Three years ago, a Slovenian cyclist Primož Ravnik (29) took a deep breath and nudged his bike down a monstrous dam wall. This incredible feat became an instant YouTube sensation. We talked to Primož about details of this unforgettable action that stands unrivalled to this day.
Primož, where from did you get the idea to ride down the dam of the Moste hydropower plant?
This dam is located just five minutes from where I live. I have been there many times, looking over the fence and wondering if this could have been possible. My wish kept growing until the moment my notion became a reality.
How big is the wall? Were you scared?
The dam is 60 metres high. Of course, the wall evokes fear in your mind but you need to control it, stay focused, and believe in yourself.
Did you calculate all the risks? How dangerous it actually was?
The stunt was certainly life-threatening. One wrong move and the worst could have happened. In a project like this, you must put 90% emphasis on psychological preparation and focus on what you need to pay attention to. I could not check the pitch of the dam so the grip was a surprise. The final speed at the water level was over 100 km/h.
Did it hurt when you hit the water surface?
The landing in the water was one of the greatest forces I have ever experienced on a bike. Luckily, the bike took over most of the impact because it touched the water first. I took over the other part of it and, in this case, the protective equipment did its job.
Have you heard about someone else trying to do something similar?
I think nobody has done something similar so far. I often hear people saying that this stunt was simple and special. At moments like these, I think to myself, “Well, this is interesting.” Despite saying how easy it was, there’s nobody who has ever attempted to do something like this. When you are standing at the top of the wall looking down into the depth, this is the point when you realize there’s no space for jokes.
Have you done some crazy stuff since then?
I have many ideas rolling through my head that are slowly transforming into reality. I want to do more extreme stuff and more unique projects. In winter, I tried to reach the highest speed I could on snow. On closed ski slopes, I almost crossed the magical line of 100 km/h. Then I had the idea to try out the ski-jumping ramp in Planica. The morning after the world cup in ski jumps finished, I took my bike to the Planica giant ski ramp and stormed it down at a speed of 112 km/h.
What has changed in your life since the sensational stunt?
Almost nothing (laughing). It is something that will stay with me forever because this stunt was on a whole another level. Still, I do not want to linger on this event, it is in the past. I want to create more and newer crazy feats. This is what keeps me going – to live here and now and to enjoy every moment on my bike.
Has cycling become your job or do you still do it just for fun?
After all these years, cycling has become a way of life, it is not just a hobby any more. There comes a certain point in life where you adjust other things in life to cycling. You work for it, think of ways to get better and look for new trails.
Could you recommend us some upcoming MTB event that will take place in Slovenia?
If you like to ride good trails, eat the best local food, and drink a pint of beer in a relaxed biking atmosphere after the race, then I certainly recommend the Trans Julius, which is a four-day enduro race. It will take place from 20th to 23rd June, 2019. You can find more information on this website: www.trans-julius.com.