This is my homeland, I wouldn’t be able to live anywhere else. I’m very attached to my family, especially to my parents and to my sister. When I was living in Faro, I came back by train every weekend to see them. The diversity of this area is something special: here you can find river, ocean, mountains, you can choose whatever you want. I like that I can easily find different types of bike tracks nearby. Sport has always constituted a strong part of my life: when I was a kid I ran, I did canoeing and also paintball. I’m very sporty and I like to pass that enthusiasm on to others. I enjoy training kids, because they are very receptive to working out, and I like playing a part in increasing their knowledge of sport and seeing them improve. I would like to be a role model to them and to encourage them to try different kinds of sports, so they can find pleasure in doing it. I would like to pass on to them the joy of exercising, because it creates healthy habits, responsibility and good values.

I was born and raised in Odemira, I studied Physical Education in Faro. After working 10 years at Odemira City Council, I set up my own projects and at that point biking became part of my everyday routine: I started to participate in bike races, to give gymnastic lessons in Odemira Primary School, to guide hiking and biking groups, to train children. Besides my classes I like to have my own moments either within nature or in the gym.

I have tried to help Rota as much as I can from the beginning with my knowledge of the trails and to contribute with my experience. Creating such a developed trail network can help everyone who trains alone as a reference, to help find the person in case of an emergency. I’m excited about the new MBT trails, because on the one hand it shows the variety of roads and landscapes of my homeland, and on the other hand it also shows this region’s potential to do MBT.

I like doing sports, but I prefer taking part in competitions and winning, I’ve always been a very competitive person. I don’t like to lose, I feel frustrated and I feel I need to work harder. If I set a goal, I work more and more till I achieve it, I’m stubborn. There is no goal I have set and not achieved. My son has a similar mindset: he doesn’t know how to lose, and we frequently argue about this. I am a mum and a trainer in one person, which is challenging to reconcile.

When I started going to races, I realized already during the first one that I wanted to pass everyone, my competitive spirit rose to the surface. When I reached the finish line, my bicycle tire burst, and I was so angry, because I could only be second or third instead of being the winner that I started to cry. A guy from a club saw my spirit, and he asked me if I want to join Club Silves. I started to compete regularly, first I was the champion of the region in the senior category, and then of Portugal. I won different types of bike races: marathon mountain biking, a long distance race with 70-80 kms, Cross-Country Olympic, a track which goes through rock gardens and you need to jump with your bike, and also time-trial and long distance road cycling competitions. Now I’m pregnant, and I don’t know if I will continue participating in competitions afterwards. But even if I don’t, I will always do my best in everything I do.

Teresa Fernandes

The photos were taken on ‘S.Luís >> Odemira’ Historical way of Rota Vicentina.

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