Wheelers MTB Holidays

At the beginning of the year, still off the bike and trying to get my collar bone to heal, I decided I was going to do another Alps trip later in the year. I had not been for a few years and I thought the best thing I could do to get back in training was to spend a week or so on the bike on some proper mountains.

After trying to organise dates with friends it all got very confusing and it also seemed the price of villas had gone up since I last went. I got chatting with a guy called Brett Wheeler who had just started up a new MTB Holiday business in Portugal. I kept seeing lots of videos of the tracks on Facebook and thought ‘These look good!’ I headed over to his website to have a more detailed look. First off I couldn’t get over how cheap it was. I thought I was missing something at first…. 350 Euro’s for a week?

7 nights accommodation
Transfer from and back to the airport
Breakfast
Dinner
WiFi
Uplift
Coaching
Swimming pool
Jacuzzi

….. the list went on. So basically all you need to spend on top of this was the flights and about £5 a day on lunch. SOLD!! We booked up and started to get the bikes ready.

 

We decided to go in May and people could not make their minds up so it ended up being just 3 of us. Chris had only just got his Santa Cruz Bronson so hadn’t really had chance to ride it, Graham was franticly trying to get his Scott Ransom repaired before we left after it not being used for some time and I was finishing off the build of my Antidote Lifeline the night before we left.

 

Santa Cruz Bronson

 

Antidote Lifeline

Flights cost us around £200 each once we had booked luggage including the bike. So all in all it was about £500 each for the week….. Amazing!

We flew into Lisbon at about 8 o’clock on a Saturday Evening and Brett was there ready to pick us up. It was a 2 hour drive to the villa in Lousã so it was dark by the time we arrived. We met Brett’s wife Jo, unpacked the bikes, had a couple of beers and hit the sack. The Villa is huge, well equipped and very comfortable.

We woke to a beautiful sunny morning, stocked up on breakfast and hit the trails. We were all pretty rusty, new bikes and suspension set up seemed to play a big part of the day but the trails were amazing! So dusty you needed to leave a bit of a gap to the person in front. We stopped for lunch and headed to one of the restaurants in the town. One thing you are not going to do here is go hungry. After lunch we headed straight back up the hill, about 20 mins drive to the top. There are many runs down the mountain and a full run can last 20 mins at least. I only managed a few more runs in the afternoon as my need to beer started to grow. We headed back to the villa and chilled by the pool, tinkered with bikes and had a few beers. Then Jo called us for dinner and we sat for a superb 3 course meal. After chilling in the lounge watching some of the GoPro footage it was time to get some sleep.

 

The next day we stayed on the same mountain. There was a small bit of rain but this just made the trails even better. A bit of water got rid of the dust and put a bit more grip down on the runs. We all started feeling a bit more confident and Brett showed us a few of the more challenging runs.

As the week went on Brett took us further afield to some World Cup courses. On each run Brett took us down slowly pointing out what to look out for, then we took the lead with him trying to keep up….. turns out he was clearing and rebuilding the trails behind us and still ending up at the bottom at the same time.

Chris had a Fox fork failure one afternoon. His 34’s stuck down. Brett took us off to see his mate in town…. Daniel at DPX Racing. We left the bike with him and it was ready later that evening. The forks were fixed and bike cleaned for a fraction of the price it would have been in the UK… Top service!

DPX Racing

 

The trails were a real mix throughout the week. Everything from steep technical to open, fast and flat out. There was a real difference to the bike park type trails of the main runs in France. The trails were quiet too, defiantly not like in France. On the weekdays we were the only people on them, at the weekends we were sharing them with maybe 15 other people. Chris and Graham were a bit worried that 150-160mm travel bikes might not be up to the job here but there was no problem at all.

Lousã and Wheelers MTB Holidays has definitely got something to offer everyone. This is going to replace my annual MTB trip to France for a while. The trails are great and the cost is incredible. Brett also mentioned might be buying a section of land next to the Villa for jumps, foam pit etc. so watch this space.

Wheelers MTB

 

I also managed to get most the video equipment out in our bags even though we got a bit close to the weight limit. Luckily Chris and Graham were travelling light……. except for Graham’s bike bag which pretty much had a spare bike in. It was hard to film and ride at the same time but I managed to get some footage, so here is a little edit, YouTube and Vimeo as usual.

 

 

 

 

Get in contact with Brett and Jo:

WheelersMTBholidays