RED BULL RIDE THE PALACE - SOFIA / BULGARIA
Photoshooting an event inside the building means that you have to be ready professionally and physicaly. I walked up and down the 8 floors of The National Place of Culture in Sofia, fully equipped and prior to the event for about fifty times in order to prepare myself adequately for Red Bull Ride the Palace, indoors downhill mountain bike race.
Red Bull staged a unique downhill mountain bike race inside this building, with a mix of Bulgarian downhill riders and invited international stars including Team CRC/Nukeproof's Matti Lehikoinen and fellow Red Bull athlete Filip Polc who lead the start ramp on the eighth floor of the conference venue, riding through the building in a race against time and each other.
They had to contend with huge drop downs, semi-floor constructions, narrow corridors, stairs and elevators on their way down before finishing outside the building. 60 riders took part in qualification with half of them qualifying for the finals.
The National Place of Culture is a Bulgarian icon with a history steeped in the country's communist past. Opened in 1981 as a multifunctional congress, conference, convention and exhibition centre, the venue remains an attraction to anyone visiting Sofia for its communist-inspired architecture and interior design.