SuperTravessia aka TRANSPORTUGAL RACE
The first time we organized the crossing of Portugal North to South was in 1997. At the time it was just a tour we named TRAVESSIA DE PORTUGAL aka TRANSPORTUGAL TOUR. By 1999 it was obvious that a great number of the riders who yearly joined the tour wanted to go as fast as possible on the beautiful trails we'd laid for them. I was reluctant in transforming the tour into a race. At the time I couldn't conceive that a racing attitude would be compatible with the sceneries provided and the friendly group spirit replenished with memorable moments. Apparently I was wrong, and looking at today's TransPortugal Race one can feel that racers do get touched by the beauty of the places they go across and create amongst them a happy atmosphere that promotes friendship bonds scoping beyond the race itself.
Anyway, I found a solution which satisfied me and surprisingly the majority of the TRAVESSIA fans. I set up a Race but didn't give up on the Tour.
A Race on the same beautiful trails the Travessia used but in lesser days. I never wanted it to be a hard race, on the contrary, I wanted to provide racers with the best comfort in as much as all they would have to care for was their magnificent racing hours of the day. Thus I designed the race around what I had experienced in the other staged races I had entered, learning with a-middle-of-the-pack rider's eyes and feelings to schematize my ideal race, the race I would be happy to race, a race centred on what's best for the rider, any rider, doing away with what was tedious, superfluous and complicated: no shuttles to starts or finishes of the stages, no tents to sleep in at night, no queuing up for dinners and no fast food, no more spotlights only for the elite riders, no bike technical verifications, no getting-lost on the trails and no luggage to carry at the end of the stages. So, I sat down and pencilled on a piece of paper: in-line race, solo riders, GPS, trackers, handicaps, hotels, self-sufficiency, don't care about bikes, start and finish at the hotel door, bags in the room, good food and buffet dinners.
The sketch was done, I leaned back and though, there's no race in the world like this one I have to create clean cut rules for my race, although being a very simple way of racing, it needed a very comprehensive set of rules because riders had never experienced racing this way, not having arrows and ribbons, not having aid stations, having staggered starts pending on handicaps and so on.
In 2003 we organized the 1st Superstravessia and after 16 years little have deviated from the initial sketch: It became TransPortugal Race, the numbers of stages were reduced from 11 to 8, the routes have changed somewhat, but the foundation pillars are still the same and today in 2018, to many, it is still considered an innovative race. I am glad for that.
But it has always been about my love for the country, the open and remote landscapes, the genuinity of what surrounds us and never-ending passion for purity.
So, the Travessia seemingly became TransPortugal Tour and we proudly run it every year a fortnight after the Race. It still appeals to the few who seek for touring a country on a bike surrounded by nature in remote and peaceful countryside, self-accomplishment but no cut-off times, hiding behind a lens frenetically wanting to capture every moment on a known lost endeavour.
To all who venture either the Race or the Tour all I have to say is what I always say moments before the event...
"...Free your spirit and let it mingle with the beauty and the peace of the places you go through. Soon you’ll realize that there is within you something bigger than racing. There is this strong feeling of gratitude for being alive and being able to share this wonderful planet with all living creatures around you. Alike all moments, these are unique but deserve the most of the pure-you to savour them with plenitude."