After a successful season winning my tenth national downhill title and Transmadeira. I came to Madeira to relax and have an adventure.
Not worrying about racing, scheduling or winning. Just riding, eating, exploring and have fun before setting new goals for next season!
Right in the middle of the Atlantic, the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo are a heaven of natural beauty. The exotic colours of the flowers stand out from among the blue sea and the emerald green vegetation. This is an archipelago where two-thirds are a protected area and where the largest Laurissilva forest in the world is located.
Madeira Island lives off tourism, a highly important industry that is one of the main sources of economy. The number of tourists that visit this pearl of the Atlantic increases from year to year and with that, brought a business opportunities for people around biking, creating mountain bike companies, exploring all the trails and showing a different, young and active tourism that Madeira wasn’t known at all, but had all that it needed to be a success. Nowadays everything is different and the “boom” in mountain bike tourism and racing is growing every year.
The people of Madeira “Madeirenses” are welcoming and hospitable, which reflects the laid-back and generous nature of the Portuguese.
I was born in Ponta do Pargo, in council of Calheta, that is on the westernmost tip of the island. For me, it is where are the most fun and fast trails. In the past years, a lot of filming and projects with international riders has been done. In Madeira, we have a really good sunset, but in Ponta do Pargo the sun goes down in front of the famous lighthouse with some of the best and incredible sunsets in the world.
The Atlantic Ocean is always in the background of almost every trail. And almost every trail finish in a cliff with an amazing view where you can enjoy the sunset!
In the off-season, it's always more relaxed and I can enjoy more with all the people that are always cheering for me at the races. It was good to see some fans in Porto Santo, chat a little bit and encourage them also to follow their dreams!
Because of all these facts, it wasn’t a surprise for me when Madeira won for the fifth time as the best insular destination in Europe by the World Travels awards in 2018.
The Farmers' Market or in Portuguese “Mercado dos Lavradores” is where you gonna see amazing fresh fish and some exotic fruits. Here you will find a feast of colours, sounds, smells and people.
The food is really good! The only downside is that makes me a little bit fatter because I eat too much! LOL! I like to enjoy some “bolo do caco”, “lapas grelhadas” and some “espetada”, but be careful with the famous drink “Poncha”! It's tasty but strong!
The riding is one of the most spectacular, unbelievable and challenging thing you can find. There’s a big network of trails that you only gonna find with a local guide, with terrain changing from rocks, to roots and loamy. A huge variety of riding is available and is common to find mud and dust on the same day, often on the same downhill.
Just be careful with “Cerro” in winter. It's a Madeira kind of terrain that we say for the tourists as “Black ice”. There’s no grip on it, especially when is shinning. When you see some, just don’t turn or brake! Go straight and only turn in berms or side of the trail and you will be fine. LOL
We took the boat “Lobo Marinho” to Porto Santo to spend 2 days there. It´s 2 hours time and you will end in a completely different island.
The island is known for its large fine yellow sandy beach, stretching close to 9 km, running along the island’s entire southern coastline, between the harbour and Calheta. The riding here is more natural, but with a lot of potential. Especially if you are thinking explore and have a good time on your own! It´s really calm and peaceful.
The day before we leave, I had the brilliant idea to wake up at 5h45am to see the Sunrise in one of the caves in Pico de Ana Ferreira. João from TwentyFourMedia wasn’t too happy about it, but as soon the sun started to show off, it was all worth it. One amazing sunrise for the books!
“View of the cave watching the sunrise“
“For some it´s paradise, but for me, this is home!” Emanuel Pombo