I was very fortunate to spend the last 4 days as a ‘Stagaire’ with Thomson Bike Tours (http://www.thomsonbiketours.com/trips/Gran-Canaria-01/index.html) at their Winter Training Camp on the Island of Gran Canaria.
Now, I have cycled a few ‘Cols” and up a few mountains but I have never cycled up roads like these… +20% grades (24% was the highest that was registered on my Garmin) for sections of 2 kms, winding their way up and up until you finally reach the top – views were spectacular!
The mental game that plays over in your mind when faced with such an effort… it’s fantastic!
I pushed myself to a place that I have never been to on a bike – I had a mechanical issue and had to ride 29kms uphill with only a 23 tooth rear derailleur (+20% grades)… It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have a choice and where your mind takes you when you’re all alone faced with what looks and feels like a wall of pavement in front of you.
The island itself (southern half) is a climber’s paradise and I can see why some of the pro teams use it for their winter training and why the Spanish are so such good climbers (drugs aside), when this type of terrain is available to ride year round.
The weather was perfect (the wind becomes stronger the farther north that you go) the roads are in good shape – lots of cyclists around and the locals are very friendly – what else do you need…
My recommendation – don’t use anything less than a 27 tooth rear derailleur (most guests had 32’s) and try not to have a mechanical issue when climbing…
Hope to go back again and experience the fun - I can say this now I’m back at Chez Passet.
Gran Canaria – Stairway to Heaven… that was a blast!