Here we are on this speck of an island in the east Atlantic. It's about 600 miles to the mainland in Lisbon, Portugal, and a place we have been hearing about quite frequently of late—the trails and culture are said to be quite unique. It's Madeira, and we are here for round three of the Enduro World Series. So far we are in love with the people and the trails. The weather? Well, that looks like it is going to be more of the same this round, except the rain is much colder than it was in Tassie or Rotorua. But for now, go on a tour of some of this amazing islands trails with us.
The mornings down at sea level are usually warm and sunny. Up on some of the stage starts it's been another story.
Here we are for another edition of the Enduro World Series. So far, we are digging Madeira.
A sunrise and an impending storm. Welcome to Madeira.
Always moist in Madeira.
Stage 1 is a bit of a physical one and when it rains the red clay surface is as slick as ice.
Stage 4 may have been our personal favorite. Lots of loam! These stairs will be a wild ride come race day.
Stage 6 has a solid mix of drops, roots and big rocks.
After a forty minute drive the shuttles dumped us off and headed to greet us at the bottom of Stage 1. Racers will have some shuttle assistance as well.
The woods on day two are filled with golden dirt.
Big ruts, slick rocks, and a bit of good old loam. Madeira has a bit of it all.
John from Freeride Madeira is the man with the plan. He shows us how it's done.
Inside, middle, or outside. Lots of lines to choose from in some spots.
Stage 4 is a super flow natural affair through some big trees and loamy dirt.
The liaisons have some spectacular views.
More loamy goodness on Stage 4. Rick getting the tunnel vision on the course preview.
While the sides of Stage 3 are lush and soft, the track itself is full of jagged rock.
Sven gets his tweak on.
Anytime you see ferns this big and green, you can be sure that it rains and rains often.
It's a relief on Stage 3 anytime your tires are on dirt and not slipping about on rocks.
Matt Delorme navigates the never-ending slick as snot rock garden on Stage 3.
While Stages 1 and 2 traverse the high ride lines above Machico, Stage 3 dives into the trees.
Enduro World Series filter, Nick Armstrong (no pun intended) had a rough one today and spent the night having some new hardware installed in his left arm... Heal up Nick
We didn't make it all the way to the end of day two, but we tried real hard. Squiding ain't easy.
Half way down Stage 3 there's a bit of a view. Of course it usually fills in with fog and rain every 10 minutes, but now and then it's actually quite clear.
Delorme navigates the roots on Stage 7.
Refreshing Poncha, served up cold in the pits is the only way to end the day.
Sugar cane. It's the sweetest thing growing 'round these parts. It also gets distilled into Cachaca.
Dave finding his flow while the sun starts getting low.
John Parkin making quick work out of Stage 7.
Stage 7 is made up mostly of an old DH track and if full of massive roots.
The Pope of Enduro, Enrico Guala drops into the rocks on Stage 7.
Dave linking up some turns on Stage 1.
Greasy conditions are no worry for our fearless leader, Chris Ball.
Anka Martin shows how to get through the super slick rock gardens that make up the top third of Stage 3.
We had a few close calls on Stage 3.
We love the little details around Madeira.
Chris Ball goes over the the rules of the weekend with the team managers and mechanics before things get rolling.
The bike washes will be incredibly busy if the top side weather keeps it up.
Cheers Madeira, we're in for one (probably wet) and wild weekend.