Last week 9 riders including 3 of the 2011 TORQ riders gathered in Gran Canaria for a weeks training camp. With temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 degrees centigrade it was ideal conditions to complete the third week in our hard January training block. Having flown in early evening we had enough time to unpack, visit the supermarket and beach, and build our bikes for the following days training.
With base miles still the key focus we headed out for a steady 5 hour day to break the legs in. Riding from the beach to the highest point on the island at 1940 metres certainly woke the legs. However the route chosen into the mountains was an easy ride in comparison to what lay ahead in the following days.
Day 2 was a really tough day on the bike, after riding west around the coast of the island we headed inland on the GC200 road before heading upward on the GC210. After already riding for 3 hours through the fantastically stunning mountain roads we choose to shortcut up the dreaded GC606, otherwise known as the Valley of Tears. Standing at the base of the GC606 we had no idea that ahead of us was 11kms of tarmac climbing at a 20% average gradient with sections of 28% gradient! The climb snaked its way up the mountain and with temperatures reaching the high twenties it proved a huge test. An hour later we finally appeared at the top of the GC606, a road we’ll never forget!
Monday and Tuesday we once again completed 5 hour rides with over 3000 metres of ascent each day. A well earned rest day was taken Wednesday where we rode down the coast to a small resort called Puerto Rico where we enjoyed some fantastic strawberry milkshakes in a nice café by the marina.
Thursday was an epic day as we completed a huge 105 mile loop on the island taking 7 hours. The 3500 metres plus of climbing included some steep ascents and proved to be an excellent days training. The descents from the top of the island every day were fantastic fun but today the views on the descent through the valleys were stunning.
On Friday with already sore legs we completed a shorter 4 hour ride up to one of cafes near the top of the mountain before descending down the GC60 which acts as a savour road for any rider staying near Maspalomas. The road descends for 40 kilometres straight down to the southern point of the island and riders can average about 35 miles per hour from top to bottom!
With tired legs and thoughts turning for some riders to Sunday’s race we completed a 2 hour ride with a few intervals to keep the legs moving before packing our bags and heading to the airport.
Along with the TORQ team last week the island played host to riders from the BMC road team, Leopard Trek road team, Bulls mtb team, Ergon mtb team, Rabobank womens road team, Alriksson Go Green womens road team, Cervelo womens road team, and Great Britain team.
Our week long trip to Gran Canaria was a fantastic week of training, laughter, sunbathing and ice cream eating. In total the TORQ riders completed around 35 hours of riding over 8 days.
Many thanks to Tim Dunford, Mel Spath, and Ryan Sherlock for showing us some fantastic routes. Also thanks to Stuart Harvey, Steve Middleton, John Pybus, Paul Hopkins, Ant White and Phil Lenney for joining Josh Ibbett, Sion O'boyle and myself for the week in Gran Canaria.
Video of Gran Canaria