mostly on a beautiful mountain ridge with a killer view! Nice one, thanks for bringing us there Hermann! Both bikes handled really well in this enviroment, although we know the Snabb still needs some small modificaiotns. On the other hand, the Soda is really dialed and the weight loss on the new model can really be felt.

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Mission complete, time to drive back home! Check!

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