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Canary Bike - Petra Wonisch

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Canary Bike | October 2004


The first day, the people from the Hotel Villa del Monte had a surprise for us. They prepared a "welcome party" in the garden for all the bikers and the clients of the hotel. It was very nice and there we had the opportunity of increase our relationship between the bikers that goes as me to make the "TRANSCANARIAS". In the party we were speaking about bikes, our favourite trails and lots of things more.

STAGE 1: GRAN CANARIA (Sta. Brígida - Cruz de Tejeda - Sta. Brígida)

Distance: 45km
Positive unevenness: 1200 m
Negative unevenness: 1200 m

We wake up at 9 a.m. to have the big breakfast that they prepared to us. After put in order our bikes we left from the Hotel Villa del Monte, in Santa Brígida and we went climbing by a gravel road up to "La Bodeguilla", and them made a little single-track downhill to arrive San Mateo. There was the van waiting to give us some energy-bars and fresh water for the long climb to "Cruz de Tejeda".

Since the first meter Henry was pushing hard by the 15 Km. road that leads up to 1500 metres over the sea level. When you ride fast this hour of climb passes in a moment.

After arrive to Cruz de Tejeda we stay a long time in a bar recovering the lost energy and speaking about the long downhill we have in front for the rest of the day.

Before start the descent we had to climb 2 kilometres more. It was good because I needed a warm up to feel good my legs. The downhill started in a fast gravel road with funny turns. After one kilometre we took a long stony and steep single-track that goes by a beautiful canarian pine forest. The fog don't let us see more than 20 metres ahead but in just a moment we passed under the cloud and we could see that beautiful views. That was the perfect place to take some photos. After that we took another gravel road that make us descent some hundred meters in a few kilometres. It was a good test for our brakes and suspensions. In a moment we arrived to a road that lead to the best single trail of the day. We descent near some rural houses, taking a lot of sliding closed turns and in just some minutes we arrived to the hotel, the place where we started the route.

It was fantastic to end jumping in the swimming pool before eat a big pasta dish speaking about the feelings in the trails and dreaming with the marathon downhill of the next day.

STAGE 2: GRAN CANARIA (Pico de las Nieves - Risco de San Nicolás - Agaete)

Distance: 70km
Positive unevenness: 500 m
Negative unevenness: 2500 m

That night we slept in the Hotel Villa of Monte. In the morning we made transfer until "Pico de las Nieves"(2000m.) in order to begin the marathon downhill there.
The "Pico de las Nieves" is the summit of the island. There are very impressive views of the entire island. That was the perfect place and the perfect moment to take lots of photos of the clouds passing by the mountain and entering into the deep valleys.

We take of the bikes from the van and get dressed with the cycling clothes in just a moment because we were impatient to ride more than 40 km of descent.

We have thought to begin with footpaths to arrive at the Cross of Tejeda but the time runs in ours against and we are ourselves forced to take first 10 km by road. The road from the summit of the island to "La Cruz de Tejeda", in the geographic centre of the island has not steep ramps but is full of funny turns and angles. We started the descent over the clouds and in just some minutes we were surprised by the fog. I only needed my wind-stopper jacket to enjoy of the ride.

After "Cruz de Tejeda" (1500 ms.) we made about 3 km of ascent, until the 1700 m. and there we started a 7 km descent to de village of "Artenara" (1230 m.) by the funny gravel road that crosses the "Cueva Caballero" forest. This forest is called "Cueva Caballero" because there are some caves, sited in the cliff, where has been found some prehispanic archaeological rests that belong to the old habitants of Gran Canaria, "Los Guanches".
In just a moment arrive to "Artenara" (1230 m.). This village is the highest town of the island. We didn't stop there because we had all the things that we needed into the van.

After Artenara and after a small section alternating single tracks and the road we arrived at the entrance of the "Tirma" gravel road.
At the start of "Tirma" gravel road (1200 m.) we made a picnic and recover water for the bike-bottles because the van couldn't follow us into the trail. So we had to ride without the van until "El Risco de San Nicolás" (30 m.), place where it was accorded to meet.
It invades the emotion to the knowledge which we ahead have about 18 km of descent by a gravel track and 9 km. more of asphalt until arriving at the "Risco de San Nicolas".

At the first time it is a bit steep, but in a few kilometres we needed pedalling power to get good speeds. There is a section that looks like an Alpe'duez because of the closed turns followed by short straights.
The impressive beauty of the places that we crossed in Tirma makes us stop in all the viewpoints to take photos and to admire this idyllic place. After arriving at the end of the track of Tirma we made de 9 km. downhill to "El Risco de San Nicolás".
This is the funniest road I ever made. Lots of turns, one ahead the other make you feel like a Moto GP racer. The only thing that makes you brake is the 500 metres cliff by the left side!

