Marooned 1,360km west of the Portuguese coast and 1,925km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada, the archipelago of Açores shelters a world of lush subtropical gorges, dazzling crater lakes and towering volcanic ridges, adrift in the crashing waves of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Tales of pirate attacks and mythical princesses are interwoven in the folklore of the islands, but the stories of visiting cyclists are only just beginning to be written. Revered as ‘the Hawaii of the Atlantic’ for its lavish beauty, the Azores is a cluster of nine volcanic islands that exists as an autonomous region of Portugal.
But the Azores isn’t a destination where cyclists come to retrace the training rides of pro cyclists – it’s a spectacular island arena that beckons you to uncover new adventures of your own. To cycle around its shipwreck-riddled coastline and jagged crater ridges feels like exploring a forgotten island paradise.
- All lodging*†
- All food and beverages**
- Pinarello Dogma F Disk with SRAM RED eTap AXS
- Daily Bike Wash
- Custom Castelli × inGamba cycling kit
- Daily post-ride massage from a professional soigneur
- Laundry service for cycling clothing
*Pre/post-trip lodging is not included
†Flights are not included
**Beverages ordered by guests beyond normal amounts and away from group activities will incur additional charges
MEET THE GUIDES
The Quiet Crusher
Manuel Cardoso is no longer sitting on the front of the pack, pulling everyone along at what some would describe as a “brisk” pace and what others are unable to describe at all, because they’re too busy gasping for breath and holding onto the wheel in front of them for dear life. Manuel is now sitting just slightly off the back of the pack. As I look back, I realize he has that look on his face. The look which struck fear in the hearts of the Pro Peleton for many years. The look which is part grin, part mischievous child and all business. He is about to start some shenanigans. Sure enough, just a few kilometers later and Manuel has picked one lucky contestant out of the pack and they are sitting-in, waiting, like predators, for the perfect moment. For Manuel, just like when he raced pro, this is when the road turns slightly up, a spot in the road where it gets tough for everyone. And he accelerates with his breakaway “partner” in tow. It is something to see. He ramps it up to a speed with which no one can latch onto the back and with such precision you have to question whether or not you actually want to try and close the gap he has created. And you can’t see it, but you just know, he is grinning from ear-to-ear.
THE TRIP AT A GLANCE
Day 3 – 89km
Furnas — Nordeste
BIGGEST CLIMBING DAY:
Day 2 – 2,040m
Furnas — Lagoa do Fogo