Nikola a.k.a. Nidjo, a nickname he’s not found of but we all use it anyway, is a guy that has a mountain as his backyard and you won’t find him at home… He’s probably shredding his bike down the hill, digging jumps and prepping the track. That takes dedication to the sport I must say, making a track for days just to fell the dirt tearing underneath his tires. He was in the Croatian Downhill representation, wrecked his shoulder, jumped right back into the race scene and now working on getting ready for the new season. I think being in the wild, enjoying nature at its finest is what makes him who he is and doing what he does best… Riding his bike!
As one of the representative of the Croatian downhill scene, how is DH as a discipline represented in Croatia?
Well in the last year or two downhill is rising up again, there was a generation change and more and more young riders are joining in. But in racing waters, the situation is descending year to year. I think the main reason is financial. From organising race events to transportation to it.
How would you describe the sport to a wider audience and explain what you do?
First, we are not savages riding in the woods. Mountain biking is represented by the Olympic Committee, and yes, it is a real sport. For the wider audience, it’s a competitive sport that takes place on a mountain, hill or recently in cites called urban downhill. Basically on uneven terrain. The goal is to as quickly as possible to pass the track with obstacles from point A to point B.
How important bike setups are in downhill? Do you have any unique mods or parts on your bike that helps you in a race?
Bike setup is extremely important, every rider needs to know how to adapt his bike to his riding style. Because of bad bike setups some nasty crashes can happen. Better spend some time setting up and maintenancing your bike than crash and break something. As my bike goes, I run a simple setup with all stock parts. I just tune it up to my desire.
Got any injures thanks to your bike? Bad crashes? How bout that stream beneath the track?
It’s simple, if you want to evolve as a rider you need to go down once in a while, it’s all part of the sport. You can’t run from it, if you push yourself you will crash, sooner or later. So I had both collarbones broken, my left wrist and a bad injury of my left shoulder, which as of today I don’t know what wrong, doctors can’t figure out ether. As for the stream, I was close to getting wet a few times, but luckily never had.
After the shoulder incident, what motivates you to train for the new season?
Oh my shoulder… who wants to trade? Full recovery is big motivation for me, going back to racing without any psychological insecurity that can be related to this injury. It’s a hard task to accomplish because nobody knows exactly what’s wrong, but I’m feeling better and my recovery is going in a positive way.
How much time do you spend preparing the track for training?
As I was “out of function” I spend a lot of time building and landscaping the new track at Medvedgrad. It took us one year to make it. Otherwise just some maintenance, minor repairs and add-ons.
What are you mental preparation before a race?
I go through the track in my mind and concentrate only on the track, everything disappears around you in those 3 minutes. But it’s important to free your mind before the race and know that all of the closest ones to you are ok and that the relationship with them is healthy. 2012 when my father had an accident, I was physically at the top, but mentally I was only lying to myself that im ready. Because of that I had a really bad crash and god saved me from very serious injuries. I don’t want to think about that.
3 songs that are on the top of your playlist:
Parachute youth – Can’t get better than this
System of a down – B.Y.O.B.
The Doors – Light my fire
Idols that you look up to?
Cedric Garcia and Brendan Fairclough. Masters of style!
From a riders perspective, what’s important to you when photographing downhill?
That the final image looks cool! I think that the most important thing is that both the rider and photographer understands each other. And that’s when the magic happens!
What’s your race schedule for this season? International races?
First on the list is UCI C1 race on Lošinj then Buzet, Ivanščica, Motovun. Those are the important ones as Croatia goes. Then I have races in Slovenia and Bosnia. This year my hope is to ride IXS European cup, but I don’t want to plan anything because usually everything I plan doesn’t go as planed.
And when the season ends? What are your goals after that?
When you’re active all season first thing on the list is a month of rest from riding and just relaxing the body. Then it goes all over again… Gym training, planing the next season, dealing with sponsors, writing and recapping the last season.
Frame: Intense 951
Fork: 2014 Marzocchi 888 RC3 Evo V2
Wheels: Shimano Saint hubs, Mavic 729 rims
Brakes: Shimano XT
Handelbar: Renthal Fat bar
BB/Cranks: Shimano Zee
Shifters/Derailleurs: Shimano XT/Zee
Any last words?
I would like to thank Sony and Sony Mobile crew for the best support that they gave me through the years and the years that will follow. Also would like to thank Lončo from Warehouse and Markoproject for their support.
I would mention my parents and the best girlfriend in the world Anamaria for the moral support, because sometimes I get hard to deal with.
Also I need to say thanks to you photographers because without you there wouldn’t be so many cool photos. It’s not easy to roll in the dirt and dust for that one awesome picture! I’ll give Stephan props first for creating this project and doing all of this. I would also thank Lorena and Damir for all of their photos of my season.
You all rock!
I was just shredding and #ijustgotframed !
Nikola was the second one to get framed but don’t worry, more will come! Don’t forget to check other FRAMED photostories and support the project! Thank you all for tuning in.