After so much anxiety, finally, the long-awaited fourth stage of the Montanhas Race Enduro took place on 22 and 23 October 2016 at Monte Verde, Camanducaia's district, south state of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
German pilots and rides from the national states of Tocantins, Federal District, Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro traveled to Monte Verde seeking for adventures that Montanhas Race, in partnership with MTB Monte Verde, prepared in the heart of Mantiqueira mountain range up to 2,000 meters of altitude.
The event was based on the Confraria Paulistânia, a perfect place to group the competitors which has been meeting since the first edition of the season at Morungaba/SP, April this year. The chairman, Thiago Velardi, kept the typical model of a race done in 2 days.
On the morning of the first day, the weather was dry, however heavy clouds was building up making it clean some rain was expected late afternoon. During the beginning of the Stage 1 and 2, heavy clouds stroke the summits from Pedra Selada and Chapéu do Bispo (Bishop's Hat) peaks which later would be the scene of some of the toughest stages of the championship.
The E1 (Budweiser trail) was raced in blind style. Its first quarter revealed a rise stretch where fitness was needed. Nailing times almost to the second, the athletes headed to the E2 (Trail Sirigrilo), an environmental where they had to show how much knowledge are in the bucket for an endless corners section.
Once more the times were very close each other indicating a higher technical level and preparation compared to the previous editions. No major difficulty was found in the E3 (Airport trail). Thus, that Saturday ended at the top of the Plateau's trail for E5 trainning.
After a long pedal all the way up, the attack to the Bishop's Hat (Chapéu do Bispo) summit was made in an alpine environmental where clouds and strong winds hit the competitors while they crossed the wet and slippery terrain making the approach hard. The start line led pilots to an altitude of 1955 meters. At this point the identity of the Montanhas Race Enduro was proved, it was not easy after 3 stages to deal with the worst of nature plus a trail featured with rocks and boulders.
The Trail of the Plateau was exactly what everyone expected front fame that was built after the season of 2015. There, the game became very serious placing pilots among huge rock gardens and tricky drops.
Later that day, many riders had to spend hours repairing the bikes and find solutions for the most complex issues. There was no rest even overnight. The dark streets held riders meetings in order to borrow parts and tools ensuring the check in for the next race day. This cooperative behavior is such a value responsible to speed up the growing of this discipline. An old saying about that: Shared suffering brings people together!
After resting, the nightmares came with the breaking of the day. Sunday dawned with no rain and a great change of ranking positions was expected. The time now was by side with those with DH skills and ninja techniques.
Made recognition of E4, trail called "What I wanna is rock!", time trials started.
Well, the time has come the long-awaited, stage 5.
Due to the large amount of water and mud the start line was moved a 200 yards ahead following the main mountain ridge. Dull place of little conversation. The riders were more concerned with checking the machine and recognize the possible few meters that set the beginning of almost six minutes of pure commitment to courage and endurance. It was the time to attack the mountain!
The women category dropped down first leaving behind all the uncertainties giving place for all the information needed for safe and fast descent. Then, the category with the highest number of competitors, Master 3, crossed the high altitude tropical forest featured with huge plateaus of granite where the visual was breathtaking.
As expected, the ranking changed completed and the race was defined there, on a track that led athletes and equipment to the endurance limit. The trail required a lot of resistance and psychological control to win a real endeavor of epic proportions.
The last stage of the day was held in a fun and relaxing track.
In Sam's trail, the idea was to maintain flow once the results were practically defined. And to close with a flourish, all participants were able to celebrate the Confraria Paulistânia enjoying a very deserved weiss beer.
So increasingly the enduro is setting root in Brazil with creativity and innovation.
Our thanks to all Montanhas Race and MTB Monte Verde staffs. Now the league remains strong and disputed. The Montanhas Race Enduro 2016 season decision promises a lot of excitement on the next race which will be held in the city of Socorro-SP, in December.
Words by Andre Bortoletto and Photos by Adilson Martins