Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gran Canaria Day 6: Tejeda Lollipop Loop in Blazing Heat

After our "rest" day on Wednesday, the rides get progressively harder. The weather wasn't getting cooler either.  Highs near 30C (86F) were forecast each day. Friday's ride was possibly the best ride yet on Gran Canaria. Very quiet roads, great scenery, feeling like you're "way out there." It's amazing how much difference getting more than an hour or two's worth of sleep makes too. The night before I got less than 2hrs ours sleep. Caffeine, amped metabolism, thinking about how hard the next day's ride is going to be likely all contributed to a sleepless night.
Day 6 headed out like Day 3 to the Valley of the Tears. Instead of heading up the 20% switchbacks, we continued on GC-210, climbing another couple thousand feet at a more reasonable pace. Vistas provided dramatic views of the switchbacks that we rode two days earlier across the canyon.
Several riders in this week's camp did the same camp last week. Doubling up a really hard week, back to back. The weather is 180-degree difference. Abnormally hot this week, abnormally wet and cold last week. Not sure which I would have preferred. Some riders were borderline hypothermia last week, had one rider that may have had too much heat yesterday and had to get checked out. 
Today's ride finished by descending from Ayacata again, a descent we became very familiar with. 4300ft and countless switchbacks. Each time I go down this beast I get faster. Hard to know if that is a good or bad thing. I finished with 72mi, 8700ft of climbing on my Garmin. Others logged more climbing.
One more day to go. Peter always has a special route planned for the last day, north of 10,000ft of climbing. There is a more sane ride offered though, and many riders were planning to take up that offer. Today's photo dump is from my cheap waterproof camera. Got sick of messing with the lens cap on my LX7.

Heading out through Mogan on GC-200

GC-200 on second hump to first summit of day. Most of pack went way harder up this first climb than I wanted. Scott, Adam from Thomson tours and Keith here.

The geoligists couple particpating in this week's camp from first summit on GC-200.

Dave coming down one of many rough switchbacks on GC-200

Dave and I leading the way, back on the GC-210, heading into the Valley of the Tears

Dave and Keith in the Valley of the Tears

Stacked right on top of one another

Group was pretty fragmented through Valley of the Tears

This time we stayed on GC-210 and continued climbing for another couple thousand feet

Those are the 20% switchbacks we climbed two days ago

Modern cliff dwelling

More homes cut into the cliffs along GC-210


Dave passing through Artenara

Looking back up at Artenara from GC-210

Tejeda from GC-60

Nice scenery and moderate temps at 1000-1400m today. Nasty hot at sea level.

Three young studs came flying by on the 8km climb on GC-60. Dave latched on. I'm like WTF, the pace was just fine. It went to borderline insane for the next 15min and nearly balastic as we crested the pass into Ayacata.

Artenara on pass in distance we passed through about 30 minutes earlier. Haze in air is dust from Saharan Desert, which is why this week so hot.

Dave beginning plummet back to Puerto de Mogan at 4300ft on GC-605. The top third is total crap pavement and we had close call with dickhead driver that passed us on the right with no warning. It is rare though to encounter hostile drivers here, even in trafficy areas. So different from the states.
Peter Thomson at evening briefing. The next day's ride is discussed each evening, any hazards pointed out, turns not to mess, tough climbs to tackle. Then we head over to dinner.

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