Ever wondered what mountain bike paradise would look like? Something like Madeira probably! Think huge diversity of terrain, incredible trails, welcoming locals and the most epic views!
Remember in 2017 when we had another episode of the Enduro Wet Series? This year, Madeira was very different—bone dry and dusty. As if the trails weren’t already tricky enough, these were the perfect conditions to spice up the racing and bump up the difficulty level an extra notch. The 2019 edition of the EWS Madeira consisted of 8 stages, 3 stages on Saturday and 5 stages on Sunday, for a grand total of 67.3 km in the saddle.
During Thursday training, Keegan got caught off guard while riding the grassy open fields of stage 3. Trying to double some rocks, his rear wheel got caught up on another rock, resulting in a TKO with the rock he had previously spotted as his landing. After a few hours at the hospital and “all-clear” X-rays, Keegan was back on the bike for Friday’s trainings… albeit a little bit stiff. The Kiwi is unstoppable!
Friday’s training went smoother for Keeg. He was able to ride but he was definitely not at 100%. His hip was sore and his movements were limited. However, he still managed to get through all the trainings and studied all the stages and the line choices properly.
On Saturday morning, Keegan was off to a slow start. With lots of tension in his leg and his lower back he couldn’t find the pace and the speed he knew he could have reached in the first three stages of the race. For stages 1, 2 and 3, he finished respectively in 38th, 25th and 25th. Keegan wasn’t very content with these placings, but the times and the race were super close. He was sitting at 33rd after Day 1, less than 10 seconds from being in the Top 15, which he had set as his goal, considering his form.
Keegan approached Day 2 with more confidence, as the stages better suited his riding style. The 5 stages of that day flowed better, with predictable trails which seem to be our young New Zealander’s favourite type of track.
The rest of the day did not unfold like Keegan would have liked. A 30th place on stage 4 and the rest was nothing too memorable. Keegan had difficulty leaning into the corners and getting his body into his usual riding position. His contusion was simply too sore and was bothering him too much. He still managed to get through all the stages but not without a couple of mishaps. He had a few crashes during stages 5, 6 and 7 and simply cruised down stage 8. He finished in 42nd place.
Keegan was definitely disappointed by the result, but to be able to complete this challenging race with his massive bone bruise was an achievement in itself.
Keegan now sits 10th in the Series’ standings.
“Really tough race for me. The hip was just too sore to get me going to my full potential this weekend. It’s frustrating because I had my best-ever results in the first two races of the season but it’s not over. I’m lucky that I am not injured more seriously, and I can’t wait to get back home, reset and hit the refresh button for round 4 of the series! We’ll be back!” – Keegan Wright
“Awesome time in Madeira with the team. This venue is one of the best for sure and this year the course was simply awesome. Bummer we couldn’t see a Keeg in full health to continue to build on his performances of Rotorua and Tasmania… But who said racing was easy? See you in a couple weeks for round 4 in Canazei, Italy where Damien will make his return!” – Bastien Major, Team Manager
- Damien’s comeback is confirmed for EWS #4
- Keegan raced on the Troy 29 Carbon.
- Keegan ate 3 packs of lollies in 3 days…. Sweet teeth.
- Dina our AirBNB host was the best!!!
- Team expression of the week: ‘’Obrigadooo!’’ means thank you in Portuguese.
- Best team meal of the week: Baked chicken pastas with brocolis and cauliflowers.
- Team Song of the week: Old Town Road – Lil Nas X
Stage 1 0:07:05.10 38th
Stage 2 0:03:11.65 25th
Stage 3 0:03:35.45 25th
Stage 4 0:03:03.93 30th
Stage 5 0:03:10.99 61th
Stage 6 0:05:10.67 79th
Stage 7 0:04:59.11 37th
Stage 8 0:05:15.96 40th
Final 0:35:32.86 42nd
Overall Ranking 10th