The Gran Canaria Bike Week: La Cicloturista has concluded for another year, and was great event, bringing cyclists from all over Europe to this glorious cycling haven.
There is no better place to escape European Winters than this jagged and varied rock in the ocean, and the sun was shining on this 31st edition once more.
During the 8 day, new format programme, our team was represented on two days; during the hill climb race on Wednesday where I took part, and on Thursday in the team trial.
A team time trial is the essence of collective effort, with the result entirely based on the effectiveness of the cohesion. Our team of three has been working well together in our shop these last formative months, and now our unity would be faced with a new test. Communication is key in such an event, and comes in many forms; from reading body language, to less subtle barked words between breaths. With the discrepancy of strengths in our team, a strong headwind played to our advantage, as the front rider could ride at a harder effort level than would otherwise have been sustainable for those taking recuperative shelter in the wheel. More wind = more benefit of shelter. Throw in the odd encouraging word, and a 10km effort like this is over before you know it.. ! Mutual motivation squeezed every last drop out, the two wheeled contraption proving once again to be a wonderful medium to explore the landscape internal and external.
In contrast, the hill climb represented a more individual challenge: one huge mountain, two legs, and some motivation. I felt no need to be the animator of the race, especially with a strong headwind to start, but when a rival from last year actually managed to pull myself and two others off the front of the bunch into the headwind, I knew it was hard enough to try something myself. I took one rider with me, and we plowed into the headwind and quickly grew an advantage. On the first infernal ramps of La Pasadilla, I drifted a little ahead, and from then on the entire rest of the race was one of anxious glances over my shoulder at a shadow that wouldn't be shaken off. Only with about 1.5km to go did I start to realise that- save for disaster - I had done enough to retain the title, and soon I emerged into the sweet reception of the peak: the peak of the snows (Pico de las Nieves). The peak of elation.
There were several different categories taking part in the team time trial, and our team posted the 4th fastest time overall, and quickest of the mixed womens & mens teams!
Thanks to all the organisers and the countless motorbike riders and support staff, and most of all to those providing warm food and silver blankets while waiting for rescue at the chilly finish line of the Pico race.. !