Germany’s Patrick Schweika is no stranger to The Audi Nines Freeride and Slopestyle MTB event, and this year saw the event move to a new location not far from Schweika’s hometown.
As part of the build team, as well as a competitor, we caught up with him to get his thoughts on the event and more…
Give us some insight into what it was like building the Audi Nines course?
Yeah, a came through 1 week after Clemens (Kaudela) did and they had some big dirt works already done. The next 3 weeks I was into the building and construction, it was a lot of work. We had to pick dirt from everywhere we could find proper dirt, as we are in a quarry and there are just rocks. In the end the line is challenging but it makes it more special compared to the other years. It’s not a line you drop in and ride through first try, you need a few tries.
What are your impressions of the new venue and course?
It’s totally different, we don’t have an alpine backdrop this time, we have a quarry. It’s very special, we’ve never had it before and it looks wonderful. It fits perfectly with the venue, matches the backdrop and the photos look amazing. The lines are amazing, we have built one of the best Slopestyle lines we’ve ever had because everything fits perfectly together. I was a bit afraid of the satellite dish before because it’s such a weird feature but it works nice. There’s not much to complain about so I guess we did a good job.
What does an event like Audi Nines mean to you?
Since I’m not riding contests anymore, Audi Nines is the most important for me in the year. The only opportunity I have to ride big jumps on my Downhill Bike, because I used to be a Freerider when I started in the sport and got into Slopestyle riding for a lot of years. So I’m really happy to go back to my roots and have fun on the big bike again.
What do you think of the new contact format?
It’s perfect. I hated the public days because there where people everywhere and it was stressful, whereas the rest of the week was super chilled and you could ride whenever you wanted to. Now, if you feel it, you can just say – ok I’m going to do it right now – and if doesn’t work you can go back up and do it again. It’s more relaxed.
How does the course suit your style of riding?
I guess pretty good. I was afraid of the big line but it gets better everyday and it fits perfectly with me. It is challenging and it’s harder to do tricks than ever before but this is how you develop your riding. I want to get better with my big bike skills and it’s the perfect course for that.
What was it like riding through the course for the first time?
When we Guinea-Pigged for the first couple of things, there were some really hard impacts. Like the second jump, I pedaled everything I had and pushed with everything I had, and went 2 meters short. When you are building for 3 weeks, you don’t realise how big things are because you see it everyday and it gets smaller and smaller. So I was like, ok I’m going to give it a try now even though it was a bit soft.
Which feature is your favourite?
The first big hip on top. It’s super fun to ride, it fits perfect with the speed you have and feels so good. Definitely the best jump on the course.
What changes did you make to your bike setup for Audi Nines?
I normally ride an air shock and I switched to a coil shock because you can make it stiffer than air shocks, if you have a proper spring. I put tokens in the fork and pumped it up to 150psi, made everything super slow with high compression. Then 3 bar tyre pressure.
Which riders impressed you the most?
I’m really proud of Iven (Ibener) because he won the Become the Nine category. I grew up with him and I was really happy to see that he made it into this and his performance this week was mind-blowing. Then Lukas Schäfer, he has one of the best styles, is a super clean rider and has some of the most insane Slopestyle tricks.
Take us through your dream line here at Audi Nines?
I had a big plan for the big hip but I had to really feel it. There’s one spot I had to land that is like 1 square meter big and if I missed it I couldn’t finish the line. I needed to feel it and be super focused. Otherwise a Flat-Spin on the second jump, some 1-Foot Table-Top stuff down the speed jump and Flip No-Hander on the last would be my submission for the best line.
WATCH THE OFFICIAL AUDI NINES CONTEST HIGHLIGHTS HERE.
Photos by LW Mag, Florian Breitenberger an Klaus Polzer.