Brage Vestavik and Blur Media are your X-Games Real MTB silver medalists and Fan Favorite! Despite the dark and gloomy Norwegian woods that it was filmed in, their video shows that the future of freeride is bright! Massive, janky DIY features, crazy drops, short runouts and raw energy made this video a standout that we’ll be watching for years to come.
We sat down with Brage to take a deeper dive into the making of his silver medal winning part.
First off, congratulations on your epic part! It’s gotten a lot of love from the mountain biking community and beyond, what’s it been like seeing the response to the video?
It still feels unreal. I'm seeing all these new comments coming in and I can't believe it's happening. Blur and I were stoked on the video part, but we could never imagine something like this at all. We were thinking ‘oh, maybe someone will feel the vibe, but maybe most people will think it's too rough and hard and stuff’, but to see everyone just loving it is so crazy. And it's also really cool not just comments saying it's sick. It's really amazingto get those comments with a proper meaning. They actually felt something about the edit, and that is really gratifying to see.
You built some pretty epic features for this edit, how many hours did you spend building?
I think I was out in the woods every day from the end of September till the end of January. We were out every day, and I don’t think I've ever ridden that little in my life because it was so much digging. It ended up almost the only days I was riding were the days we were shooting. I think we were digging until like two, three at night on the days before shooting. A lot of the days we were digging, it was more just trying to save the trails rather than building, because of snow and rain. We had to buy more plastic to cover the trails, like the drainages and stuff like that. It was a lot of work. I don't know how many hours, but it felt like living in the woods almost. I just remember walking home every night after midnight, just going to bed and then waking up eating and then going down again. It was just like an ongoing thing. And we couldn't really stop because we saw on the weather forecast that in one week, we have a weekend with no rain so we can finally shoot. We needed to finish the feature because if we couldn’t finish it, we might not get another chance to film. So, every feature was like oh, we finally got a window! We have to workday in and day out to finish it. And then as soon as that was filmed, oh, in two weeks we might get some good weather. We need to finish this one. And then it was just going on like that.
How much help did you have on it? Who was in your build crew?
It was me and two friends mostly, Sondre who is 15, and then Elias who is 14. And they're really into riding as well and they love digging, but they go to school so I normally started off a little bit earlier and they came down to the woods after school. They joined me almost every day and also for the film day, so it was like they've been through the whole process. My dad and my grandpa helped me a little bit. And I also had two other friends helping me on two different features. One of my friends drove down from really high up in Norway, like six hours down, and stayed at my place for three days and we just went through one feature with him, and another friend that came in to help with the drop in the skinny. So, it's a really small crew. It's been cool to just keep it tight as well. So, no one has really known what was going on and we've been this tight crew and just yeah, it's been sick.
You broke your foot towards the end of filming, tell us what happened.
We were trying to refilm a feature, actually. I'm not keen to tell what it is yet… We're going to drop an extended cut that we're working on. That's going to be pretty cool. We're putting all the crashes, all the digging, and everything into one big edit. And since there’s so much hype about what happened, it's like a mystery in the comments I see, we're going to keep it a little bit secret then. And I think we're going to hype it up for the extended cut.
Did your injury cut filming short, or do you feel like you got everything you wanted done?
I think it was actually good that it happened almost because I was so locked into the project. I think I wouldn't have been able to stop until the end, you know what I mean? Because it has been the only thing, I was thinking about from waking up to going to bed. Oh, I want to refilm that, I wanted to add that, I wanted to do that. And actually, that day I was also re-filming the log to log (because we filmed that earlier in October), we were just jumping on to 360 out, but I wanted to add the crank flip up so that was one of the things we added. I think if the ankle wouldn't have happened, we would have just kept going and going. It was actually good that it was just an ankle if you know what I mean. Once that happened, we were like, "Okay. We're done now. It's time to edit it down and finish it.” Before, we thought we needed to really push it to the next level and keep going and keep going, but then realized okay, we're done now. It's time to finish it, yeah.
Was there anything you wanted to get done but had to leave on the table?
No, not really. To be honest, I was really scared to injure myself during the whole project, not to be able to get enough footage. So, just to be able to have enough footage, I'm just really stoked on that because I feel like every feature was pretty sketchy. I was tired from digging. It was wet. [The fact] that mostly everything worked out and that we had enough footage was good enough for me. That was all I could want. I'm stoked! We didn't really plan too many features ahead as well. Most of the features really just happened through the project, like coming up with new ideas. Sometimes it was like oh, we're going to build this, but we ended up building something totally different. So, everything just happened through the whole process.
What was the hardest clip you filmed, whether it was building the feature, landing the trick, or getting over a mental hurdle?
