Cycling in Gran Canaria

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La Grinta RoutesGran Canaria as a cycling destination is relatively new, in comparison to let’s say Majorca or Lanzarote. It must however be remembered that the cycling training camps and the personalities that first inspired them, had a lot to do with the choice of location. Lanzarote owes its fame to a well financed Danish sports company who built the now Spartan complex on an isolated windblown outcrop of land in the north of the island, and for Majorca it was easy access to mainland Germany and the Euro pro teams who’d use it as a season starter camp back in the 70s.

As cycling progressed in its wider appeal outside of cycle racing, destinations like Gran Canaria with it’s all year round sunshine, quiet roads and good tourism infrastructure attracted not only amateur cyclists, but also pro teams who seen the advantage of the weather, good climbs and excellent road surfaces for training earlier in the ever expanding season.

So although today, the island, even though well serviced by professional bike shops, with F1 quality roads, numerous levels of hotels for all budgets and bespoke cycling holiday companies is still a new experience for some serious cyclists, who had never associated it with cycling before, which is great!

Cycling in Gran Canaria

Cycling in Gran Canaria

The advantages over Lanzarote for example is that LZ has only 1 major climb of 600m, whereas Gran Canaria has peaks up to 2000m and at least 25 documented routes with different climbs, most of which are on the new iTunes app “20 Routes on GC”. This probably has a lot to do with why Saxobank and Contador train here, add Cancellara, the BMC team and UK Youth and you begin to get the picture.

Majorca though is closer to mainland Europe, but only 2 hours closer, and if you like queuing with 100s of German cyclists for a coffee in the mountains, then fine, but I guess you’d appreciate the space! The other decider is a clincher, the weather in Majorca doesn’t really warm up till end of February, whereas on Gran Canaria, it’s a consistent 22º 24º all year round.

Cycling in Gran CanariaSo what do you get for your money on Gran Canaria? Well before you come, you must really be sure of what type of cyclist you are, you may be affluent and spend a lot of money looking good, ride a superb bike and yet still struggle on the basic climbs, so you quietly book LZ with its beginner slopes, or you may be affluent and spend a lot of money looking good ride a superb bike and ride anything that thrown at you.

To be honest, it’s mental strength that’s needed, the ability to switch off and only ride the route in sections, as opposed to getting stressed out on the ride to Pico de las Nieves which for example has 2550m of climbing, 105km all in and gradients of 15%. For my clients, and I have never failed to get anyone to the top, the secret is take it in stages, stop often but only for 2/3 minutes to let the lactic acid flush away and take on a small piece of energy or drink in whatever form you’re happy with.

It may surprise you to know too that since we started doing Etape training camps to get people new to cycling ready for the Etape du Tour event in France every July, that making a replica of the French route on Gran Canaria is well very easy, so apart from the distance, Gran Canaria is a small island after all, any col or famous climb in the Alps has a twin on Gran Canaria!

So whether it’s just a road cycling week, a serious training session, or just a spot the pro day, then it has to be Gran Canaria!!

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