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Pico Nieves...Gran Canaria...what a climb!

AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
edited February 2018 in Tour & expedition
Just back from Gran Canaria with the family...took my bike!

1st ride seen me take on Pico Nieves climb from the more gentle Maspalomas side...Jesus...if that was the more gentle side...47km climb....with 3 very significant downhill stretches...took me over 3.30hrs to climb...what a climb...1940meter climbs are fairly rare on the planet...even the start of the ride from Maspalomas to Fataga had me breathing really hard...up through San Bortolome...then onto a tougher stretch upto gorgeous Ayacata...form there it steepened to 10% for 3 or 4 kms...then onto the magnificent Mountain Pinewood forests upto the Observatory at the top...I'd say equal in terms to the climb of Teide on Tenerife (in fact I seen Teide from the top of Pico Nieves)....what a stunning viwepoint up there...definately one of the most scenic things i've ever seen.

I did a smaller ride for my 2nd ride...upto the Ayagaures reservoir then up a right steep b*gger from there...I then made my way along to the Soria valley and headed upto the Reservoir...another very tough climb ~ 600meters with avg of 7.7%....

3rd ride....this was the one which really feared me....an assualt on the Pico Nieves climb from the notorious Ingenio/Carrizal side...now this is rated as one of the toughest climbs in Europe...and no wonder...a 1940meter climbs in 23kms...with 25% gradients...now the 1st climb I did of this was one of the toughest climbs i've ever did...so this did it in half the distance....yes, sphincter rattling stuff....anyway I got on my bike...the road (the GC120) steepened coming out of Ingenio...and stayed at a gradient of 6-8%...this went on for about 6kms...there was a brisk freshening wind...looked like the gods were with me....I then seen the small village of La Pasadilla...and this is where the action starts...14% avg kms etc...had convinced myself that it would be very well graded as all continental climbs are...just in the village it kicked up at 20%...then it flattened...then another 20% ramp...then it flattened..then a huge 25% ramp...oh no!....it was like a UK climb!...not well graded at all...small flatter sections followed by insanely steep ramps...after 1.5kms I was in serious trouble...I eased right back...I was in my triple 30x27 (i've only had to use this low gear once before abroad...Masca in Tenerife...)...I knew the 1st 1.5kms from La Pasadilla were the toughest but I honestly didn't reckon it would be this tough....I got passed the 14% average kms and settled into the 10.5% - 12.5%km's which followed for another 4kms....was this not an atrocious climb...winding up through smalle farming houses...20% / 25% gradients a plenty...it really reminded me of the 'Struggle' from Ambleside upto Kirkstone in the Lakes...except this went for a hell of a lot longer....about 18kms longer;-) Finally I reached the little village of Cazadores...a 25% ramp seen me into there...took a left and headed on up the GC130...the gradient slackned for a bit then steepened to 10-11%kms again...it was well graded this time...a bit like the steepest km's of Ventoux....this REALLY hurt after the 1st 12kms(and especially the insane 6km's from La Pasadilla) ...I knew there was a flat 1.5kms coming so my moral was lifting...I could hear big dogs barking but never thought anything of it...until the barks were getting closer...I looked around and my heart near stopped...around 100meters back I saw 2 huge black dogs bounding towards me...oh my god!....just around there the road started to ease...and beleive me when I said I put my bike in the 53 ring and a big gear at the back and I've never cycled like that before...I was terrified...rabies and everything was hurtling through my mind...the road then totally flattened and started to go down hill!....I absolutely flew down there...by the pure grace of god those big canines had came after me at the only flattening on the entire climb...what luck!.....i was really rattled....but I knew I was coming upto more serious steep stuff and I had used so much energy to get away from those brutes...straight into the Pine Forest again and bang...11% gradients....this really hurt...but I was still thinking about the dogs still chasing me, and its amazing how that can muster energy!....up through this steep section then onto more gentle 7% - 9% kms...this went on for a bit until the top...excellent!...I'd did it....no stopping...took me 2.40hrs or so....without any doubt the toughest climb I've ever did on the continent.....just such a huge climb with such gradients....

I reckon now that the 3 big climbs in the Canaries I've did are the 3 toughest I've ever did...they were just so much tougher than the Tourmalet/Ventoux/Galibier etc....Mount Teide was just so hard not because it was so steep, more because it was just so relentless in its gradients and the sheers size of the climb...2300meters climb over 44kms is no mean feat....I'd put Pico Nieves from Maspalomas directly alongside Tiede...Pico Nieves was much steeper at parts...but overall you got more breaks on than you did on Teide...

But Pico Nives from Carrizal/Ingenio is another ballgame...its one i'll not forget in a hurry....supposedly on par with Mortirolo/Angliru?....we shall see in September when I head for Bormio!...

These islands should be treated as if you were heading for the great Mountain ranges...theres not much bigger on the planet...respect is what is required.