I think the manual to tail whip was really hard on the full suspension. I've done it a few times on the hardtail. I was thinking that was going to be easier, but it was so hard to get the pop right. I had so many slams on that one because popping into the whip, I either went backwards or forwards. The scariest trick to try was the half cab on the skinny. Because we were building that the night before, the drop ended up being a bit higher than I actually thought. I don't know what happened; I think I just blocked it off in my head. I thought it was going to be easier. I was like oh, it's going to be okay, and I just didn't think about it too much. And that day we filmed the 360 off the log first. And then we went to do the skinny half cab and we only had a few hours left with light because the days were really short, so we just went in. And it wasn't until I was standing on the skinny, I was like, "Oh, sh*t. This is really f*cked." Yeah, and that ended up being I think one of the hardest sessions just to get that clip. The first time I tried, I missed the rear wheel and I fell backwards, and I had a really hard slam on my head. And after that slam, we went in really deep into that session. We didn't really talk to each other. We were just like, "Ah!" just screaming and trying to get that clip. And it was so scary. I was so f*cking scared to try it again. But I was standing on the top of the skinny. I always started on the top just to get in the flow. And everyone was like, "AHHH!" just screaming to get it. It was so gnarly. And after I landed it, f*ck, I was so f*cked. My head was just hurting, and I was just lying on the ground and the boys were just helping me out from the woods and stuff. It was pretty gnarly.
What was your favorite clip you filmed? Why?
Probably the half cab skinny. The thing that made that one really hard is that I don't have a free coaster. So, it made me do a ... not a half crank, but a little one that I had to stop backwards that made it really tricky. I don't know if people see that though. Probably people think I have a freecoaster.
A lot of people have commented that your features and drops are so massive, but the runouts are super short. How did you handle that, and why didn’t you build out more of a runway for yourself?
Yeah. To be honest, I didn't really think about it too much because that's how it always been around here because every hill ... There are some really cool hills. I love those woods and the vibes in those woods and the terrain and stuff, but they're really short. Mostly from when I was a kid, every trail we built just ended like that. So, I see everyone says like, "Oh, no run outs," and stuff. I didn't really think about it because I'm so used to that. And I feel like maybe some of the other riders were thinking like oh, we need to do this trick, we need to add a spin on this trick and to do that. But we were just so stoked to be a part of it, so we were more like okay, let's just do our thing and just be super stoked to just show that, if you know what I mean. We weren’t really pushing for any world firsts and stuff. It was just really doing what we really love. And one thing I can add to that is I'm not watching too many mountain biking videos to get inspired. I'm watching a lot of skating, I'm watching a lot of BMX, skiing. And I feel like some of the features were really inspired by that as well. You can probably see from BMX as well.
You are super tight with your film crew, Blur Media, tells us about the process of how you work together to build your vision and execute a project like this.
It was a really free form. I remember I was actually in Oslo with Blur, working on finishing that B-Rage edit from that trail in Trysil, and we got the invite and of course we thought it was fake and we didn't really believe it. But once we had a meeting with Clay [Harper] and it was real, we of course came up with a lot of ideas and stuff and we planned a lot of stuff, but it ended up just being a big free format thing. We ended up with totally different stuff during the project. And I feel like that's when we work the best as well, when we're just throwing ideas all the time, drawing stuff. Everything was really a free format. And also with the edit, it all came down to that last week when we were editing. Blur and I are almost like we're best friends. When I jumped in the call with you now, I was just talking to Hermon, just chatting. I think we're talking every day and just throwing ideas, drawing stuff we want to film. And also, during the project they came to me to help me dig a few days, came down the nights before to help me finish the feature. If they weren’t there, I was calling them on video chat like, "Oh, what do you think about this feature? What do you think about this idea?" It was also editing a little bit during the project. We were always working on the edit together and it almost feels like I'm filming and they're riding sometimes. It feels like we're doing the same thing because we're so into it. Yeah, it's really cool. Yeah, it's just natural and we're not scared to tell each other stuff, and everyone is kind of on the same vibe as well. I couldn't ask for any better team. It just feels like just friends. It's so cool.
How does it feel to win the Silver Medal?
Dude, it feels so unreal. It's between [Brandon] Semenuk and [Cam] Zink and it's the guys that I've looked up to. I remember when I was seven years old, Zink was one of my biggest idols. I got ‘New World Disorder 7’ and I watched it every day. And to be in a podium with him, I think it's going to take some time to really understand it.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to thank the whole mountain bike scene for appreciating the edit. I never thought anything like this would happen at all and to see all that love is just ... It's so cool. I feel like Blur and I have had kind of a vision of what we like the last few years and we put out a few edits and stuff. And of course, we went a little bit harder now, but I feel like it's still kind of the same vision and it's so cool to finally see that other people see it as well.
And of course, for the project I would like to thank everyone involved. Of course, Blur, the builders, my dad, my family. Yeah, of course my family, just coming home every night, helping me, getting me some food, washing my clothes and all that stuff. Yeah, it's a tight group, but I can't thank them enough because without them it wouldn't mean anything.
I also want to thank Mysen, my local town, because I think it's so cool that everything is just two minutes out from my doorstep down in this small town. And in the beginning, I was like well, I want to go big, and I feel like we don't have the biggest hills and we don't ... I don't know how I'm going to do it. Like Zink got all this big stuff in Utah and Semenuk is going to go to all these places. F*ck, how am I going to [go big]? I want to do some crazy stuff too. But now I'm really happy that it happened in this small place because I think it made me think ... It makes you think differently. It pushes you to go. You need to use what you have. You have just 20 meters down and okay, what can you do here? And so, now I'm just super stoked that everything happened here. I really wanted a big drop, like a big send, and that was the only place I could find around those houses and stuff, and it just gives that cool vibe in it. It's on the top of the hill and the landing is in the bottom and that's just because that's the biggest hill we got.