It was the last race of the season for the Madeira Enduro Series and there was no better place for it than the very first trail center in Madeira, made possible through the collaboration of several local entities and Velosolutions Portugal. Located in the UNESCO protected area of Fanal trails are unreal and look like they are taken from Jurassic Park movie set.
With this last race, expectations were high and despite it being a national voting day, close to 100 riders took the start line. Six stages awaited the riders on the race day, on a 30km track with 1000m of climbing and descent. The last stagewas an urban stage in the picturesque village of Seixal.
On training day, conditions were perfect. Organizers, trail builders and local authorities all gathered for the trail center opening ceremony. Afterwards, riders went out onto the trails to enjoy the best loam ever. The Fanal area is completely covered by forest, usually, really wet with low clouds loaded with humidity. Training day was an exception and the sun was shining. But water forecast pointed to a rainy and possibly muddy race conditions. And indeed it was. Roots and mud were everywhere ready to take down even the most skilfull riders.
Stage 2 was without any doubt the hardest and longest of all day. Fastest man of the day, Joao Freitas, was the only one to get a time below 8min. His nearest competitors Paulo "Cabrito" Baptista and Jose Gouveia did 8:19 and 8:20 each. With the rainy conditions at the start of the race, managing to stay on the bike was already an accomplishment. Stages three and four where almost one stage, with just a small short liaison in the middle and the feed station. Stage five was a test to the body and bike, with almost all the racecourse done riders needed to confront some of the most technical rock gardens, some drops and slippery sections. After a long liaison to Seixal, the last stage awaited, a short but physical urban downhill with locals cheering up and screaming for their local heroes. This stage did not added to the total time for the final classification.
Oldie but goldie
Wet and slippery is the name of the game
Dirty conditions, by end of the day it was mostly dry
1st. João Freitas C. S. Marítimo / Barreirinha Bar Café 00:22:21
2nd. Paulo Baptista AD Galomar 00:22:45
3rd. José Gouveia CDR Prazeres 00:22:48
4th. Emeric Lenzer VTT Conliege - Jura-Bassin de Lons Le 00:23:00
5th. Mário Costa CDR Prazeres 00:23:41
1st. Joana Passos (women junior) 00:38:21
1st. Jurgita Makselyte (women open) 00:41:20