Morgane Takes on Madeira

Mayo 20 — 2019

Words by: Morgane Charre
Photos by: Sven Martin

After two rounds in the Southern Hemisphere the Enduro World Series headed to beautiful Madeira, a Portuguese island about 1,000km from Lisbon, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Madeira attracts many of tourists thanks to its impressive landscapes: you can go from a dip in the sea to 1,800m altitude in just 45 minutes drive. A lot of hiking trails with breath-taking views.

The third round of the EWS was a two-day race but, as with any multi-day event, there was a lot going on before racing began.

As a privateer without team support at the races, I need to think about everything well in advance and begin preparing long before heading to an event. Here’s how I approached my preparation for EWS Madeira.

First of all: bike check. Of course, I always want to make sure my Roubion is in perfect state before heading to a race. The Saturday before EWS Madeira race week, and after a rainy morning ride at home, I got out the stand and toolbox: fresh tires, a little bleed on the front brake and an overall check to make sure it was race ready. The idea is to minimise any issues that could occur during the race week and not waste energy right before the race.

After seeing the benefits of being able to walk some of the tracks before the race in Rotorua, I now try to get to events early. I arrived in Madeira on Sunday evening before the race week and met up with fellow lone rangers Morgane Jonnier, Yoann Barelli and Miranda Miller. After studying the race maps, we made a plan (which tracks are accessible, which ones are worth walking), organized some cars with other riders and started walking stages 4, 5 and 6 on Monday and stage 2 on Tuesday. Walking some of the stages definitely takes some pressure off for training, as you already know where you are going (kind of!). It’s also nice being outdoors and walking through the forest with other riders; it was a good way to start discovering the island.

On Tuesday, we went riding to have fun and discover the terrain. The crazy thing with Madeira is that the soil is totally different from one trail to the next, going from deep dust to wet loam and slippery rocks. It was good to get a feel for it, adjust the bike settings and get excited for the race.

Wednesday was a rest day before the start of training. I’ve also learned that days off are vital in the lead-up to a tough race like an EWS. We checked the bikes again, making sure everything was ready for practice, and went to Ponta de São Lourenço for a hike near some amazing cliffs right over the ocean, before cooling down in the water. What a way to spend a rest day.

Finally, the race really got started with the two training days on Thursday and Friday. It was all about finding the best lines and remembering the most important problem sections from each stage. Watching the GoPro runs in the evening definitely helped with that. I also like making quick notes for each stage so I can remember the main things right before dropping in during the race, so I took some time to do this.

When all the preparation before the race has been done properly, I feel relaxed and ready to go racing and enjoy the weekend. All went well in Madeira and I took to the race safe in the knowledge that I had done everything to ensure the smoothest possible race weekend.

At the end of the race, and after a couple of top-three stage finishes, I ended up fourth, just 1.3 seconds off the podium after a tight battle with the other girls. I’m now sitting third overall in the Enduro World Series in my first full season in enduro. Every race makes me love this discipline a bit more and I love to find the little things that help me improve as my experience grows.

Meet Morgan and the Juliana Free Agent Team that are taking on the 2019 EWS circuit.


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