Dropping 2m onto a 1m² boulder 984m above the ground! This guy must have been dropped on his head at a young age ‘cos this is category A bonkers!
There’s no rhyme or reason to why adventurers or actions sports athletes do some of the things they do. It’s not because they’re in search of a championship ring or to break the bank in another ‘fight of the century’. When trialbike legend Kenny Belaey recently set out for the world-famous Kjeragbolten in Norway he was not even sure himself why. However the Kjeragbolten turned out to be almost too much of a challenge… Even for one the most experienced extreme cyclists in the world. Here’s Belaey’s full story.
Ask any serious hiker of his destination-bucketlist and chances are that Kjeragbolten is on there. Seemingly an act of nature’s magic it’s a boulder on the Kjerag mountain, in the south-west of Norway, wedged in a mountain crevasse. Popular with hikers and BASE jumpers Kjeragbolten has been a popular photo op even long before Instagram.
Placing the proverbial icing on the cake after spending a great week in Norway Belaey and his team headed down to the Rogaland area. Finally experiencing the majestic fjords for himself was a dream coming true in its own right. “Our plan was simple. We would start going up around noon to arrive at the boulder when all hikers would have left. I would carry my trialsbike on my back whilst pushing my enduro bike, packed like a donkey.” Shooting stills and video on the way up was energy-sapping yet so fulfilling. The raw beauty of the area is simply mindblowing.
The timing did work out in favour of the Belgian trialbiker. When Belaey finally arrived around 9 pm he had the Kjeragbolten for him alone, a glorious sunset added to the sense of magic. Actually timing was about the only thing that went according to plan. “The Kjerag setting was everything you want to shoot great, original trialbike action. Unfortunately by then I was pretty much spent! The hike up and fatigue of previous days all came crushing down on me.” Although the first attempt jumping on the boulder went okay and were captured in brilliant stills, the second attempt was a near-miss.
“As soon as I landed I lost my balance. The rock is not only super slick, the round form makes it an incredibly difficult obstacle to tackle from a technical point of view.”
– Kenny Belaey
And of course there was the minor detail that no judges were present to chalk up a penalty to the scorecard but a real life-threatening abyss 984-metres below. “I turned white as a ghost and was shaking like a leaf. Switching from the endurobike to the very different feel of the trialbike, the fatigue and frankly completely underestimating this project had been a real shock. We were just about to complete the video vignette on the next two attempts but there was nothing the world that could push myself to jump another time.” Belaey, a hugely successful competition trialbiker, had starred in the Youtube hit “Balance” some years ago. The slackline thrillride in the French Alps combined his bike skills with a mountain setting the first time.
Like an alpinist will remind you to respect the mountain Kenny Belaey received a very serious warning from the Kjeragbolten. “To be honest, I did it because it’s possible. I’m glad we got home safe to show the pictures and live to tell the story. But no matter whether you’re riding, hiking or climbing use your common sense.”