Faial da Terra Enduro Fest 2017 - Azores

Mar 5, 2017 at 16:11
by António Abreu  

I visited Sao Miguel, one of the nine islands of Azores archipelago, exactly two years ago. This year I returned to one of the most magical islands I ever been on to be a part of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest, the second edition of a two-day enduro race on the East side of the Azores main and most populated island. From the first time I traveled to Azores, I really didn't know what to expect but I came back to Madeira with a feeling that there was so much to discover in terms of biking and other sports. Above all, I could see the evident contrast between the place where I was born, Madeira, and Azores. As two Portuguese archipelagos, they couldn't be more different and it's getting harder to choose my favorite.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
José 'Meira' Oliveira racing the last stage of the weekend, down to Faial da Terra.

Two years passed and I was back in Faial da Terra, a small civil parish in the municipality of Povoação, with about 350 residents, mostly farmers. This location gives me goose bumps as last time I visited the weather was a nightmare, the trails are technical and super slippery all year round - no kidding! I remember crashing here last time and calling the day off but this location gives a sense of calmness, something that you'd find quite normal if you plan to visit Azores in the future, something that it's truly hard to find nowadays. As you sit at the bottom of the valley looking up the mountains around, you would never think that mountain biking is a new way to develop Faial da Terra's economy, a change of paradigm and just a few more reasons for you to add Azores to your bucket list. The local community is primarily involved in agriculture and husbandry, as well as related commerce, but mountain biking has given local businesses a new way to go.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Faial da Terra has everything to be a unique biking destination. Steep hills, delicious food, and friendly people are a part of it.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Everyone stayed in local guest-houses, having the complete experience of Faial da Terra.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
The local coffee shop owned by Mr. João sold pretty much everything he had in stock during the weekend.

Faial da Terra Enduro Fest was founded two years ago by Carlos dos Santos, a local guide for Bike Safari Tour, always with local support from Paulo Nazaré, Faial da Terra president and Paulo Dinis from Monbike store. Last year, Damien Oton and Rémy Absalon visited the islands and raced the event but this time the organization focused on reaching a national audience, getting about forty athletes to visit Azores, most of them from Portugal mainland. "It's a good way to improve Faial da Terra's economy and bringing athletes to discover how special Azores really is" said organizer, Carlos dos Santos.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
The master mind behind Faial da Terra Enduro Fest, Carlos dos Santos.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Custom number plates for everyone.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Most transitions are on tarmac road but you won't see many cars around here...

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
...just cows, lots of cows!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Sweet sweet Faial da Terra. A natural paradise in the Azores.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Azores good vibes!


TRAINING DAYS
The plan for the week was two days of racing with a grand total of 62km, 2555m up and 3190m down. After two training days with perfect weather, the rain came down hard on Friday night, canceling the first competition day. This did not dampen spirits and everyone went riding anyway to explore other areas of São Miguel.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Nuno Vicente trying to find enough grip to stay on the bike.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
It really feels like you're riding in a jungle. Roberto Chaves, 29" XL, struggling to fit.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Local rider, Luís Melo, already knows couple lines of Faial da Terra.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Weird stuff grows around here.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Out of control vs always in control. José 'Meira' Oliveira was feeling confident all week.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
From jungle tunnels to open fields - there's a bit of everything.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Although Luís Melo has a strong São Miguel accent, this is international language...

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Miguel Zacarias broke his 'pinky' finger on the second day of training but still managed to compete.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Rodeo skills.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Nuno climbing up to start of SS2, also known as Flats Paradise - confirmed.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Fast and open singletrack from the top of Pico da Vara.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Miguel Zacarias loving every bit of it. Just look at this view!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Unfortunately, we couldn't race this stage on Saturday due to weather conditions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
You can walk up... but riding down always feels better.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Singletracks for miles.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
This bridge pretty much changes your ride from rocky and rowdy to fun and loamy.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Loam plus flow, a perfect combination. Eleutério Gomes trying to get some grip.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Not a bad place to end a stage.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
When Azores transitions go off-road.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Amândio Pereira was riding fast and consistent during training.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Although the trails and technical and steep, Eleutério Gomes wanted even more!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
José 'Meira' Oliveira training SS3.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Everyone was smiling when Paulo Nazaré arrived with this old truck for a quick uplift.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Not a bad place for a quick stop, especially with Santa Maria in the background.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Nuno Jardim trying to find the best line from this berm forward.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Not the best line choice from Luís Correia.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Last corner of SS4, one of the hardest stages of the event.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
We always ended training days in Dona Beija warm water natural pools. A perfect way to relax before taking a bite of Azores cuisine.

RACE DAY
The organization ended up with running the event only on Sunday, balancing between the same stages as determined from the beginning. It was a hard but honestly the right decision in order to guarantee riders safety. A total of 23.6km was enough to get a smile on everyone's face from start to finish.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Camera assistant: check.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Local shredder with no rear brake: check.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
When you already have more than three days of Azores riding in your body...

