Believe it or not this was my first time in Gran Canaria actually riding a bike for the majority of the trip. We had planned to do it around 7 years ago but I was too young and the hills were far too steep for me to be riding every day. However, being older and stronger now than I was then, I was excited to get this training period under way and get some solid training in the bag for the 2020 season with Urbano Cycling Team!
The week didn’t start well, firstly, finding out that where we were staying had one exit … onto the main road (equivalent of the motorway) so I had to take the car to begin and end every single ride. This was a simple solution to a little and insignificant problem, but still frustrating nonetheless. On to the second day, and I planned around a 4 hour ride straight up the island mountain then down the other side and back along the coast road. I got half way round this ride, and it ended at the top of the mountain, when I got a double pinch puncture on my rims having rode over a pothole at 50kmh / 30 mph unfortunately breaking my front wheel as well!! A trip to Free Motion later and a new wheel was acquired for the rest of the week. I just had to put this behind me and learn from my mistakes and take it easy on all descents in the future.
So the second day !! surely couldn’t go any worse than the previous two days … right?! The day started out not so well, although being a warmer start than the day before, it was a hell of a lot windier than the previous day. I had been given advice about the coast road being very windy if you rode it from the south direction, but I did not heed to such advice. I got so far and turned around, in the end it was for the better! On the climb I met some faster riders which accompanied me to the top of the climb, doing some efforts up the way as well, which was nice because the efforts were pushing me along the way as well! At the turn-around point we headed down Santa Lucia, a beautifully flowing descent back down towards the coast. But half way down we had to dismount and walk through what appeared to be a farmers market of some kind, with historical and traditional meaning. It didn’t take too long, but further along the way the police stopped us and diverted us away from the descent on an equally impressive route. I completed a very strong effort and sprint towards the end of the ride which I was very happy with!
Day 3 was an awesome one, I was buzzing for the whole day! It started off riding with a professional rider from Mitchelton-Scott, and he allowed me to tag along for the first of his efforts after a 30 minute spin chatting about racing! I knew the effort was going to be hard, but I wanted to impress! In the process of the 12-minute effort hanging onto his wheel up the climb, I set a new 10-minute power best which I was very happy with! Later up the climb I was prepared to get some efforts done, they were 20 mins at 60 RPM and 350 W. I was motivated for them, but up the climb I was starting to feel a little bit of cramp when I got out of the saddle, in the calf due to pulling up too aggressively in the pedal stroke. At the top, I met my family at the top of the mountain, for a coffee and a small lunch. It was there I met another pro for Israel Startup Nation! He allowed me to tag along for the rest of the ride, which was really fun! He gave me some really helpful tips, and what to focus on in my future giving me a lot of motivation to keep training hard but most importantly smart!! The sprint was closely matched 😉
Day 4 was a 5-hour ride with the pro I met the day before, I was stoked to be invited on this ride through the Gran Canaria mountains!! I knew I would be pushed but I was excited to get on with it!! It started out easy down the coast road into the rolling hills, none of this straight up and straight down stuff… nah we talking constant up and down roads. Naturally because I haven’t ridden in a peloton of 200 riders at 40 mph downhill, I had far inferior descending skills than he did catching up after each corner. Half way through the ride we rode up this crater and it was truly spectacular, the scenery on show in this region of the island! A chatty café stop to get fuelled for the intense ride ahead and we rolled off, for the remainder. In some of the very technical sections down the road, I was very close to being hit by a car coming the other way as the corner tightened up on me and I was not prepared for it! However, we got round those corners safely and we move! Up one of the final valley climbs, which was stunningly green in scenery, just great views all around! Anyway got slightly side tracked there, yes I was starting to feel it a little in the legs but I wanted to dig deep and hang on. Into the head wind I stayed true to myself and sat in the wheel so I didn’t completely bonk! Into the final section and the coast road back to the start and I came round him and showed him I still had some power in the legs, although not top end as he kicked me in the kick up a small hill 🙂 What an awesome day and I was even more buzzing than before! Thank You.
Christmas Day was spent on the beach in the sun … as you do!
The final day, I had a few efforts to do, but I had arranged to meet some new mates from earlier in the week, but unfortunately they got a serious puncture so had to turn round to find a new tyre. I set off up the hill at a brisk pace, and setting some secondary and tertiary personal bests up the hill which was very nice!! I was feeling strong and just full of adrenaline and endorphins so I kept pushing on!! A short café stop for some toasties and lunch with a nice coffee in Tejeda, I rode through the most spectacular region of Gran Canaria island with the most amazing green views, showing the pure beauty of nature. Thankfully the view took the mind off the pain of riding up a 15 % gradients for 5-10 km!
At the top of the hill now, and I had come to the point where I enjoy life… riding downhill for a good 1.5 hours 🙂 These were the most beautiful death-defying descents I have ever ridden down! I had some banging music on, and I had … yes that again … I had that buzz that I can only get when I am riding my bike down hill at 60 kmh metres away from a 50 metre sheer drop listening to the most inspirational music I have on my inspirational playlist !! Life couldn’t be better than at this moment!
So that was Gran Canaria Done and Dusted! I have just finished my 3 week winter block and I am really feeling it now, so a week or so rest and we should be ready to go for the season!! I am motivated for some wins this season with Urbano Cycling Team in Belgium … I am ready!! Well not right now I am run down and might be coming down with something, but we will be awesome when I need to be!!!!
Thanks for reading!!
Over ‘n’ Out x