Enduro Riding In Gran Canaria

Enduro Riding In Gran Canaria

22/01/2015
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22/01/2015

It’s not often the option of riding MTB in Gran Canaria Island comes up in the middle of winter from a non rider source, but that is exactly what happened this last month when we were encouraged into making a small trip to the island for a short break and a bit of Enduro riding, the only catch is we had to try some bike specific cross training in the form of Power Yoga, not exactly what we had in mind but what the heck, we were sure it was worth a gamble.

This is where we would finish, after 30km of trails.

This is where we would finish, after 30km of trails.

So after a few calls and hastily booked tickets we found ourself off to Gran Canaria Island to see what we could find to ride as well. With absolutely no idea about how the trails were and Google turning up little or no information, we just assumed after checking a map there would be some trails based on the fact there was an extinct 2000 meter volcano in the middle and a vague video from Epic TV’s Dan Milner. So we also contacted Daniele from Fluyendo who jumped at the chance and said, “Err wrong island, hang on, I will help you find a guide.” In Entered Edu a local from Las Palmas, we were set.

Video Of The Descent

Map/Island Information

Its Bigger than it looks!

Grand Canaria is bigger than it looks. We rode from the centre to Maspalomas, consult locals for more info…

Trail details

By the very fact that we could not find much info about Gran Canaria and it was a totally undeveloped bike scene we have decided to not give exact details to where the trails are that we rode. We were graciously shown around by the locals who know every loop and detail and link to get about. We have left their details at the end, and we are sure if riding these trails is an aim, then contacting them to have them show you would be a good thing to do for them and the local economy.

The technical level required for the trails that we rode would be medium to high skills depending on how fast and how much experience as a rider you have. We found the surface and trails to be hard packed but rough in places with lots of square edge rocks to catch you out if you hit them wrong. The cliff edges were part of the course but the trails were wide enough to be safe and no more sketchy than any alpine location we have ridden previously. We dropped about 2500 metres in total over about 5 hours of medium pace riding and climbing, stopping to enjoy the views. At a push one could do two descents a day, but we recommend enjoying the beaches and do just one per day, after a few days, stretching out, beach and beer would be highly advisable.

We recommend getting a guide who knows where they are and what they are doing, some of the spots we were in were very removed from any form of communication and should anything go wrong a guide will get you out of trouble.

Bike Recommendations

We rode with a 160mm Cannondale Carbon Jekyll which in our opinion was the perfect type of bike for this kind of trail and descents. As it is rough the extra travel reduces fatigue that one might feel with a shorter travel bike, and we didnt need to pedal uphill for more than an hour. The open head angle of an Enduro bike will give the perfect stability for high speed, but we recommend having good brakes as there are a few death corners that wont be nice if you cant stop. We ran Magura MT7 four piston brakes which were perfect the whole way down.

As for tyres we collectively had 8 flats. Don’t use single ply: tubeless or double ply was the way to go with the Cannondale not flatting once. Make sure you bring extra tubes. We found the Maxxis High Roller an Minion combination perfect here.

Photo Story

We have put together a sequence of our descent of one of the trails we rode that week, read on for more info.

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Pick up in the shuttle to the top of a 2000 metre extinct volcano surround by palm trees and 22 degree weather. This is Janauary in Gran Canaria.

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The start on the north of the island in Las Palmas was a bit cloudy so we headed to the top to see what the weather was doing.

We had our arse kicked the day before by Yogatogo as a condtion of riding, we have to say it did make us feel loose and ready to ride.

We had our arse kicked the day before by Yogatogo as a condition of riding, we have to say it did make us feel loose and ready to ride.

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However today was about riding not stretching, so surprise surprise we have discovered the only shuttle service on the island, local knowledge starts to take over.

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After many corners, a distinct feeling of wanting to vomit after feeling travel sick and a few calls we were at the top, checking the weather working out which of the 25 trails we were going to descend on.

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Edu and Nano choose a southerly route down the slopes towards the south of the island.

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After a few hundred meters and 4 degree temperatures, we were already changing a tube as Edu’s tubeless single ply tyre was obviously the wrong choice.

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The trails started to make themselves known and we were very quickly aware that we were riding something pretty special.

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We started to descend after a few hundred meters out of the clouds and the temperature started to warm up.

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At this point the trails were perfectly smooth single flowing trail through the pine woods, we were in heaven.

