On the north side of the island the panorama has its own unique characteristics: the huge overhanging sea cliffs gently contrast with the blue waters that outline a massive coastline from Porto Moniz to Canical. Its also known as a weekend retreat for the locals, that try to run away from the 'agitated' life from Funchal. Old man-made terraces separate crops and vines from edges of cliffs, which clearly defines its history dated from more than four-hundred years ago.
Located on the eastern frontier of Porto Moniz, Seixal
, the longest parish of the area extending from Atlantic Ocean to Paul da Serra, is the start and finish point of the third enduro race of the season in Madeira, organized by Clube Naval do Seixal
. Clean bikes at registration would become very dirty after the race.Not a bad place to park your car...
A total of 32km of race, including stages and connections, would be the challenge for a very wet Sunday in Madeira Island. Stage three was the longest of the day with a total of 2.61km and 263 meters downhill. 1696 meters of downhill and 653 meters of uphill total. Miguel, Nuno and Jota were excited to race this weekend. Actually, they're always excited about racing.Tiago Freitas (6th overall) is collecting stickers from all the enduro races this season in Madeira. #frameprotection he says.Marco Gouveia (19th overall) leading the way for Saturday training session.From Fanal to Seixal, racing in Madeira means top to bottom! The race started at the top of Pico Ruivo do Fanal (1624m) and finished near the ocean, Seixal.
About twenty years ago, getting to Seixal or the North side of the Island, was already a big adventure and could take more than two hours, zigzagging between one way roads and tunnels over sea cliffs. With the modernization of Madeira's infrastructure, everything became a bit easier for tourists and locals to get to the North Coast, which gives you the perfect example of how wide and unexplored this territory really is. What better way to explore it than a mountain bike?Overall top four trained together on Saturday. Emanuel, Paul, Paulo and Rui were looking clean before the first special stage.Shuttling on Saturday was definitely a good way to skip leg-day.Number one plates also get off track. The MADproductions boys trying to get some grip on Saturday practice.Rui quickly understood that he needed some extra grip on the trails. Paulo just needed a mudguard...André and Carolina getting clean for race day.Race Day
The good (and bad) thing about the North Coast is that you never know what to expect. Weather is quite unpredictable which makes it an even bigger challenge. Tyre choice played a huge role this weekend, especially when you're riding in a dense subtropical forest in high-altitude. Rain and fog were just a part of the game - no one could get away from it. In the elite category, Emanuel Pombo was leading the series, winning the first two races, followed by Paulo Batista and Rui Sousa. Master 30 category was leaded by Ricardo Pinto, followed by Nuno Quintal and Jerémy Frotey. Luís Costa, Miguel Zacarias and João Davide Sousa leaded the Master 40 category. The organizers, Clube Naval do Seixal, were glad to register 21 racers and other 30 riders in tourism-mode. The event is not focus only on the competitive side but also on the experience of the island and its culture.Some were already tired before start. Can you blame them?One of the most beloved characters of Madeira mountain biking community, Alexandre 'Cabelaça' Gouveia (5th overall) always happy to ride. We challenged him to race with the bike on the back. "Maybe next time", he said.Cleaned bike and dirty backpacks were a reality.Fábio Ferreira, from Bike Zone team, is still recovering from a serious knee injury, but managed to tape himself to complete the race and finish in third place in the individual category.#bravegirl, Carolina Costa, admiring the official organizers car... or the Scott Genius.Emanuel Pombo (1st overall), managed to find a good parking spot.Seixal warning us about the weather in the top of the mountains. Alexandre Gouveia didn't forget his 'time-chip' this time.First timer, João Silva, not worried about the rain. It's all about protecting your loved ones.João Pedro Nunes, winner of the Individual category, had a great strategy before start, trying to get lighter.This is how a bike-check should look like. Paul Aston trying to get in the shot!Master 30 overall series leader, Ricardo Pinto, getting ready to face the mountain.Riders had a bit of a hike-a-bike on first connection. Paul Aston (3rd overall) climbing his way for the win in Stage 1.Paulo Batista (2nd overall) was racing like a beast this weekend, getting the same time as Emanuel on Stage 1. Rui Sousa (4th overall) pushing hard on Stage 1.Nuno Quintal (7th overall) won the Master 30 category on a hard battle with Ricardo Pinto.Tiago Freitas struggling with low-range view but managing to finish in 6th place overall.Emanuel Pombo (1st overall) at the start of Stage 2, in Fanal. Rui Sousa (4th overall) managed to get the same time as Emanuel on this special stage.Winner of Master 40 category, Paulo Sousa, waiting for the perfect time to start the clock. Marco Gouveia dropping in.Paul Aston getting ready to enter a very dense forest near Fanal. "Madeira offers amazing conditions for Enduro World Series training: big elevations, technical trails, good trails. It's just like paradise." - Paul"Dark forests don't scare me at all. Everything is so sketchy in these trails, you have to fell 100% focus from top to bottom" - Emanuel Pombo.Stage 3 was the fastest but also the biggest of the day. Eleutério Gomes entering the 'love tunnel'.Jéremy Frotey, racing with a broken toe, got a solid 2nd place in the Individual category."Mud and roots, that's what I like the most, so I know that these tracks fit my style" - Paulo Batista (2nd overall)Disqualified due to use of white socks in a muddy race.Rui Sousa (4th overall) was out of the podium for six seconds.Getting to Seixal once again for a cold bath in the Atlantic Ocean."SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII" - Miguel Zacarias (12th overall)"This is not Baywatch bro..."No description needed. Is this enduro?Award ceremony was held in Clube Naval do Seixal with a traditional Madeira dinner. Not a bad view aswell.ResultsElite
1) Emanuel Pombo, 24:06m
2) Paulo Batista, 24:08m
3) Paul Aston, 24:51mMaster 30
1) Nuno Quintal, 27:44m
2) Ricardo Pinto, 28:26m
3) Miguel Rodrigues, 28:52mMaster 40
1) Paulo Sousa, 29:41m
2) Miguel Zacarias, 30:57m
3) João Davide Sousa, 32:01mIndividual
1) João Pedro Nunes, 28:01m
2) Jéremy Frotey, 30:23m
3) Fábio Ferreira, 30:46mWomen
1) Carolina Costa, 40:51m
Race Organizer: Clube Naval do Seixal
and Associacao Ciclismo Madeira
Photos and Words: Antonio Abreu, MADproductions