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Behind The Scenes: Iago Garay’s “Not Far From Home—Sintra, Portugal”

In Episode 5 of Iago Garay's lockdown-initiated video series, the crew crosses country lines for the first time


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Not being allowed to leave your house for two months gives you a lot of time to think. While many people passed the time during lockdown baking sourdough bread or binge-watching reality TV, Iago Garay spent his time brainstorming how he could still explore new places on his bike without straying far from his native Spain. That, and lots of video calls with photographer Kike Abelleira and Filmer Nacho Trueba, ultimately resulted in “Not Far From Home” series, the latest episode of which dropped today. 

“We knew traveling was going to be hard during this pandemic and, for people like us that were used to constant traveling, we wanted to ride our bikes in new and exciting places. We found out that this situation was a great excuse to finally go discover those riding spots in Spain we had been hearing about, but never had the time to go. Places that had so much to offer without having to go to the Alps, or the Rockies. Since then, we have ridden in several amazing places and discovered new favorite trails all around Spain.”

With a long lockdown looming, the choice was clear: Stay on the couch…

For the last trip, the crew decided to go international, although they kept to their mantra of staying close to home. 

“My good friend Sergio Layos (BMX legend and MTB ripper) kept speaking about the amazing trails in Sintra, Portugal, and at the time of year we wanted to do the trip, Sintra was supposed to have the best conditions. Thanks to its proximity and culture, Portugal has always felt more like home than any other country, which made it an easy decision.”

…or hit the local tracks.

Garay connected with the folks at weride.pt and in a matter of hours, the trip was ready to go. Joao and his crew at We Ride run a guiding and shuttle company around the area, as well as maintain the trails, and imbue passion into the whole scene. They showed Garay and crew the best trails, including those they had been working on through the winter. 

The Home trail—a fast, fun flow trail, descending 680 feet over just over a mile—had just been rebuilt and “let me tell you, that was SO MUCH FUN. One of my new favorite trails in the world,” Garay said.

This project started as an excuse for a good group of friends to go riding somewhere fun, spend the whole day playing in the mountain and celebrate with some beers at night. Even as travel restrictions are lifting, the concept of finding hidden gems without traveling across the world will surely stick with Garay. Abelleira’s got a full recap in photos below. 

Sergio Layos soaring above sea level.

Filmer Nacho Trueba collects clips while Layos leans in.
Iago Garay and Layos make good use of Sintra's golden hour.

Sintra’s vast trail network crosses a variety of terrain—from big berms in dense oak forests to steep and dusty duff.

Exploring Sintra’s Parque Natural, which has more than 100 trails throughout the Sintra Mountain Range that reach from the range’s high point of 1,736 feet above sea level down to the warm waters of the Atlantic.
Garay finds a line in one of Sintra's signature forests.

Garay wondering if he’s ever going to go back to his real home, after soaking up Sintra’s glory.
A crucial part of any shoot.
Sintra's magic shines through.

Having sea views toward the west usually delivers a dreamy canvas.

Garay leads Layos out of a whimsical section of woods.
Sintra's light and dust are on another level. And they got a good dose.
Not far from home, and how lucky they are.

Photography: Kike Abelleira