Posts

  • polserpolser Posts: 1
    This is a great post! Thanks for the story - I had a good chuckle!
    I am going over next week - my first climb I will go for Maspalomas to Pico Nieves.
    Then we'll see if I have the juice to go from the other side :D
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    I did it from the side nobody does it, it was disgusting. From Pasadilla/Ingenio. Something like 3 miles at 12% avg. I think I only had a 39/27 or something, it was not nice.

    The first bit I thought couldn't possibly continue, but it did.

    I think you're dreaming if you think its anywhere near as hard as Angliru/Motorollo though.

    The Valley of Tears on GC is meant to be seriously hard. I didn't bother with it as I don'd find that sort of thing enjoyable.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • mrb123mrb123 Posts: 2,591
    Great post!
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,160
    That made me lol... Fairs on the efforts! Not for me, anything over 10% and I'm f**ked.

    Just back from Barcelona, and booking Gran Canaria for 2nd week in Jan. I'll try my best to avoid these!
    '17 Focus Mares Force 1 --- '19 Cervélo S5 Disc Di2

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  • Ryan_W wrote:
    That made me lol... Fairs on the efforts! Not for me, anything over 10% and I'm f**ked.

    Just back from Barcelona, and booking Gran Canaria for 2nd week in Jan. I'll try my best to avoid these!

    Most of the island seems to be either up or down at about 8% so you'll be fine.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    There are a lot of ramps in the climbs though. There are a couple of steady ones, but some pretty grim ones that don't LOOK too bad by profile, but are. The roads are also shite.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • okgo wrote:
    There are a lot of ramps in the climbs though. There are a couple of steady ones, but some pretty grim ones that don't LOOK too bad by profile, but are. The roads are also shite.

    They have been resurfacing a lot this year
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • Ryan_W wrote:
    That made me lol... Fairs on the efforts! Not for me, anything over 10% and I'm f**ked.

    Just back from Barcelona, and booking Gran Canaria for 2nd week in Jan. I'll try my best to avoid these!

    Think there is a GC sportive that week. Wheelsuck if you can
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • okgo wrote:
    There are a lot of ramps in the climbs though. There are a couple of steady ones, but some pretty grim ones that don't LOOK too bad by profile, but are. The roads are also shite.

    They have been resurfacing a lot this year

    They were doing a lot of work on the road between the Serenity climb and Ayacata - was closed in May when I was there. Hopefully that is better now. The bottom half of that is a good surface already and a lovely descent. The other roads up to Ayacata from the south seemed OK to me (except the bit from Soria across to the GC605).
  • I went to GC last December and I'm off there again this December. Hoping to better my times up the VotT and Pico de las Nieves climbs. Apart from a couple of really bad ones I didn't think the roads were that bad overall. Maybe not as nice as Mallorca but better than Surrey/Kent for sure.

    Happy to share routes if you need any ideas Ryan_W.
  • tazmontazmon Posts: 107
    Just back from GC but only had the chance to ride on my last day, so I headed up the GC-200/605 climb out of Puerto de Mogan - 830 metres elevation over 18km, so a tiddler for GC! I didn’t have any cycling kit with me so ended up doing the ride in my running gear and on flat pedals!
    Road - Scott Solace
    Mountain - Santa Cruz Tazmon (retro) and Scott Spark
  • jam5ie76jam5ie76 Posts: 108
    I'm just back for Gran Canaria did the Pico, VOTT, Ayagueres, and Serenity (GC-605 from Mogan). All stunning climbs.

    The climb to the Pico through Ayacata and the South sees you across two or three valleys and has steep sections at the end. Absolutely one of the top climbs in Europe from any point of view (except maybe GT heritage)

    When the Valley of the Tears really gets going 12km out of La Aldea it has 2km of switchbacks at nearly 20% average, then 2km up and down followed by 3km of 16% average finishing with about 5km of 10%. Tough in a different (very slow) way!

    Serenity is a looker, narrow, winding, perfect roads and amazing views but not too steep and only 8km from turn to turn (we turned off and down the Soria valley, initially some of the roughest roads I've ever taken a road bike on).

    The Ayagueres loop was our rest day ride and the climb out the back is a good leg stretcher (I recommend doing it anticlockwise).

    Great Island, an amazing resource for winter training!

    P.S. Landslides had shut the road Taurito to Mogan, last I heard they aren't repairing it (I think because the GC-1 motorway still serves Mogan). Rumours said police waiting and handing out 250/500 euro fines for hoping the barriers although plenty of actual evidence of cyclists going through without issue. We took the ferry from Puerto Rico to Mogan, lost about 10km of our loops (reducing them to 90 and 120km so no loss!) and you can see the missing section of road, about 30 feet of no tarmac but flat, doesn't look difficult to wheel a bike through.

    Also, a more recent landslide shut Artenara to Tejeda, the GC-210, but we didn't go that far North.
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