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
...and there's still a race to race.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
"There has to be more races like Faial da Terra Enduro Fest in the future, where the focus is not just in the competition but also on friendship and experiences" - Carlos Parente.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Local racer, João Machado, got a 2nd place but managed to beat Meira by more than 16 seconds in the last stage.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Nuno Nóbrega racing his way to 3rd place in the Open Class.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Miguel Pardal's sprints were on point this weekend!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Electric fences are the best way to avoid cutting!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Luís Melo was riding fast as always and managed to get a 4th place in the Open Class.!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Running was also part of stage one if you couldn't get enough grip.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Welcome to the jungle!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
José 'Meira' Oliveira just lost the last stage to João Machado. He was on fire all the way down stage one!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Roberto Chaves, from Madeira Island, bagged 3rd place.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Sandro Silva racing one of his favorite stages. "Faial da Terra is really something out of this world, completely different to all places I've been. The trails and the nature around them are just unique."

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Not the best race to Nuno Jardim, that had a perfect performance in last weekend's race in Madeira.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Local Romeu Teixeira starting his race on the way to 5th place.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Miguel Pardal, Open Class winner, finding the best way through the switchbacks.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Steep and slippery, something that Faial da Terra has a lot - never too much!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Transition from stage two to stage three was just magical! The old Caminho do Sanguinho path, where you really don't want to crash...

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Skratch Labs had some yummy stuff in the food zone.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Stage three had some last minute modifications and ended up being short and sweet.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
João Ramos looking fast all weekend!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Finish line sprint for Eleutério Gomes, getting a solid 7th place.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Winter season in São Miguel, you will still sweat like hell!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Roberto Chaves starting last stage of the race.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Most trails are pretty natural looking but there are some berms, drops and jumps that make it all better.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Grab your handlebars and hope for the best!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Tutorial on how to drift and survive in Faial da Terra with José 'Meira' Oliveira. Still not sure how he managed this one...

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Cláudio Camacho seconds before finishing the last stage of the day above Faial da Terra parish.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
João Machado explaining to 'Meira' how the hell he managed to beat him by 16 seconds on the last stage.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
The Madeira crew won the race to the bar.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
A much deserved rest to today's winner, 'Meira'.

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Rock n' Roll bro! The barbecue was delicious!

Photo report from second edition of Faial da Terra Enduro Fest. Photos from Antonio Abreu MADproductions.
Final top three: João Machado (2nd) José 'Meira' Oliveira (1st) Roberto Chaves (3rd)

RESULTS

Open Class
1) Miguel Pardal, 13:13m
2) Paulo Basílio, 14:02m
3) Nuno Nóbrega, 14:09m

Main Class
1) José Oliveira, 12:44m
2) João Machado, 13:00m
3) Roberto Chaves, 14:07m

For more information about future events, check Faial da Terra Enduro Fest and Visit Azores.
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31 Comments

  • + 4
 Without doubt a magical place, great work from António Abreu.

I regretted not having had more time to explore more of the island, especially in terms of trails.
I want to go back in 2018.
I strongly recommend to visit the region as well as the trails, Carlos dos Santos will be the man to show you the trails.
  • + 1
 Really glad to meet you Ricardo. Looking forward for our next ride ! Thanks mate !
  • + 2
 Thanks Valente! next year book a few more days after and we can go look for more trails
  • + 3
 Azores is unique, with a unique mystique, and challenging trails, with an extraordinary landscape, a well-organized meeting place for people who love the sport, and nature See you at 2018
  • + 1
 Can't wait for the 2018 edition ! Cheers for the good times Carlos !
  • + 1
 That looks like an amazing time. The scenery, the course, the twisty stairway of doom where I would inevitably crash, it all looks like a lot of fun. Is there an old fat guy category?
  • + 1
 Great job Carlos, great article António...Hoping to see you all next year, and thanks PB for spreading Azores to the world ...
  • + 3
 Que categoria ,parabéns. Amazing
  • + 1
 Muito obrigado amigo ! Abraço
  • + 2
 *put it on your must do list!!*
  • + 2
 Bucketlist every single year ! Hope to go back again next year.
  • + 2
 @extremerider: you're always welcome and for us you will be next year
  • + 1
 @bikesafaritour: thank you so much for the good times... and for the media uplifts as well Razz
  • + 2
 What's the green bike in the last shot, it looks awesome!?
  • + 3
 Focus Sam
  • + 3
 Focus
  • + 2
 That's great thanks guys!
  • + 2
 Keep on the good work @extremerider
  • + 2
 Thank you so much mate !
  • + 2
 @extremerider: and thanks for the mention in the article Big Grin
  • + 2
 Parabéns pela excelente reportagem @extremerider!
  • + 1
 Muito obrigado caro amigo. Um abraço !
  • + 2
 Smile MECCA for enduro racing
  • + 2
 It was a true pleasure to watch you race Romeu. Hope to go back soon ! Thank you for your hospitality !
  • + 2
 Man, that looks awesome!
  • + 4
 It's truly a magical place to visit and ride. Put Azores in your bucketlist mate.
  • + 2
 Espectáculo!!
  • + 1
 Os Açores nunca desapontam ! Obrigado ! Abraço
  • + 2
 mt bom!
  • + 1
 Muito obrigado !
  • + 1
 ????????

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