RACE IN PARADISE
Our race format allows for the unique opportunity to do each discipline in different parts of São Miguel. The island is 62,1km long and 15,8km wide at its widest point.
To go to the start of each race, you can either drive there, if you choose to rent a car, or you can use our transfer service, which you can purchase when you register. We recommend the latter, as it will allow you to mingle with the other athletes, and not worry about directions, parking, etc… You can also buy tickets for family and friends to use the transfer service. Transfers will depart and return, after each competition, from near the race office / expo in the center of Ponta Delgada.
Vila Franca do Campo: 25.1 Km from Ponta Delgada
Estimated traveling time: 23 minutes
A small paradise that sits offshore a larger one (the island of São Miguel), the islet of Vila Franca do Campo provides an exciting day for anyone who visits it.
Situated opposite the town of Vila Franca do Campo, about 1km from the coast, the islet is what’s left of the crater of an ancient submerged volcano, and is one of São Miguel’s main tourist attractions, particularly since an event in the Red Bull Cliff Diving world championship was held here.
Classified as a Nature Reserve, the walls of its crater are lined with endemic vegetation, while inside there is an almost perfectly circular natural lake, which is linked to the sea by a narrow channel. This opening is called Boquete and faces north, i.e. towards the coast of São Miguel, which prevents the entry of waves from the sea. Its crystal-clear waters and the small but lovely beach are excellent for swimming and diving.
The swim start will be at Praia Vinha D’Areira.
The swim is an L shaped loop of 1.5km on open water. Those doing the 3.0km distance will do two loops, with a short run on the beach at the end of the first loop, passing by an aid station. Those doing the 4.5km will do 3 loops, running by the aid station twice.
This loop course makes it an exciting competition for both the participants and spectators, as it is easier for spectators to follow the action, and for athletes to control who’s around them.
Ribeira Grande-Nordeste: 19.7 Km from Ponta Delgada
Estimated traveling time: 25 minutes
On the island’s north coast lies the small but rich town of Ribeira Grande, picturesquely located on a volcanic plateau above the sea.
The town’s charming historic center, with its narrow streets, as well as the municipal garden (which deserves a moment of your time just to admire some magnificent specimens of the New Zealand Christmas tree), are lined with pretty examples of urban architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries, among which is the Town Hall, with its impressive exterior stairs.
Particularly notable is the parish church of Espírito Santo from the 17th century with its sumptuous façade, one of the most attractive Baroque structures in the archipelago. Besides Manueline influences to be observed on some buildings, there is also an interesting bridge with eight arches from the 18th century.
Ribeira Grande still breathes the air of the prosperous times of the flax and wool spinning mills that were built along the river, in the 18th century. The first settlers arrived in the beginning of the 16th century, and began to build the richness of the town.
Largely unspoiled by the effects of modern development, Nordeste is a small outpost situated at the north-eastern tip of São Miguel.
Its remote location, beyond the attractions of the Furnas spa resort, means that few visitors ever reach this sleepy little town, due to its limited road access.
But the rewards are many, most notably the spectacular Atlantic vistas and the chance to witness traditional Azorean life as it has always been.
Built in the 15th century, and later restored in the 18th century, the church of São Jorge features an interesting façade and some statues that once existed in the former Franciscan monastery.
The bike course is draft legal and will feature a neutral start of about 2.5km, for each wave of up to 250 participants (the total number of starts will depend on the total number of participants).
The course will take place on the highway (which will be 100% closed to traffic) that connects Ribeira Grande and Nordeste, on one of the best and most amazing pavements you can find anywhere. It starts, however, with a half challenging of about 2 km, but the rest of the course is very fast paced, with rolling hills.
The bike course is in loops of 50km each, on the highway, with an extra 2.8 km road stretch to take you to the finish line.
Considering the draft legal bike competition and the large pelotons, we advise for extreme caution and constant attention during the entire bike course.
Lagoa das Sete Cidades: 24.7 Km from Ponta Delgada
Estimated traveling time: 34 minutes
We saved the best for last. Lagoa das Sete Cidades is a twin lake situated in the crater of a dormant volcano. It consists of two small, ecologically different lakes, connected by a narrow strait, which is crossed by a bridge.
It is part of a natural landscape of communitarian interest: it is the largest body of water in the region and one of the most important freshwater resources in the archipelago.
The run course starts in the old town inside Lagoa das Sete Cidades, and climbs all the way up to the ridge (cumeeiras) of the volcano, in a breathtaking and unparalleled scenery, surely making it an amazing experience.
The 10km and 20km races do not go all the way around the volcano, but the 30km race does, on a very tough and challenging course, that climbs almost to 900m above sea level (it starts at about 250m above sea level).
COURSES AND AID STATIONS
We have a policy of zero tolerance for littering. We are determined to make this a “leave nothing but footprints” event. Any food or drinks you consume during the course segments must be done in place, and if you litter anywhere on the course you will be immediately disqualified and fined by authorities.
Please make sure you slow down enough (on the bike in particular) to take on any nutrition needs you may have, and make sure you secure them well not to let them drop. At the aid stations there is a dropping zone for your litter that you must absolutely respect.
On the run course you will not be allowed to consume any nutrition, solid or liquid, that carries trash with it, outside of the aid station zones. We recommend you carry a fuel backpack, especially if you are doing the 30km race.
We are sure you appreciate these measures as much as both we, and all residents, do, in order to keep the island clean, and make sure it receives us with open arms for many years to come.