...was born in Bulgaria. Their language is complex, difficult and incomprehensible for two complete noobs to make sense of. Thankfully we had a tour guide for our 4 days in Bulgaria, Peter (soon to become Pepo) was a member of staff at SLS (our hosts), who were the country reps for Dare2B.
Thursday Morning - London - 5am
I have heard many a horror story originating from Terminal 5 in Heathrow, but at this time on a Thursday morning there was no bother, bikes packed, dropped off and breakfast was ordered;
Bundled onto our plane, walking past the smug gits in business class, and into the 'weirdo' class, where Ross and I fitted right in. Cue bog standard flight photos;
Following my 3 hour snooze / Stevie Wonder impression in the middle seat, ensuring that Ross had to hold his bladder until arrival, we landed in Bulgaria greeted by ridiculous sunshine (and Pepo). Both thankful for our choice of attire, we were whisked off to our hotel, and then onwards to meet the guys who would be helping with the event. The first night was spent planning Fridays demo in Sofia, followed by a little bit of riding then an early night.
Friday Afternoon - Sofia - 12am
A nice lie in, followed by lunch at a local restaurant kicked off the next day. Menu's arent the easiest to read, thankfully the locals ordered. Who doesn't love meat....(that is half an orange in the middle to comprehend the scale)
Friday Evening - Sofia - 7pm
Thankfully the shows kicked off later in the evening. It was still warm, but alot easier to ride in 20°c rather then 30°c. It went off - the Monster Energy DJ played some awesome tunes, the crowd was lively, several photographers shooting from all angles and a TV crew. A very different experience to the Crossford childrens gala only two weeks prior.
Obviously I was riding, and didn't get to take many photo's my self, however Bike Porn Mag have a pretty good article that can be found by clicking here (you'll have to translate it). Here are some of the pictures from our demo in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The guys in Sofia really impressed us. Pictured (clockwise) : Cav, Me, Stamen, Pepo, Ross, Krum, Moni
Friday Night - Sofia - 10pm
It turns out, that in Bulgaria...everyone of your British Pounds is worth 2.5 Bulgarian Lev...which, when explained in real terms, ensures that a reasonable beer cost around about £1 per pint. So when the guys suggested that we have a wee tipple with them, we could not turn them down. We found some interesting pubs as well, where the walls are covered in paper to test your graffiti skillz..
Saturday Evening - Plovdiv - 7pm
Following another long lie, a long drive east, and lunch at the aptly named 'Happy' Restaurant (basically a Bulgarian version of Hooters), we were setting up for event two in Plovdiv. Again the monster guys turned up and pumped out some awesome tunes while we finished off setting up, in front of the Memorial Complex Hillock of Fraternity
Yet again the show went off really well, namely getting the locals involved with the hop competition really got the crowd going. The weather, as you'll be able to see from the pictures was scorchio...what you will not be able to see was the midgey cloud that hovered around us the whole time.
Saturday Night - Sofia - 12pm
We finally arrived back into Sofia and headed out for a bite to eat. Thankfully the Bulgarians seem to eat ridiculously late, then we decided that we would head out for a few drinks. Moni took us to a decent club, and then like all good nights out, we ended up in the park, still drinking, but now riding and falling off random Bulgarian brakeless jump bikes. Finally about 5am we called our taxi back to the hotel - cheers again Pepo -which was hailed down by Bulgarian Kenny Belaey, while Ross and I admired the local architecture...
Meeting back at the 'Funny' Restaurant, we enjoyed another meat feast before our flight home;
Sunday Evening - Somewhere on the M6 - 8pm
I am glad that my day job does not involve a lot of motorway driving as I couldn't cope with eating this all the time.
On the other hand, the time it took to eat the beast gave us time to reflect. We both had been given opinions and comments about Bulgaria. These thoughts were there in the back of our minds, but were soon negated by those who looked after us and showed us around. We are both grateful for the opportunity to travel and visit both Sofia and Plovdiv and everyone who we came across greeted us with respect, laughter, and wanted us to have a great time.
A massive thanks has to be paid to everyone involved with the shows, the riders in Bulgaria are very good and should be proud of how they portrayed their sport. Pepo was the nicest guy, and we had a good laugh with him throughout all the car journeys, meals and drinks.
A big thanks should be paid to Stoil Stoilov @ SLS and the guys at Dare2B for getting us over there to enjoy Bulgaria. Finally a massive thanks to Ben Savage for getting in touch with Ross and I to see if we were interested, and subsequently trusting us with representing his livelihood. We cannot say thank you enough.
As an additional bit of media for you....I was forwarded a link to this video that was made of our Sofia demos;