When Trans Madeira started back in 2018 we immediately tried to understand what percentage of racers were traveling to Madeira alone in contrast to those that came with friends, family members and loved ones. We found out that 72% were not alone on this wild adventure. Over the course of three years that number lowered to an average of 70%, meaning that this event is even more special when shared with someone you know. From the 260 racers that already raced Trans Madeira, we've found a tone of reasons for them to come over: a chance to step away from work and being offline for a couple of days; a reason to meet up with family members or long time friends that are separated along the year; a way to challenge your body and mind.
On top of that we've found racing relationships: brothers, brother and sister, husband and wife - to name a few. We had the chance to speak with them to know the reasons why they came together and what they thought about it. Trans Madeira is a race but is also a way to share the same passion with the ones that are close to you, no matter what relationship you're into.
1) What keeps you both coming back to Madeira and race together?
It's a combination of things. First of all the beauty and diversity of the island and its trails; the people we meet during the race... but also the race format. What's important to us is that we can spend our holidays together. Trans Madeira is definitely a race but the organizers let the riders free during the day, so you can ride with your friends, partner or whoever you want in the most beautiful scenery.
2) What were the main differences to race the first and second edition?
The team really listened to the racers of the first edition and reacted to it. The organization just got a little better by adding some more meals during the day, the group-ride on registration day - without loosing attention to the most important part: serving people with some the best trails the island has to offer! We still wonder what day four of second edition would have brought without the rain pouring down. It was clear the crew had put everything in to up the game, but the rain didn’t let us enjoy the trails to their fullest.
3) Do you normally ride together along the day? What’s the plan and the routine for both of you?
In the past, we were marathon racers and trained together almost every day but since we have kids now this is no longer possible. We don’t really have a plan or routine. We just go ride whenever we can find spare time, sometimes together, sometimes apart with other friends. We do try to stay fit along the year by cross-fitting two to three times a week.
4) These are certainly a different kind of holidays that most couples would never think about. Any incentives and advices to do it together?
Hmm… this is definitely the most difficult question, haha. I guess go ride together so you get to know and respect each others strengths and weaknesses on the bike. Never forget the adventure you’re experiencing and realize it's something quite unique to be able to do this together as partners.
1) It was your first time on the island, what were the highlights of the week?
We came for the superb riding on island which we had heard of and seen stunning pictures from, but our highlights were the fantastic time we spent with likeminded people. We had a good laugh even while fixing punctures! The boat ride on day one was pretty special and we enjoyed the variety of terrain and vegetation... the camping sucked sometimes, haha!
2) You created team ‘Despacito’ before the adventure kicked off, together with Noga! How was the spirit and what were the goals of the crew along the race days?
Noga is like a sister to us and even though we all have different strengths we absolutely wanted to get onto this adventure together. The team 'Despacito' just evolved during the first day of racing with the mutual goal of just having fun. Trans Madeira is a race but it is much more a survival camp combined with a fun school camp! Everything is so much more fun with friends and as #funisfast the 'Despacito' crew found the perfect recipe for a good week on the island.
3) Comparing times, Nathalie ended up winning three days and Michael winning two days. What was the strategy played for blind racing in Madeira?
Really? Haha! we had no clue. To be honest we raced hard the first day and then decided to just enjoy and have fun. Blind racing is hard and from time to time everyone has some weak moments. That’s when it is important to have team 'Despacito' by your side.
1) Was it your first time racing a race of this kind? How was your experience?
It wasn’t clearly our first time racing enduro but it was our first multi-day race. It was our second time in Madeira so we already knew that the trails were amazing. The week is clearly far away from a chill at the poolside but it’s worth it! The stages are really longer than what we have in Belgium… so this is really crucial to save some energy for the next day. The multi-day race format allows you to meet great people along the week from all over the world, which is pretty cool too.
2) As brother and after five days of racing together did you both got enough of each other?
Not really since we have been riding buddies for a lifetime, haha. All our holidays have been spent on a saddle since the beginning. Never the less, we appreciate to have one tent each other so we don’t have to share our farts any more!
3) Renaud, the younger brother, got better times overall along the week. Was it always like this? Mathias, age makes you slower?!
Renaud: Yap, most of the time I’m in front at the end of the day but I get a bit of help. Mathias is a bit like a trial horse for me until I catch him. Then he must try to follow me as long as he can, but clearly he’s becoming too old for these shits...
Mathias: Haha, yeah it’s been a couple years now that he beats me on every stages in enduro. I still have the strongest legs for the cross country rides but clearly the student seems to have surpassed the the teacher in the most technicals parts.
4) Both of your overall best results were actually on day four - muddy in the morning and dusty in the afternoon. How did you adapt to these changing conditions?
Actually in Belgium we used to ride in the mud most part of the year! We had a really good times with these slippery conditions in the morning and we didn’t suffer as much as the other riders so we kept enough energy for the last two stages in the afternoon. This day was really amazing, two completely different seasons in only a few hours.
5) Did the event and the island match your expectations?
We already know what to expect but clearly we weren't disappointed. Madeira had a lot to offer and the race is a nice way to discover it. Don’t expect vacations, expect actions! Long, rough but wonderful days of riding in the middle of nowhere.
Thanks for your time Inne, Klaas, Nathalie, Michael, Mathias and Renaud! We hope you can join us for a ride soon!