In "El Risco" we made a picnic in a tapas-bar. We thought to go to "Agaete" in the van, but there we changed the plans. We decided to go in the bikes to "Agaete" by the beautiful 20 km. road. The road that leads to "Agaete" goes by the cliff. By the left side we could see the beaches of "Palo Blanco" and "Guayedra", and by the right side there are very high mountains of more than one thousand metres that fall straight to the sea.This road have no long climbs but it's always going up and down until the last descent that leads to "Agaete".

That night we slept in "La Palmita", precious stone rural houses, perfectly equipped and sited in a palm forest. I think that was the perfect place to end a long and happy day of mountain biking. After giving us the bath we had to go to the restaurant to begin the dinner on a menu made up of typical plates of the kitchen of the town.

STAGE 3: TENERIFE (La Esperanza - Puerto de la Cruz)

Distance: 45 km
Positive unevenness: 600 m
Negative unevenness: 1600 m

Very early in the morning we took the ferry that goes from Agaete to the capital of Tenerife, Santa Cruz. It just takes one hour and it is very comfortable because goes as fast as the waves don't move it.

We made there transfer in the van to "La Esperanza" (1000 m.) in order to begin the route by a kilometric track that stays on the 1100 meters during about 20 kilometres.
Today the van will go all the route with us, catering and giving all that the bikers need.

We crossed a "laurisilva" forest. The "laurisilva" is the typical canarian jungle. Some million years ago it was in all the Mediterranean area, but now it's extinct and it's only possible to find it on the Canary, Madeira and Azores islands.

In this trail we were passing by lots of different valleys and the vegetation changed from Laurisilva to canarian pine woods.
After some kilometres with short climbs and descents that made us to be shifting from the medium to the big ring we started the climb of the day. It was around 7 km of smooth ascent that leads us from 1100 metres to 1550 m. By the middle of the ascent we arrive to "el salto de las palomas" an incredible cliff where to take photos and have an energy bar. Just some km more and we only had to brake and jump in the funny bumps of the descent to "La Orotava". In de downhill one of the guys had a crash in a closed turn but that was no problem to let us enjoy the place and the moment.

Later we arrive to a beautiful place with wood tables to make a picnic and change opinions about de descent.

After the picnic we descent to "La Orotava", there we put the bikes inside the van to be transferred to "Puerto de La cruz", where we spent that night in a little hotel near the beach.

That night we went out to some bars and pubs to know the night of the city with some beers and Italian food.

STAGE 4: TENERIFE (Izaña - El Médano)

Distance: 52 km
Positive unevenness: 400 m
Negative unevenness: 2400 m

From Puerto de la Cruz we made a comfortable transfer in van to near the observatories of Izaña. We began the route to 2000 meters of altitude taking a litle road that takes us to the telescopes of Izaña, located to 2300 meters.
There starts a marathon downhill of 42 km. by gravel road. The track descents very easy in the first kilometres, crossing a Vulcan landscape with the "Teide" (3700 m.) as background. Soon, the landscapes changed to canarian pine forest, and the ground changed from black soft Vulcan gravel to red dusty gravel. In some kilometres de descent will become steeper and with more bumps. There was a place where we could see "El Médano", the beach where this route ends far away.

After end the gravel road we descent by a steep road that lead to "El Rio". There was accorded to stop for a picnic. In this place we could choose to go to "El Médano" on the van or by bike. It only rested 10 km of road in a smooth descent with tail wind, so all the riders decided to do it in our bikes and meet the van in the beach.

El Médano is known as the best places to practice windsurf in Tenerife so it is a town with great surf ambient.
That night we spend the night in the beach under the stars with the company of some beers.

STAGE 5: LA GOMERA (Alto del Garajonay - San Sebastián de la Gomera)

Distance: 40 km
Positive unevenness: 300 ms
Negative unevenness: 1500 ms

From Tenerife we were transferred to the island of the Gomera. A 40 minutes ferry leaves us in San Sebastián and we were transferred in van until "El Alto del Contadero" (1350 m.) in order to ride in singletracks that lead to us until the top of the island, the "Alto del Garajonay" (1487 m.) There we arrange ourselves there to make a mixed descent by earth and asphalt to the capital, located to the level of the sea. We rode in our bikes by some dark and slippery single-tracks that crosses the "Garajonay laurisilva forest".

When we arrive to San Sebastián de la Gomera after a 26 km. descent and we only had to take a ferry to Tenerife and there another ferry to Gran Canaria to end the TRANSCANARIAS.

More info about TRANSCANARIAS: