Ponte de Lima Enduro Challenge 2017 - Race Recap

Oct 18, 2017 at 11:30
by António Abreu  
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The main symbol of Ponte de Lima, that together with the river names the town, is its bridge, dated to Roman times.


I could mention a million reasons for you to visit Ponte de Lima, and I'll do that in just a second. Ponte de Lima is named Portugal's oldest villa, located in Minho, north of Portugal. This was actually my second time visiting and it's noticeable that the region has been growing for the last five years as a mountain biking destination where you can feel that the local government supports and loves everything that it's biking related. That's why Ponte de Lima currently has a massive pumptrack, a bike park and local associations that add the essence of enduro mountain biking to the area.

When I was invited by Pé do Negro Mountain Bike Center and Sandro Silva, the man with a plan to get the name of Ponte de Lima out there and Enduro Challenge organizer, I was immediately excited to join the race for multiple reasons. From the friendly environment the north of Portugal is known for, the delicious food, the historical city center and its old streets, the cold and fresh green wine, the infinite hills and mountains that surround the area and the trails that make this a unique destination for all types of riders.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
The bull represents one of the most famous events of Ponte de Lima, called Vaca das Cordas, which is basically letting cows on the loose through the streets and giving them wine for a drink while locals try to run for their life. Seems fun and could easily become a new enduro race category.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Oh, the streets of Ponte de Lima are a joy to walk by. Calm, clean and beautiful.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

And this is how you read the newspaper around here.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

I was brave enough to try Arroz de Sarrabulho and it is delicious. It's a traditional Minho dish with rice and slices of meat which are then spiced and marinated in cumin and red wine and then cooked in blood. Yep, blood. Give it a try because it is delicious.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Ponte de Lima is also a must-stop location for Caminho de Santiago, a route that many bikers and pilgrims jump on. From France to Portugal, that's a good idea for your next adventure.

A grand total of over 32km of racing with 1,500m of ascent and descent, all starting in the same area, near Capela da Senhora das Dores, Bárrio. Under a super hot and dry weather - our hopes for a bit of rain weren't heard – 200 riders trained and raced five challenging stages, where temperatures reached over 30ºC. There hasn't been any rain for over four months and dirt turned into dust, which made this second edition of the Enduro Challenge completely different from last year's, where riders faced fog, rain, and cold all weekend.


Training Day – Saturday

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Carlos Parente got a crew from Madeira and Azores to join the race. His driving skills weren't that good...


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
It's all about the details. Tiago 'Gaulês' Freitas knows that. Banana power.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Ruben Gouveia, one of the Enduro World Series Madeira trail builders, didn't forget his 'traditional' helmet.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The stoke was real. Diogo Silva pushing his way to the top of SS1 for some extra training.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The views over Ponte de Lima and its famous Roman bridge are just phenomenal.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The top of SS1 is special. Left to right to avoid the big boulders. Elisio Melo was one of the first guys in training.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Fast and open singletracks of SS1.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Line choice and rolling over big rocks – welcome to Pe do Negro.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

No shuttle assistance from this point forward and almost no one used it all over the weekend. Ana Leite excited to get to the top.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Did I mention that it was dry and dusty? Jose Ferreira loving it!


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

These wild horses are faster than you, trust me.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Racing between Absolute Black race tape.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Last year's winner, Jose 'Meira' Oliveira, was on a mission to keep his title.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Camera cleaning is a real thing after this weekend.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Follow me bro.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Worse that racing in the mud according to some riders.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

'Oh look, a penny!' No riders were hurt. Just a bit...


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Inside or outside? After 200 riders, there was no easy line.

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Not an easy weekend for Carlos dos Santos from the Azores Islands. 'We don't usually have dust in Azores, so I just wanted to give it a taste.' - he said.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Just a casual Saturday stroll in Ponte de Lima.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

What to say about SS3? It's a downhill track with loads of jumps and gaps, which was a problem for some...


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Not a problem for these guys!


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

M30 racer, Bruno Marinho, styling it up!


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

'I'm just going to stay here and enjoy the rest of the day'


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Send it bro! Diogo Silva never missed a chance to get air time.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

After jumps and gaps on SS3 it was flat out to the bottom!


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Caldo Verde, beer, Bifanas and more beer for lunch.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

One more run before lunch. SS5 delivering the good stuff! Claudia Vasconcelos between the tape.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The man to beat, Jose 'Meira' Oliveira.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Carlos Parente trying not to get distracted with SS5 scenery.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Diogo Silva was having too much fun during training. Style is his middle name.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The office that satisfies all your needs. Yaroslav Zhuravlev chilling out after a day of riding.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Don't even bother washing that... tomorrow dust waits for you again.



Race Day – Sunday

After a first full and hot day of training, there were 200 riders on the start line ready to face Pé do Negro trails. Another feature about Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima is that is part of the Atlantic Enduro series, which consists of four races along the year – Terras de Bouro, Celorico da Beira, Ponte de Lima and Madeira Island. Five long and challenging stages, most of them dusty and with hard compact ground filled with rocks and boulders. The highlight definitely goes to SS4 – Absolute Black, a 2.3km long stage that was completely different from all others, with an open singletrack in the beginning, followed by some technical rock gardens, a section that went through an old house and all rest going through old vine paths.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Good morning Ponte de Lima.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Timing chip – check. Radio journalist with high-tech headphones – check!

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

When you really don't want to lose your timing chip! #EnduroHacks



Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Tiago 'Gaules' Freitas would 'kill' the competition on SS1 but a crash on SS4 would call off the day.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

'Please God, help me to survive this race' – Roberto Chaves, M30 rider.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The longest transition of the day to the top of SS1 – Arcela where riders would drop 300 meters in 2.5km.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

All eyes on this guy, Jose Borges, Enduro World Series #19. Even so, Borges couldn't win the first two stages of the day.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

BRAPPPPP. Lets go!


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Fast and consistent, Jose 'Meira' Oliveira would take second place on SS1 and overall.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Don't shift your focus.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Overall fifth place to Diogo Silva in the Elite category.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

After crashing hard on Friday and Saturday, Ruben Gouveia was racing at his best, getting a 58th overall.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Tiago Mano going for a fourth place overall.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Nuno Sousa was one of the fastest guys we saw riding this weekend and came up with an eighth place overall.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Some riders fell the need to have more water during training, where four litters weren't enough for a complete day of riding. The organizers to get 200 liters tanks distributed along the route, especially before dropping to SS2 – Fun Zone.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Scenery change in Ponte de Lima. These transitions are gorgeous... and a bit fresher than the usual open fire roads.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Insert your chip here and start the clocks!


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Tic tac, the clock is ticking. Joao Pedro Gomes won the M30 class, with a sixth place as the worst stage result.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

SS2 – Fun Zone was 1.8km long and 200 meters drop. FFF – Fun, flowy and... fun.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Guilherme Simoes charging down SS2 for a top 15 overall result.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Jose Fonseca throwing shapes and getting 27th in SS2.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Loamy terrain all the way down.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

I bet all riders were smiling going down this trail.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Not the best weekend for one of the nicest guys out there, Carlos Parente...


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Needs a stronger wheelset.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

18th place overall to M30 class riders Tiago Fernandes.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Too much crashing but never too much #GoodTimes.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Roberto Chaves with his 29" XL was loving SS2 rock gardens, getting a 13th place overall and 5th place in M30 class.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

SS3 – Varziela was 2.5km long and can be defined as the local downhill track with 400 meters drop.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Quick feedzone stop before dropping in.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

I think SS3 was Diogo Silva's favorite stage. Photos confirm that. He got sixth place even throwing table tops.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

First man down SS4 – Absolute Black, Jose 'Meira' Oliveira. Again, 2nd place in this stage.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

It all starts with open and fast singletracks but soon everything got steeper and narrower.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

This is the kind of riding Jose Borges loves, getting 1st place with 14 seconds over Meira.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
The challenge was quickly taken to the next level. Carlos Parente decided to join the media crew which he said it was harder that racing. Thanks for that!

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Rumors say that some riders had to cut handlebars to fit in these doors. It was tight.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Fourth place in the M30 class for Bruno Marinho.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
SS4 went through an urban zone making it the highlight of the entire event.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

While the top stages were 100% dry, this last part was kind of a jungle.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
These old vine paths make the perfect place to hold an enduro race, and Ponte de Lima has hundreds of these!

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

One stage to go. SS5 – Maxxis was 2.2km long with 325m downhill.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Doesn't get much better than this!


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Style it up bro! Andre Leite Rodrigues got a third place overall.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Final sprints to finish line.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

One more berm...


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Rehydratation much needed and much deserved at the end of the race.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Enduro Challenge welcomed racers from Algarve, Madeira, Azores, Lisbon, and Spain. Time to pack and get back to reality.

Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Women's podium. Ana Leite was stocked for the win, followed by Ana Lopes and Gabriela Ferraz.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Men's podium. Jose Borges took the win, followed by Jose 'Meira' Oliveira and Andre Leite Rodrigues.


Photo report from second edition of Enduro Challenge Ponte de Lima. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

The fastest Woman and Man of SS4 – Absolute Black got a special award! #OvalRevolution


Results

Men
1) José Borges – 21:13m
2) José Oliveira – 22:00m
3) André Leite Rodrigues – 22:36m

Women
1) Ana Leite – 30:14m
2) Ana Lopes – 35:25m
3) Gabriela Ferraz – 44:34m

M30
1) João Pedro Gomes – 23:10m
2) Carlos Lopes – 24:22m
3) Dimitri Silva – 24:24m

M40
1) Jesus Juanes – 24:57m
2) Bruno Morais – 25:06m
3) José Gonzáles – 25:13m

M50
1) Joaquim Dias – 28:28m
2) Abel Lisboa – 36:08m
3) José Pires – 46:20m

Youth
1) Tiago Silva – 27:34m

Junior Men
1) Tiago Fernandes – 24:39m
2) Francisco Ruivo – 26:50m
3) Nuno Silvestre – 32:47m

Open (three stages)
1) Filinto Reis – 16:02m
2) Elisio Melo – 16:24m
3) Francisco Sequeira – 16:25m

Photos: Antonio Abreu, MADproductions
Special thanks to Sandro Silva, Pé do Negro Mountain Bike Center, Visit Ponte de Lima, Absolute Black and all race partners.


13 Comments

  • + 9
 not for being Portuguese, but for me one of the best photographers in this modality
  • + 2
 Thank you so much Parente. Means a lot to get this feedback from you ! Again, thanks for the good times !
  • + 2
 how come I missed this?!! Awesome! Come to Malaga whenever you want man! I promise you will sleep on a bed, not on the van...jajajaja!!
  • + 1
 Thank you so much my friend ! Hahaha, sounds like a plan !
  • + 4
 Nice work
  • + 1
 Thank you so much ! It was a great race as well !
  • + 3
 Great report, great trails, great times, awesome photographer!!
  • + 1
 Thank you so much my friend ! Hope to see you riding again soon !
  • + 2
 super nice!!!
  • + 1
 Thank you so much David !
  • + 2
 The best
  • + 1
 Thank you so much !
  • + 0
 Nice workshop ????????

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