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Yes, only 28km to go!

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With the cloud lifting the impressive surroundings started to appear.

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We stopped to pull off a few layers and enjoy the views.

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At this point we were looking about 40 km south to the coast, and getting very excited.

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After the wood areas we emerged into a lunar like landscape which was absolutely impressive, the rock was hard not loose and grippy as hell, perfect Enduro territory.

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At each point we stopped Edu had a story to tell including pointing out the many variations that were possible on each trail.

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We dropped off the lunar landscape and started to hit the endless single trail with rock surface that took us down the mountain.

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One of the most spectacular drop off’s we have ever ridden.

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The trail snaked it’s way along the ridge line across the landscape as far as the eye could see.

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These impressive and imposing rock features dominated the landscape.

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With about 400 metres of vertical drop the trail was rough and pushed every pleasure button in our minds.

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The trail despite being surfaced was rough and technical in places and needed a skilled rider.

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With many technical corners the trails required the use of at least a 130mm bike.

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More stopping for views.

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The trail clinged to the ridge line.

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Speed and drops, a bad combination?

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More impressive scenery and rock faces.

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The island has many micro climates and as we dropped off the end of the south side the cloud that was on the north could be seen and created these impressive cloud banks.

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The trail disappeared into the woods on the left flank of the hill.

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The spacing of the trees was broad and let through lots of light onto the trail, great vision to ride in.

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We counted 6 punctures between three riders on out first descent, these trails were rough and technical.

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End of trail 1… more tyres to fix.

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Edu was having a bad day.

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We reached the bottom and started our climb up for the second part of the trail.

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Edu took a break, this time to fix a chain.

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We were climbing up the flank of the second range of hills we did about 400 metres of climbing.

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In most points the trails could be ridden, but here was hard to keep on the bike with traction.

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At the second summit ready for the descent.

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Cloud banks and rainbows at the top of the summit 2.

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Looking at the rocks here it was noticeable there were rockfall risks, so helmets on encase something dropped from above.

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Looking over the back of the ridge we were greeted with this view, which would lead us down the mountain to the sea. On one of 10 trails.

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The start of our second run down, which was apparently a path made by locals who would bring dead bodies up from the sea so they could be buried at the grave yard at the top of the hill.

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The second trail cut across the ridge line was more sketchy more technical and more fun.

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At this point we were lost for words, tired after 4 hours on the bike and wondering if the trail would ever end.

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The guys rode the flowing trail as it followed the lines of the hills along.

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It was then that we realised we were in an epic movie set, that took us to the most desolate place on the island.

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An example of a sweeping turn and fairly loose surface, with no ruts looking back up to the top.

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The area had been devastated by a forest fire some years before, it was dry, so fire risk here is high and requires respect from all trail users.

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Almost at the end of the valley we had out last taste of Grand Canary Enduro heaven.

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Edu and Nano lead the charge down to the dam and lake.

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At least another 5 turns to finish off the run down.

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Single trail over, all 28 km of it.

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From here a road bought us the last km down to the sea.

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With limited water supplies, there were a lot of dams in the valleys.

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Back to our shuttle which picked us up on the south of the island. We were not sure what the driver had done all day as it was 5 hours after he had dropped us off!

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Heading back to Las Palmas and the north we could see the whole ridge line that we had ridden and the cloud bank on the top where it was cold. At the base it was around 24 degrees.

Conclusion

Although the Island is an amazing place to ride there is very little infrastructure for riders set up. It’s an ideal location for those who like to explore and are guaranteed good riding, but you need some skills to tackle the trails which are medium to hard Enduro level. Getting there from most places means flying and bike bags. Ideal months are January and February if the riding in Europe or the USA is too cold. The locals are really friendly but respect them and ask for their help and you will be rewarded with one of the best weeks riding you have had.

We would say the island is fairly unknown from an MTB perspective, there is not much specific information around about it and riding, so trust the info and locals below for information on accommodation and how to ride there. When comparing to other stuff out there we would say it is a mix between an Epic Alpine descent and Mediterranean Mtb trails in an area like Finale Ligure or Punta Ala.

Information Links

Guide Edu
Trip Information Fluyendo
Shuttle Carlos Correa 0034 692 34 03 40 Email:- c o r r e a t i t a [email protected]
This Trip Sponsored by Yogatogo.us and Mtb-mag.com